If your dog has swallowed a foreign object he or she may pass the object through the stomach and intestines without difficulty, or the object can become stuck in the stomach or intestines causing major problems. Foreign objects may also pose a hazard to the soft tissues of the throat or stomach, or they may become lodged in the throat.
- Foaming of the mouth or increased salivation
- Pawing at the mouth
- Sudden vomiting with possible blood
- Sudden diarrhea with possible blood
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Sudden Fever
- Refusal to eat or drink water
- The inability to hold anything down including water
- A distended and painful abdomen or belly
What You Should Do
If you suspect your dog has swallowed a foreign object, or if you witnessed the event, gently check your dog’s mouth and throat to see if the object has lodged itself there and if it can be removed. If the object cannot be removed make sure your dog is breathing okay, try to keep your dog as still as possible, and immediately call your veterinarian or an emergency animal clinic for further instructions. If your pet is not breathing, immediately perform the canine Heimlich maneuver.
Never try to induce vomiting or force feed your dog water, oil, or anything else in an attempt to force the object out of your dog without the advice of a veterinarian. If used improperly, all of these actions can cause severe, permanent, and sometimes life threatening damage to the dog’s throat, stomach, and intestine tissues.
What Your Veterinarian Will Do
If vomiting is recommended, your veterinarian will tell you how to induce vomiting in your dog at home, or you can quickly take your dog to the veterinarian so vomiting can be induced at the clinic.
If vomiting is not recommended, your veterinarian will probably take an x-ray or ultrasound of the dog’s stomach to try to determine where the object is. In most cases, the dog is watched closely and multiple x-rays are taken to determine how well the object is passing through the dog’s intestines. If the dog is fortunate, the object will pass through without further incident.
If the object is not passing through and needs to be removed, the veterinarian will perform surgery as quickly as possible. Usually it is best to remove the object directly from the dog’s stomach as intestinal surgery can pose more complications. However, your veterinarian will advise you on the best course of action and on all the treatment options available for your dog.