I recently received a comment on my post “Fun activity fordogs who like to ‘disembowel’ their stuffed animal toys”. The commenter relayed their scary experience: their dog ate 10 pieces of rolled up fleece. Luckily, she was able to get the vet in time to induce vomiting to bring up the pieces of fabric. This person ended her comment by stating that she had “no resources left financially” if there ends up being a blockage.
This comment has spurred me to reiterate and repost on some topics I think are important for every dog owner to be aware of.
One. It is ALWAYS a good idea to supervise your dog when they are playing with toys that they could potentially swallow—whether on purpose or on accident. I supervise Leopold every time I give him the activity in the aforementioned post, even though I have never seen him eat anything but food (and grass…..). The commenter’s conclusion was that no one should roll up treats in the fleece for this toy. My conclusion is that a dog owner should always keep an eye on their dog when giving their dog activities that involve anything that the dog could potentially swallow. If you keep an eye on your dog, you can correct the behavior and/or take away the toy right away and prevent your dog from having, what we call at the clinic, a foreign body in its system. It’s even important to supervise your dog while they’re chewing on bones. As I've mentioned in a previous post, bones can crack and become potentially dangerous.
Two. Owning a dog is not a cheap endeavor. Taking care of your dog properly costs money. It seems like owning a dog can be a cheap when you think only of the food you have to buy it. But making sure your dog is healthy can add up quick. Dogs get sick, need regular checkups and vaccines, heartworm preventatives, flea/tick preventatives. All these things cost money. And a trip to the ER can diminish your savings and/or force you to put your furry friend to sleep if there is no financial alternative (I’ve seen this happen. It is incredibly sad.)
I highly recommend to all dog owners who do not have independent financial security to get veterinary pet insurance. It is an investment into your dog’s health and life. Pet insurance is affordable for most, and there are more carriers available as it become more popular. I wrote a post on pet insurance a while back. I know that since then, more well-known insurance companies like Nationwide now offer pet insurance.
Three. Dogs can do stupid things. They eat rank-smelling items like dirty socks and dirty underwear. They chew at carpeting and unravel it right into their gullet. I once caught Halo eating dirt because some crab juice had spilled on the spot—she was eating rotten crab dirt. I also discovered one day that she has somehow pushed past the fence around our compost and eaten some of the compost (which ended in a trip to the ER). Dogs lick antifreeze because it’s sweet. They eat turds and dead animals. I have learned that having a dog means expecting that they will sometimes do stupid things. And the most you can do is try your best to prevent situations in which your dog will harm itself, and have money in reserve or pet insurance to take them to the vet when they do get hurt or sick. I have also learned that sharing a life with dogs is a learning experience. That is, after all, what this whole blog is about.