What to Do If Your Dog Swallows Something Sharp
Help! My Dog Ate Something Sharp
Dogs often chew on things they really shouldn't ingest. Some dogs are worse about this than others and will swallow toy squeakers, rocks, dirt, and just about anything small enough to fit in their mouths.
Sometimes, though, time is of the essence. If your dog eats something sharp and pointy, such as cooked chicken bones or a glass Christmas ornament, you'll want to prevent further damage by taking them to the vet as soon as possible. If it's something that will likely pass, for instance, like tiny pieces of a chewed up plastic toy or a soft earplug, you can help your dog out in the following ways.
Anything a dog swallows can be dangerous and can kill them, so it's important to go to the vet as soon as possible. Attempting to treat your dog at home could have irreversible consequences.
How to Help a Dog Pass Something Soft
- soft white bread (plain)
- pumpkin puree (unflavored) OR wet dog food
Note: Feeding your dog cotton balls is not advised due to the risk of a secondary impaction.
What to Do
- White bread can be soaked with water and fed to the dog when combined with pumpkin puree or wet dog food.
- Feed your dog small, frequent "meals" throughout the day (instead of larger meals); pay attention to bowel movements.
- Watch your dog for any signs of lethargy, discomfort (uncomfortable posturing), vomiting, heaving, or diarrhea.
This technique is only advised if your vet believes the objects will pass on their own and not cause internal injury.
Why It Works
The soft food and the hydrated bread method acts to cushion whatever it is that your dog ingested and helps to push it through the intestine. Many vets recommend this method of feeding bread and high-fiber pumpkin to help get sharp things out, as the fiber can be very beneficial. However, if your dog might need emergency surgery, avoid feeding them if you are taking them into the vet the same day.
Signs That Your Dog Needs Emergency Care
- Repeated vomiting, especially upon attempting to drink water or eat food
- Vomiting blood
- Dark or bright-red blood in the stool
- A hard, distended abdomen
- Pain when the abdomen is palpated
- Biting at the flanks, as if in pain internally
- Listlessness, depression, and inactivity
How to Test for Dehydration
- Pinch the skin on the back of the neck.
- If the skin stays tented for a few seconds, the dog is likely dehydrated.
- If the skin drops back down into position right away, the dog is likely hydrated.
Why Veterinary Care Is Paramount
Having your dog examined by a vet rather than treating your dog at home is always the right thing to do. You may not be lucky in every situation, and choosing to save a little money may be the difference between having your dog around or losing your dog—not to mention it is cruel to let them suffer.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.