Did my Australian Shepherd Swallow Something? - Aussie University

Did my Australian Shepherd Swallow Something?

Is your Aussie a little Vacuum Cleaner?

How many times have we caught ourselves running after our puppies trying to grab whatever they have in their mouths before they swallow?
I know, right? Dogs, and puppies especially, can be very fast and efficient vacuum cleaners. What could be wrong with that?

Actually, they can get into a lot of trouble if they swallow what they should not: hair, grass, pieces of food from the kitchen floor, kids’ toys, hair ties, pieces of chewed dog toys, stuffing from beds or stuffed toys. Wow! Basically, anything you can think of, they can swallow.

What we have around that could be a potential hazard

We must think about this and always be aware of what we have around that could be a potential hazard for our puppies. Even though puppies are more likely to get into just about everything, many older dogs can also exhibit this behavior.

Human foods, like chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes, and raisins can be very dangerous as they can severely intoxicate dogs. Most human medications can also cause severe toxicity. Keep in mind, Australian shepherds are very intelligent, so if they smell something appealing (even if it is on top of your kitchen counter) they will work hard to find a way to get it. Products like cleaning agents, antifreeze, fertilizers, oils, and other items usually stored in garages can also cause severe illness if ingested. Make sure you limit your pet’s access to a safe area while you are away from home.

Other things our puppies ingest may need surgical treatment. We call them “foreign bodies”. Foreign bodies are things your pet eats that stay trapped inside the gastrointestinal tract. Anything your puppy finds and eats can become a foreign body. Do not underestimate the ability of your puppy to swallow things! They can swallow whole tennis balls, toys, garden rocks or mulch, etc. If whatever they swallow is too big for them to defecate, they will need an endoscopy or surgery to remove it.

Be Aware of Things They Could Swallow

We should be aware of what our puppies are doing at all times and what is readily available to be explored around them. If you notice small pieces of chewed toys, stuffing coming out of beds and toys, or anything that seems too small and could be easily swallowed, it is best to err on the side of caution and throw it away. Special attention is due if one is the parent of small children. Your dog will most certainly try to eat pacifiers, dirty diapers, and toys that have dropped to the floor.
Do not forget to secure trash bins. Trash bins contain a lot of attractive things that your puppy will more than likely want to chew on, from rest of rotten food in the kitchen garbage to old razor blades or used tampons in the bathroom. These items can cause your pet a lot of trouble. You would be shocked to know how many dogs eat underwear, tampons, condoms, and even adult toys, not to mention the personal embarrassment that comes during your veterinary consult! It is better for all parties involved to prevent that from ever happening!

Be Aware of Pancreatitis in Australian Shepherds

Lastly, there is an important disease called Pancreatitis that happens when your dog eats different foods/snacks/dog treats than what he/she is used to. It is tricky because it can basically be anything (usually greasy things) but also things they can get outside such lizards/frogs, or most commonly human food snacks such as heavily seasoned items, for example, chicken wings/seasoned meat/cheeses/chips. The pancreas is an organ that aids in digestion. It can become very easily irritated, and when that happens it can cause many symptoms from lack of appetite to severe vomiting and diarrhea with blood. It is very important to seek medical attention immediately if you notice these symptoms because if not treated promptly, pancreatitis can be severe and lethal.

Signs to monitor your puppy for include vomiting, lethargy, decreased appetite, abdominal pains, and the looming suspicion that perhaps your cute pet has gotten into something they should not have. Visit your veterinarian as soon as possible, as time is of great importance in these situations. Some diagnostic tests like blood work, a pancreatitis test, or abdominal radiographs may be necessary in order to determine the cause of the symptoms and allow for a recommended treatment. The sooner you start treating, the better the chances of full recovery.

Seek Veterinarian Help

If you feel your puppy is not acting normal it is always better to check with your veterinarian. We know our babies and we feel when things are not right. It is always best to be on the safe side and act sooner rather than later. Some veterinary practices even have a Vet Chat option where you can ask questions to a Doctor through an internet chat and they can advise you if you are unsure whether to take your pet in for a visit or not.

These pictures are just some examples of foreign bodies as they appear in radiographs.
1- kid’s toy
2 – paperclip
3 – nail
4 – Fish Hook in the esophagus and some more metal material in the stomach

Dr. Tatiana da Silva, DVM

Dr Tatiana da Silva graduated from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2000. She practiced as a small animal surgeon in the University of Sao Paulo Teaching Hospital until she decided to move to Orlando, Florida in 2011. She has been working for Banfield Pet Hospital since validating her Veterinary degree in the USA. On her free time she loves to spend quality time with her wife and pets (3 dogs and 3 guinea pigs). She also enjoys working on her Australian Shepherd Zoe Marie Instagram’s page @zoemarietheaussie.

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