With a dog around, you can never predict how your day could turn out to be. Some days are full of pleasant surprises, and the feeling of being unconditionally loved by your canine can make you feel as though you are at the top of the world. At the same time there will be days when your furry friend is up to some mischief.
Any trivial object that you may not even notice can prove to be a source of attraction to your canine, for instance, your shoes and socks or for that matter even a simple stick that may be lying around in your yard. Canines usually have a habit of ingesting things without realizing that they may not be edible. This disorder is known as Pica. Non-food items that are usually ingested by your canine may include rocks, paper, cloth, dirt, mulch and even faeces.
Among these, dogs usually have a strong liking for socks. Every now and then you might end up looking for a missing sock only to discover your canine happily munching on the same. If your dog did eat up the sock, is it a matter of concern? Pet owners often find themselves in a dilemma as to what should be done if their dog swallows a sock.
Why Would My Dog Eat a Sock?
Sometimes your dog might have eaten a sock accidentally. Though it is difficult to understand how, dogs often mistake it for some food item. However, on a serious note this strange behaviour might signify something more serious than what meets the eye. A probable reason could be that you might be spending less time with it and this is what it does to seek your attention.
Resource guarding is another hallmark of canine behaviour. A dog often perceives inanimate objects as being valuable and regard it their duty to guard. They ensure that the object is safe and prevent others from touching it. Socks belong to this category and hence are often guarded by your pet. Because socks carry your smell, canines love playing with them to indicate how much they miss you.
Try and incorporate play-time into your pet’s daily routine. It will not only promote good health and playfulness in your pet but will also divert its attention away from objects like socks, thus reducing the probability of swallowing them.
What Happens If Your Dog Does Eat A Sock?
Do not panic. Control your anxiety before dealing with your pet after it has gulped down your sock. Your anxiety will only serve to worsen the situation and create further panic all around.
The outcome of your dog having eaten a sock will depend upon several factors like the size of your dog, its digestive health and the type of sock ingested. For instance, if your dog is big and it has swallowed a proportionately small sock, there is nothing to worry about. It will either throw up immediately or over the next day or two. If it does not throw up, it might as well pass out the object with its stool. However, this passing out with its poop does not happen immediately and might take several days.
If your dog does not show any discomfort after having swallowed the sock and does not throw up, you have to be a silent observer. Keep an eye on it for as long as possible. Every time your dog poops you have to be watchful and check if the digestive tract has eliminated the unwanted object. If it is still not eliminated and you see your dog showing discomfort, immediately consult your vet before the situation aggravates. Get an x-ray done to ensure the exact location of the sock in your dog’s stomach. An x-ray report will help you decide if the sock is in a position to be emitted naturally or a surgery needs to be done.
If Your Dog Does Not Throw Up
The situation worsens if your dog is unable to throw up or get rid of the sock through its faeces. There are times when it might get stuck in the stomach. Usually, non-food items can stay in your dog’s stomach for long and cause periodical disturbances. It is easier for your dog to gulp a sock but if it does not go into the intestine, it will lead to digestive disorders. In such a scenario, a dog then vomits frequently.
The most dreaded outcome of swallowing a sock is intestinal obstruction. A dog usually gulps forbidden items in isolation wherein the owner is often not aware of his pet’s mischievous deed. Intestinal obstruction is not easily detectable in dogs. However, gastric and intestinal juices cause bloating if the sock might have got stuck. This is definitely a matter of concern and often surgery is in order to remove the blockage.
How to Remove the Sock from the Stomach of Your Dog
There are certain procedures that you can follow to help your furry friend get rid of the sock that it might have swallowed. However, do not try any of them without proper medical guidance because by doing so, you might as well end up hurting your canine. Choosing an appropriate procedure depends on the time passed after the sock has been swallowed and discussed as follows are the various alternatives:
- Using Laxatives
An easy solution for getting rid of the unwanted sock from your pet’s stomach is to make it pass naturally out of your dog’s system. You can use laxatives to ease and speed up the eliminating process. Your dog might show certain behavioural changes, like being short-tempered and agitated, till the sock is out of its system.
However, you have to be very careful while administering a laxative to your otherwise healthy pup. The sock in the stomach might clump up while the laxatives work to fasten up the elimination. It will then cause further obstruction and block the intestine of your dog. So, consult your vet before administering any kind of laxative to your dog.
- Endoscope to Remove The Sock
If your dog swallows a sock and you are lucky to realize it immediately, rush to your vet. In case your dog is small and the sock which it has swallowed is big, it can be removed with the help of an endoscope. A sock is an easy item to be pulled out with an endoscope, provided you rush to an endoscopy specialist as soon as possible.
This should be the last resort and yet at times, it is an unavoidable procedure. Surgery is a nightmare for both the owner and the pet, but if the sock causes intestinal obstruction, it is the only way out.
Like humans, dogs cannot handle surgery well. They move in on all fours. Therefore, limiting your pup within restrictions is a must. Owners need to be extra careful to prevent their pup from popping a stitch. Surgery includes risks, like infections, and it also includes complications and side effects, thus rendering the pet irritable.
Apart from surgery being a costly procedure, post surgical treatment of your dog is equally essential. The scar is life-long and the dog usually becomes weak. The organs, especially the liver functions, might get altered. In such a situation, the dog needs plenty of care to ensure proper healing. It undergoes both physical and mental stress. Thus, surgery is not at all a desirable solution when it comes to the removal of the sock, but is inevitable in certain cases.
- Inducing Vomiting To Remove The Sock
This procedure is an emergency treatment for your dog that requires proper veterinarian intervention. In order to relieve your pet from the sock that it has swallowed you can incorporate 3% hydrogen peroxide orally. The recommended dosage is one teaspoon per 10 pounds of your dog’s weight. The outcome is evident within 10 to 15 minutes of ingesting hydrogen peroxide.
Give your pup a small meal prior to the ingestion as it renders the dose effective. If it does not work, the method can be repeated one more time. However, bear in mind that if you are unsuccessful in your second attempt too, do not waste another minute and consult your vet immediately.
The most common way to induce vomiting is by inserting two fingers down your dog’s throat. It is a risky procedure if you do not pay heed and you might end up hurting your pet. On its part, your pet will try and resist in every possible way.
To avoid any such situations wherein your dog swallows a sock, first and foremost, you need to organize your wardrobe. Make sure none of your belongings like socks, underwear or any such piece of clothing is lying around for your dog to check. However, if you come across such a situation, do not panic. Rush to your vet for assistance but also feel rest assured that your dog’s life is not endangered. It is a temporary turmoil that shall pass albeit after observing certain procedures and carrying out the cure the DIY way.
However, prevention is still preferable to cure and hence this should be your aim.
- Dr. Marty Becker DVM, I Think My Dog Ate an Inedible Toy. What Should I Do?, Vetstreet
- Tammy Hunter, DVM, Ingestion of Foreign Bodies in Dogs, VCA