Anyone who has ever owned a dog has most likely experienced the disappearance of objects from the home that eventually find their way inside the family dog. Some dogs are more prone to swallowing nonfood items than others, unfortunately for reasons known only to themselves. A few theories include stress, separation anxiety, boredom and more, but until dogs can talk and explain it themselves, we can only guess as to why it is that they swallow non-food items.
A Dog's Age
Young dogs and puppies are especially subject to eating foreign objects. They teethe the same as a young child does. To them biting provides them with relief in some instances and your socks, or other clothing, could be their chosen delicacy of the day. Chew toys will certainly help with this problem! Sturdy rubber toys with food inserted inside them will keep a teething puppy busy for many hours.
Older dogs may have different issues than puppies and may chew and swallow a non-food item if it smells particularly good to them, smells like their favorite person, or tastes like food.
However, the older and larger a dog is, the more powerful their jaws are! Therefore if they are particularly destructive, they can consume rubber chew toys as well. That means frequently resupplying their toy box and keeping them constantly occupied.
The type of contraband that is ingested will determine the severity of the issue. Straight, hard objects present more of a danger than those of other shapes, such as found with toys, socks, balls, etc. Straight objects have a possibility of being fatal due to their tendency to get attached to a dog's throat, intestines or somewhere in between. Getting attached to the intestine can cause a rupture which is frequently fatal. Occasionally these objects can form a partial bowel obstruction which is more difficult to diagnose quickly.
Prevention is definitely the key here! Just as you would put away things that a toddler may endanger themselves with, so too should you put away objects that your dog may harm themselves with if they were to accidentally swallow them. In the event that their curiosity allows them to find the object and swallow it, and provided that you actually catch them, veterinary care is absolutely necessary and should be attended to immediately. If your dog starts to manifest unusual behavior or symptoms for unknown reasons, there are other observations you can make.
Signs That Your Dog Has Swallowed A Non-Food Item
Indication that your dog may have ingested a foreign object would be their refusal to eat for up to 24 hours. Vomiting what they do eat or not having any bowel movements are also common symptoms. Medications that help stop a dog from vomiting or encourage bowel movements should not be given until a diagnosis is made by a Veterinarian.
Medications that encourage bowel movements can cause a rupture of the bowel which is frequently fatal. Medications that stop vomiting mask symptoms and worsen the prognosis.
Terriers and terrier type dogs top the list as the chief offenders. Most commonly seen in some veterinary practices are Staffordshire bull terriers, Jack Russell terriers, English Bull terriers, Springer spaniels and Border collies are up there at the top of the list. The natural instinct of terrier breeds to scavenge and hunt leads them to some unlikely targets. It's the nature of the breed.
If you are considering the possibility of adding a dog to your family it is important to investigate breeds. Ages of children, homes without children, and working adults all have different needs and may select different types of dogs.
Do not overlook the possibility of a mixed breed dog. Mutts are usually healthier due to the inbreeding of pedigree breeds and make great pets as they are more vigorous than some purebred dogs.