Dogs love to chew on things, which can lead to them swallowing things that shouldn't be inside them. Things like pieces of ribbon, sponges or even sharp objects can end up in your dog's intestines. When that happens, you dog can develop a bowel obstruction.
If your dog loves to eat things that it shouldn't – and you haven't seen it have a bowel movement in a day or so – there may be an obstruction. Here are four things to do when you suspect that your dog is suffering from a bowel obstruction.
Observe Your Dog
Before you do anything else, observe your dog overnight. If it's not showing signs of distress – vomiting, lethargy, pain – it's probably not in need of immediate medical attention. Try feeding your dog a meal that's slightly larger than usual. For instance, if you normally feed your dog 1 cup of dry dog food, increase the amount to 2 cups of dry dog food. The increased size of the feeding should cause enough pressure to dislodge the obstruction.
Lubricate From the Inside
If the object has gotten stuck inside your dog's intestines, it may just need some additional lubrication. Try adding a teaspoon of mineral oil to your dog's water bowl. If it refuses to drink the water, apply a generous amount of the oil to your finger and then wipe the inside of your dog's mouth. Your dog will consume the oil while trying to lick its mouth clean.
Remove the Object
Once the obstruction begins to work its way through the intestine, you may notice a small piece of it protruding from your dog's anus. If you can tell what it is – and it isn't string – put on a pair of rubber gloves and carefully remove the object. If the object is a piece of string or ribbon, do not pull on it. The string may have a sharp object attached to it, or it may be wrapped around your pets internal organs. If you see string coming from your dog's anus, wrap your dog in a blanket and go to the veterinarian.
Seek Medical Care
If your dog begins showing signs of distress, you'll need to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Some signs you should be aware of include:
- Pale or dry gums
- Swollen or painful abdomen
- Vomiting that smells like bowel movement
Bowel obstructions can be deadly for your dog. If you've tried the following treatment options and your dog has still not had a bowel movement or its condition has deteriorated, you'll need to seek emergency medical care for your dog from an animal hospital.