There are many dogs that chew just about anything – sticks, rocks, socks, underpants, shoes, bones and whatever else they can find in your home and garden.

They may enjoy the texture, taste or just the fact that it smells like you but if the chewing turns into swallowing then you can have a pooch with a much-unwanted indigestible object stuck in their throat, stomach or intestine.

Emergency centres and veterinary clinics retrieve all sorts of foreign objects from dog’s digestive tracts. Removal, if your dog is lucky, can be achieved endoscopically without the need for surgery but in many cases the object is too far down the tract or too large to remove without cutting into the affected area.

Symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite and reduced bowel function but in some cases there may not be much change in your dog for some days and the problem can go unnoticed.

If you suspect that your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have or just ‘isn’t quite right’ then follow your instinct and take them to the vet for an examination. The longer a foreign body is left in the body, the more severe the damage and the more difficult it is to repair.

Treatment of intestinal foreign bodies can be costly so ensure that your pet insurance covers this potential problem, and any clauses that might be in the policy as to how many incidents they will cover during the policy period.

But most importantly, prevention is much better than cure so if your dog is prone to chewing things, try to keep any potentially risky items out of your dog’s reach or use a safe and durable chew toy that they can’t swallow instead.  See our Destructive Chewing article for extra tips.


About the Author: Dr Melissa Meehan BVSc (Hons), MANZCVS (Int Med)
Dr Melissa Meehan is a highly experienced and respected veterinary surgeon with over 14 years experience. Dr Melissa obtained her Members in Small Animal Medicine through examination in 2008 and now runs her own veterinary ophthalmology service vetophthalmology.com.au