Weird and wonderful things that pets swallow
Stones, babies’ dummies, socks and even kebab sticks were among hundreds of weird and wonderful items PDSA vets surgically removed from pet patients last year.
The vet charity treated nearly 400 pets for swallowing things they shouldn’t. And it appears that pets in Bradford are the most curious in the country, as the charity’s vets saw a whopping 33 cases in the city alone.
PDSA, which has 51 Pet Hospitals across the UK, has compiled a list of the ‘top ten’ items pets swallowed according to the number of cases:
- Bones – 59 cases
- Stones – 29 cases
- Corn on the cob – 28 cases
- Plastic e.g. parts of kids toys, food wrapping – 25 cases
- Rubber balls – 19 cases
- Rubber e.g. parts of dog toys – 19 cases
- Socks – 11 cases
- Thread – 9 cases
- Babies’ dummy teats – 9 cases
- (Joint) Kebab sticks/Peach stones – 7 cases of each
PDSA vet Rebecca Ashman said staff have also removed more bizarre objects in the past, from tent pegs and knives to radio aerials.
Rebecca said: “You’d be amazed at some of the crazy things pets eat. Our top ten list highlights the objects we saw most frequently last year, but every now and again we see even more unusual cases.”
Thanks to funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, PDSA is educating pet owners about the phenomenon of pets eating strange objects – known as ‘pica’ - and how to keep their animals’ safe.
Rebecca added: “Pets, especially puppies and younger dogs, like to use their mouth to investigate objects as well as to eat. Sometimes a pet will swallow an item by mistake, even though they had only meant to investigate it.
“We might think it’s comical but in some cases it is incredibly dangerous and can even prove fatal. If an object moves along the digestive system, it can cause a tear or life-threatening blockage.
“If you have pets at home, try to keep anything dangerous or easy to swallow out of paws’ reach. Only let them play with suitable pet toys and try to supervise them to avoid any accidents. If you do suspect your pet has swallowed something you should contact your vet for advice immediately.”
PDSA vets say training pets from a young age can help to curb their temptation to chew objects, and they can learn basic commands like ‘drop’ and ‘leave’.
For more free pet health information and advice visit www.pdsa.org.uk
Greedy American Bulldog Hooch needed emergency surgery after wolfing down a corn-on-the-cob husk from his owner’s bin.
Sarah Baldwin, from Elland, West Yorkshire, had placed the husk in the bin after having a quick bite to eat before work. But no sooner had she left the house when Hooch (11) stuck his head in the trash and got his paws on the tasty treat.
“The next day he wasn’t himself at all,” said mother-of-three Sarah (40).
“He was sick, he wasn’t eating and didn’t want to walk. One of my sons had seen him finishing off the corn-on-the-cob so we did a quick Google search and were horrified at how dangerous they can be for dogs.”
Hooch was rushed straight to PDSA’s Bradford Pet Hospital where vets performed X-rays which revealed something lurking in his intestines.
The family were warned that their beloved pet would need an emergency operation to remove the cob as it could cause a fatal blockage.
PDSA Head Nurse Miriam Wilson, said: “We could feel an obstruction in Hooch’s intestines and the X-ray was consistent with a foreign body.
“As Hooch was getting increasingly unwell we knew we had to perform emergency surgery to remove the corn-on-the-cob husk. We had to open up Hooch’s intestine to remove a large piece of corn husk and some smaller pieces that had broken off”.
“Unfortunately Bradford seems to be a bit of a hotspot for pets swallowing strange items and corn-on-the-cob cases are ones we see quite a lot. It’s important pet owners recognise how dangerous they can be, especially at this time of year as it’s barbecue season. In most case it is fatal if it’s not treated, as the husk can completely block the digestive system.”
Hooch was kept at the hospital for two days before being discharged on pain relief and antibiotics. He has since gone on to make a full recovery.
Sarah said: “I was so worried when Hooch was in hospital but I can’t thank PDSA enough for saving him.
“The whole thing has really scared me, so much so that it’s put me off corn-on-the cob for life!”