Many dogs seem to have a propensity for chewing or eating just about anything, most notable items that have their owner’s scent. I cam e across an interesting article that talks about things dogs eat and some of the problems it can cause. It’s definitely worth the time to read, especially if you have a canine muncher! It’s not always a problem when a dog ingests something they shouldn’t but in certain cases it can be life threatening.

If you swear your dryer is eating your socks, have your dog X-rayed.

According to a pet insurer in the United States, socks top the 10 most common items surgically removed from pets. Dogs and cats also have a hankering for lingerie, with underwear and pantyhose ranking second and third respectively.

The insurer has a list of digested foreign objects for which pet owners have made medical claims.

It includes swallowed pagers, hearing aids, drywall, batteries, rubber bands, toy cars, hair ties and sand with bacon grease poured on it, according to Veterinary Pet Insurance.

The one thing not on the list: your kid’s homework.

“I’ve seen rocks, stones, golf balls, Popsicle sticks,” says Dr. Wayne Eldridge, a San Antonio, Tex., veterinarian who, for teaching purposes, keeps a small museum of items he’s removed from animal intestines. “Leftover paper plates, wooden skewers.”

Dogs have highly developed olfactory senses. They like things in their mouths that have a scent, and they gravitate toward items that smell like their owners, says Eldridge, a field representative for Veterinary Pet Insurance.

“Underclothing and socks are very likely to be tempting.”

Ottawa vet Dr. Miki Shibata has removed tennis balls, golf balls, marbles, peach pits, chewy rope toys and pennies from pets’ gastrointestinal tracts. Canadian pennies minted between 1997 and 2001, and U.S. pennies minted after 1982, both of which contain zinc, are particularly hazardous. If not treated, they can cause fatal hemolytic anemia, where red blood cells are broken down and destroyed.

Stones are among the most common items ingested by dogs. “I’ve seen dogs with stomachs so full of stones I’ve had to open then up and physically take them out, they’re so loaded down,” says Dr. Lynn Webster, chief veterinary officer with Pet Plan Insurance in Winnipeg.

Small items pass can pass through pets naturally, but larger items can get stuck in the stomach or intestinal tract causing an obstruction that can lead to pain, vomiting or internal damage requiring emergency surgery.

“Another thing we see is string gut,” Shibata says. If a pet ingests a “linear foreign body” such as dental floss, string or Christmas tree tinsel, it can tighten like a purse string around the intestine and saw through it.

“It can be huge surgery from the standpoint, how much bowel is viable and how much can be removed,” Webster says.

In some cases, removing a swallowed object can be as simple as “going down with an endoscope, getting hold of what’s in the stomach and pulling it out through the mouth,” Webster says.

Surgery can cost several thousand dollars, “depending on how big a mess you’ve got.”

Bored or anxious pets, pets under two and Labrador retrievers, which are “very orally oriented because of their retrieving nature,” Eldridge says, are among pets most likely to swallow items they shouldn’t.

Signs that a pet may have swallowed something inedible and needs to see a vet include continual vomiting, dry heaving or coughing. (The Vancouver Sun)

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