Dog Toys and Bowel Obstructions
My heart aches for my friend and her five young children.
They just lost their 4 year old dog.
4 years old is much too short a life to live.
The worst part is that it could have been prevented, several times.
This article certainly isn’t to make anyone feel bad, so names and other facts have been changed.
Shaming people is never appropriate.
But, as a veterinary technician I could see all of the lifesaving signs that they missed
He Had an Obstruction
So what happened?
Unfortunately cancer and disease can strike at anytime.
I recently had another friend whose one year old Corgi mix died of cancer.
We are told that mixed breeds are healthier, but even the mixes can suffer and die for disease.
But this dog chewed on and swallowed something he shouldn’t have, and it is something that is well known within the veterinary world to kill dogs.
It was a rope toy.
Many toys pose a danger to dogs that shred them.
Even more pose a danger to dogs that eat and swallow pieces of them.
Luckily, for some dogs and owners, the average toy or piece of toy will pass.
However, very rarely do rope toys or pieces of rope toys pass through the bowels without causing an obstruction.
The strings ball up in the stomach or in the small intestine and it begins to bunch and kill the intestines as things cannot pass through.
If caught early, surgery can remove the rope and save the life of the dog.
If it is not caught early enough, the bowels begin to die and necrosis sets in and causes infection and sepsis.
What Can You Do?
If you have a young dog, or a dog that swallows anything but food, DO NOT BUY YOUR DOG A ROPE TOY!
If you dog allow your dog to play with a rope toy, only do so while he is directly supervised!!
I NEVER leave my dog with a toy or item (sock, bed, blanket etc.) that he might shred and consume.
I am definitely an advocate of using toys in your dog training program to build drive and also to add fun to regular dog training and you can read more about that here and here. Just be careful which toys you choose.
Signs of a Bowel Obstruction
So often a dog will vomit a little bit and act a bit lethargic and his owner won’t notice.
Perhaps he will vomit his meal, or act not interested.
He may have diarrhea.
His owners may try and treat it with over the counter medications or probiotics.
They may even use medication previously given to the dog for inappetence or diarrhea.
The problem with these approaches is that you only have a matter of a couple of days to take your dog to the vet and have it diagnosed.
If you ignore it, or try to treat it yourself; your dog could die.
So, if your dog isn’t acting quite right; take him to the vet and allow them to run diagnostics, it could truly save your dog’s life!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.