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What To Do When Your Pet Eats Something They Shouldn’t


Pets can get curious and eat a foreign object or anything toxic to them. Dogs are particularly prone to eating foreign objects that they find around the house. When this happens, you need to act fast and rush the pet to your vet immediately.

If you delay taking your pet to your vet, several complications can arise, including intestinal obstruction that blocks the passage of food, a ruptured intestine or eventual death.

Cases of cats or dogs that have ingested something toxic through accidental pet poisoning have been on the rise. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center reports that in 2018, over 213,000 cases were reported, with over-the-counter medications having over 41,000 reported cases. This means that, as a pet owner, you have to know what to do when your pet ingests something toxic. But it’s also essential to understand how to prevent accidental pet poisoning from happening in the first place.

What Are Common Objects Swallowed By Pets?

From the data published by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the most common categories of materials ingested by pets from the least to the most frequent include:

  • Garden products
  • Plants
  • Insecticides
  • Rodenticides
  • Household items like paint and cleaning products
  • Veterinary products
  • Chocolate
  • Food
  • Human prescription medication

What Are The Signs Your Pet Swallowed A Toxic Substance Or Foreign Object?

Some of the observable symptoms that may occur when a pet ingests a foreign object or toxin include:

  • Lethargy
  • Poor appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Dehydration
  • Bloody stools
  • Faster respiratory rate

How To Help Pets If They’ve Eaten Something They Shouldn’t

If you discover that your pet has swallowed a foreign object, you must act fast. Take your pet to see a vet within 24 hours. This is the best time to get the object out of the pet’s stomach.

When a pet ingests an object like a toy, it moves into the stomach. It stays there for hours before it moves into the small intestine (gut). While it’s in the stomach, it’s easier to remove, since the stomach is an organ that expands and contracts. The object may be removed through surgery.

If the object moves from the stomach into the small intestine, it will cause greater harm to the pet, potentially blocking the movement of food into the intestine. 

What Will The Vet Do To Treat The Problem?

Your vet will carry out a thorough examination and evaluate your pet’s symptoms. Then, an X-ray may be performed to determine exactly where the foreign body is located. A blood test may also be required to check for the effect of a poisonous substance on your pet’s electrolyte levels and determine the degree of dehydration. 

Call Us Or Book An Appointment Online

If you’re concerned that your pet may have ingested something harmful, call University Animal Clinic at 941-355-7707 right away. 

For routine visits, you can call our office or book an appointment online now to receive the best quality care for your four-legged family member. Our compassionate and friendly care and affordable wellness plans make taking care of your pets convenient and cost-effective. Come see us today!

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Margie Bauer

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