It can be very concerning when your dog has swallowed something that they shouldn't have. Today, our Houston County vets explain what you should do if your dog has swallowed a foreign object.
My Dog Has Swallowed a Foreign Object
Dogs will often swallow objects that they shouldn't, especially curious puppies and dogs who have a high chewing drive (Labrador Retrievers, Pit Bulls, etc.).
Some objects will be small enough to swallow and pass through the digestive tract with little to no consequences.
Larger objects may get stuck or cause damage to the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, or intestines.
If you are unsure whether your dog could have ingested something, it is best to err on the side of caution and take your dog to the vet. Left untreated, swallowed objects can be fatal and should be treated as an emergency.
If your dog has swallowed an object, you should take them to the vet immediately to have them examined. Your vet will know the best option for your pup whether you should wait for them to pass the object, or if inducing vomiting is the best option.
You should never induce vomiting before speaking to a vet as some objects and chemicals can be more dangerous if vomiting is induced.
If your dog has ingested something that may be poisonous, contact poison control before calling your vet for assistance.
No matter what object your dog has swallowed, it is always best to play it safe and take your companion to see the vet.
Heimlich Maneuver for Choking Dogs
If your dog has swallowed a larger object that causes them to choke, you need to take immediate action and may not have time to make it to the vet. If you cannot reach and extract the object with your fingers, it is important to know how to perform the Heimlich maneuver on your dog.
There are two different ways to perform this depending on the size of your dog:
Heimlich Maneuver For Smaller Dogs
Carefully hold your dog on your lap and turn them onto their back, then using the palm of your hand apply pressure right beneath the rib cage and push firmly inwards and upwards 5 times in a thrusting motion. Roll your dog back onto their side and check their mouth for the food or object that was causing the issue.
Heimlich Maneuver For Medium and Large Dogs
If your dog is standing, put your arms around them so your hands join at the abdomen. Then make a fist with your hands and firmly and swiftly push up and forward five times in a thrusting motion - much like you would perform the maneuver on a human.
Doing this should dislodge the object or food, but remember to check the mouth and help remove any item that may be loose in the back of your dog's mouth so they don't choke or swallow what was previously bothering them.
If your pooch is laying down on the floor, put one hand on your dog's back and use your other hand to squeeze or push your dog's abdomen upwards and forwards towards the spine, then look at your dog's mouth to see if you can find the offending object.