22, Jun 2022
Pets Ingesting Foreign Objects: Warning Signs and What to Do

Dogs are naturally playful and curious creatures. Unfortunately, this can often make them put things in their mouths that they shouldn’t. Our furry friends will chew on just about anything from sticks and stones to toys and garbage.

While most objects will eventually pass through without incident, there is always the risk that something could get stuck or cause an internal blockage. This post discusses the warning signs your pet ingested a foreign object and what you should do.

Signs Your Dog Swallowed a Foreign Body

If you believe your pet ingested a foreign object, it’s important to be on the lookout for warning signs and take them to a pet vet clinic as soon as possible. Below are common warning signs to look for:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abnormal stool (e.g., bloody or black stool)
  • Painful abdomen
  • Excessive drooling or pawing at the mouth

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests a Foreign Object

1. Call Your Veterinarian

Firstly, call your vet to ask for advice on what to do next and if your pet needs to be seen right away.

Pet surgery may be necessary if the foreign body is stuck in your pet’s gastrointestinal tract. Your veterinarian will determine if this is the case and make the appropriate recommendations. If this is the case, expect the following when you arrive at the clinic or hospital:

The first step in diagnosis is usually taking x-rays. This will allow the veterinarian to see where the object is and what type of object it is. If the object is radiopaque (i.e., it shows up on x-rays), it will be easier to locate and remove.

If the object is not visible on x-rays or if it’s located in the upper gastrointestinal tract, endoscopy may be necessary. This is a procedure wherein a tiny camera is inserted into the stomach or intestines through the mouth or rectum to locate and remove the foreign body.

They will perform surgery if the foreign body is stuck and cannot be removed any other way. Surgery is also necessary if there is damage to the gastrointestinal tract or the foreign body has caused an obstruction. Visit this page for more information about how vet surgery works.

2. Keep Your Pet Calm

Once you’ve called your veterinarian, it’s essential to try to keep your pet calm. If they’re agitated, they may vomit and make the situation worse. If possible, confine them to a small area (like a crate), so they don’t injure themselves or ingest anything else.

3. Do Not Try to Induce Vomiting

It’s important not to try to make your pet vomit unless the veterinarian tells you to do so. Sometimes you may need to remove the foreign object before it causes further damage, like when it’s visible. However, inducing vomiting may cause more harm than good.

For example, if your pet has ingested a corrosive substance, making them vomit could irritate their esophagus and cause burns. If they’ve swallowed something sharp (e.g., a piece of glass), vomiting could cause tears or punctures in the gastrointestinal tract.

4. Give Them Something to Eat or Drink

If your pet is acting normally and doesn’t seem to be in any pain, and your vet says so, you can give them something to eat or drink. This will help move the foreign body through their system and make it easier for it to pass. However, if your pet is acting strangely, is vomiting, or seems to be in pain, avoid giving them food or water.

This is especially true if they swallow a sharp object, as it could cause further damage if they eat or drink.

5. Monitor Their feces

If your pet swallows a foreign object, it might appear in their stool. Keep an eye on their feces for abnormalities, such as blood or changes in color or consistency. If you see anything unusual, call the vet immediately.

6. Know and Watch for Signs of Obstruction

There is a risk of developing an obstruction after a dog swallows a foreign object. This is where the object gets stuck in the gastrointestinal tract and prevents food or liquid from passing through. If your pet shows signs of obstruction (vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, pain), it’s important to seek veterinary attention immediately as this is a serious condition. 

If your pet is having trouble defecating or if they vomit frequently, this could also be a sign of obstruction. Contact your vet immediately if you notice any of these signs. Remember that obstructions can be severe and even life-threatening.

Collect a Sample of Your Dog’s Vomit or Stool

If your pet is vomiting or has diarrhea, collect a sample of their vomit or stool. This will help your veterinarian diagnose the problem and determine the best course of treatment.

To collect a sample of vomit:

  • Use a clean container and scoop up some of the vomit as soon as your pet vomits.
  • It will be useful for your veterinarian if you try to get as much as possible.
  • Collect a fresh sample, as older samples may not be as useful.

7. Bring the Foreign Body with You

If possible, try to bring the foreign body with you when you take your pet to the veterinarian. This will help them diagnose the issue and determine the best course of treatment.

If you can’t bring the foreign body with you, describe it as detailed as possible. This includes its size, shape, and any other distinguishing features. Keep in mind that more information is better.

8. Be Prepared to Take Your Pet to the Emergency Veterinary Clinic

Be prepared to take them to the emergency veterinary clinic if your dog has ingested a foreign object. This is because foreign bodies can cause serious health problems and may require immediate medical attention.

Choose an animal clinic or hospital with complete facilities, lab tests, and vet specialists, such as a surgeon, internal medicine (visit this website for vet internal medicine), dentist, etc., to ensure that your pet gets the best possible care.