Daisy is our 11-year-old springer spaniel inherited from my mother-in-law, Nancy. Nancy was the proprietor of a bed-and-breakfast. Daisy liked to get into mischief around and about the house. Professors and grad students visiting Yale University would stay at the B&B. Daisy once ate a visitor’s hearing aids and another time ate several test tubes that were a part of a professor’s non-reproducible research. Luckily, no harm came to her after these dietary escapades.
What is the craziest thing we have found in a pet’s intestinal tract? My favorite has to be the sumo wrestler finger puppet. Two of them, plus a ball, showed up on X-ray. The dog vomited up one of the finger puppets and the ball. The busy mom of four said she recognized the toy from about four months previous and said it was soft, pliable rubber. The four months in gastric juices had turned it into very hard plastic. One sumo wrestler remained in the stomach, and the owner hoped it would be vomited up, as well.
Finger puppets aside, here’s a list of 10 items all dog owners should make sure their pet never eats:
1. Bones. Bones are not good for the teeth. They cause fractures, and one out of every 10 pets has a tooth fracture. Turkey, chicken and pork bones are all small enough to poke a hole in the intestine and cause infection and death. A bone of the correct size can be caught in the esophagus.
2. Corn on the cob. Dogs get into this at the neighborhood barbecue or just pull them out of the trash or mulch pile. The cob obstructs quite easily.
3. Ham. Nitrites in ham can cause major gastric disturbances. I can attest to this because our dog once got into a hambone on a Saturday night. We came home from church the next day with a non-dog-owning friend to a dining room splattered with explosive diarrhea. Fun times.