Dogs tend to eat stuff that they shouldn’t. While there are many theories as to why dogs have this peculiar behavior, it does not sit well with their respective owners. Not only is eating non-edible things like socks disgusting and gross. They can also pose some serious health concerns for the dog. It can land them in the emergency facility of a veterinary clinic. So, what should you do if your dog ate a sock?
Stay Calm and Bring Your Pet to the Veterinarian
Intestinal obstruction is one of the most serious complications of dogs eating socks. The sock can get lodged in their intestinal tract. As such, if you see your dog sniffing a sock, you should take it away from your dog immediately. However, there will always be instances when your pet has already swallowed the sock.
Always keep your cool. Do not freak out upon learning that your dog ate a sock. Your anxiety can heighten the anxiety that your dog may already be experiencing. The best course of action is to bring your pet to the veterinarian.
Your dog will undergo an x-ray examination to help get an idea of the size of the sock. This will help determine if it can be removed without resorting to surgery. The x-ray will also help in finding the location of the sock. This can provide the veterinarian with critical information, whether to induce vomiting or to administer a laxative.
If the sock is too large to either vomit or pass in the stool, the veterinarian can perform an endoscopic procedure. This will help the vet see the sock and remove it from the dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Make sure that the veterinarian has the qualifications to perform an endoscopy. It is an easy procedure. However, it does require special skills.
In rare cases where the veterinarian fails to remove the sock through endoscopy, surgery may help. This is a procedure of last resort. Only when endoscopy fails should surgery be an option. There are many risks associated with surgery, notwithstanding the cost. It can also be very stressful for both the dog and its owner. Not only do pet parents have to think about the surgery itself, they will also have to take responsibility for post-surgical care.
Surgery is not the best solution. However, there will always be cases where it is the ONLY solution.
Observe Your Pet
If your veterinarian decides to wait a few days before instituting any treatment, he may recommend that you observe your pet. This also works for instances where the pet owner is not sure whether the dog ate a sock or not.
Most dogs will try to vomit the sock out. Vomiting can occur anytime within a few hours after eating a sock or within 1 or 2 days. As such, if you notice your dog retching and trying to expel something through its mouth, there is a good chance it is trying to remove the sock.
If the dog does not vomit, it may try to pass the sock through its stool. This can take anywhere between 3 to 4 days, sometimes longer. What you have to understand is that food-based fecal matter always goes out through the anus first. Undigested materials like sock fibers pass as stool last.
The main issue here is the length of time that the undigested sock remains in the dog’s intestines. Fecal matter can get enmeshed into the fibers of the sock. This will increase the volume of the sock-based fecal matter. Such an increase in mass can make it more difficult for the feces to pass through the colon.
In some cases, the sock is too large to fit into the dog’s intestines. As such, the sock remains in the dog’s stomach. This can produce gastric discomfort in the dog. You may see your pet cringing in pain. It may also not be able to eat that well. There can also be signs of indigestion because the sock is taking some space in the stomach. It can interfere with the action of gastric acids on food.
In addition to observing the pet for a few days, veterinarians may also recommend giving the dog a laxative. These are medications that can induce the passage of stools in the dog. There are different kinds of laxatives. One should always listen to what his or her veterinarian recommended. Pay attention to the recommended dosage and how it should be administered to your dog.
Laxatives can produce abdominal discomfort in your pet. This is often related to the drug’s ability to stimulate intestinal contractions. These are powerful contractions necessary to push the sock-laden fecal matter through the small intestines and the colon.
There is also the risk of clumping the sock further in the intestines. This can make it more difficult to pass, causing intestinal obstruction. If unsure, it is best to bring the dog to the veterinarian.
In emergency settings, veterinarians can administer a drug that will make the dog vomit. However, you can also induce vomiting in your dog without giving any medication. Open your pet’s mouth and insert two fingers at the back of its throat. This will help trigger the gag reflex, allowing the dog to vomit. It is a very risky maneuver as you can also stimulate the vagus nerve. This can decrease the dog’s heart rate.
Some veterinarians instruct pet owners to give 3% hydrogen peroxide to their pets. This will help induce vomiting. In general, veterinarians recommend giving a teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide for every 10 pounds of the pet’s body weight. You should give your pet a small meal before administering hydrogen peroxide. This will increase the chance of vomiting. If effective, your dog should vomit within 10 to 15 minutes.
If the dog does not vomit, you can give another dose of hydrogen peroxide. You can also do the same if the dog vomits, yet does not vomit out the sock. If the second try does not produce results, do not give a third dose. You should bring your pet to the vet at once.
Dogs eat socks or any other non-food item for different reasons. Whatever these reasons are, you should be knowledgeable about how to manage such a situation.
- Help! – My Dog Ate a Sock! What Should I Do? – The Happy Puppy Site
- My Dog Ate A Sock: Clothing Cravings And How To Avoid Them – Toby’s Bone