COMMENTARY: Do you know what your pet is eating?
March 14, 2013
Be careful what your dog or cat is playing with. Sometimes they will eat it.
Many times they ingest things that get caught in their intestinal tract and you don't necessarily know it.
If this obstruction does not pass or get removed surgically, you will have a dead pet.
Some signs that something is wrong are vomiting and diarrhea and lethargy.
Of course, there are other reasons that animals do these things, but if it continues, you definitely want to have your pet examined by a veterinarian
Some of the things your dog might ingest are coins, strings, rubber bands, batteries, cat litter, sharp objects, tampons and toys.
Cats are smaller and often ingest smaller things like ribbon, string and yarn.
These things that get ingested can obstruct the system, and nothing or very little can pass through the stomach and intestines.
Sometimes what's ingested can be sharp and puncture the intestines.
Sometimes a string can get tangled around the tongue and swallowed at the same time.
As the body is struggling to push it through, the intestines can fold up like an accordion and the string can wrap around the intestines.
All of these things sound dreadful.
If the condition isn't recognized and treated, the tissue can become necrotic (dead) and create infection in the animal, eventually leading to a septic condition, which will kill the animal.
Puppies and kittens are most prone to ingesting things. Kittens love to play and chase string and yarn, and if you are not watching, they can ingest it.
If you are there to supervise, these things can be fun to play with.
However, when you are not there, always put string, yarn and ribbon away where neither the kitten nor your children can get at it.
There are lots of toys you can get at your pet store that your kitten or cat can play with safely.
If you're not sure of what to get, ask for help at the pet store.
Be sure to not get anything that hangs where they can get themselves tangled in it and hang themselves.
Puppies want to chew everything in sight.
Many toys and make-shift toys should only be played with when you are there to supervise.
There are things your dog can chew on safely like bully sticks, very large raw bones from the butcher or the pet store.
Do not give your dog a small bone or a bone that has been cooked. Cooked bones splinter easily and can cause damage to your dogs intestines.
Most dogs can't chew through Kongs, but some can.
Kongs with peanut butter in them can entertain your dog for hours and keep him from getting bored and chewing up things he shouldn't be chewing.
It is important as a pet owner to note what your pets are playing with and what they may have ingested.
It is also important to notice if they are pooping and peeing and what kind of an appetite they have.
Vomiting is also a tell-tale sign that something isn't right.
It is important to get your pet to a veterinarian if your dog isn't feeling well.
Please take good care of your furry friends, and you can enjoy them for many years and give them a good life, as well.
Cheryl Wicks is the executive director of Sammie's Friends. The shelter can be reached at 530-471-5041.
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