Dog parents are often shocked, and sometimes horrified, by the strange things their dogs eat. Veterinarians, on the other hand, aren’t so surprised. “To put it politely, many dogs are indiscriminate eaters,” says Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, a San Diego veterinarian and writer. “We see everything.”
Here are some of the more unusual items vets say their furry patients have consumed. [REMEMBER: If your dog ingests anything he shouldn't, an immediate call to the vet is in order. ]
1. Diapers and Baby Wipes
Veterinarian Dr. Jason Nicholas shares in his book, “101 Essential Tips You Need to Raise a Happy, Healthy Safe Dog,” that households with babies and toddlers offer plenty of temptations for dogs. Dirty diapers and wipes are top of the list for dogs, Dr. Nicholas warns. Removing these items from your dog’s digestive tract can be costly and distressing for you and your pooch, so make sure to keep them out of reach, even if your dog doesn’t show interest in them while you’re around.
2. Other Baby Items
Pacifiers and bottle nipples are also popular menu items for dogs, Dr. Nicholas adds, so be diligent about keeping up and put away as well. .
3. Children’s Toys
Dr. Vogelsang and Dr. Lorie Huston, a veterinarian based in Rhode Island, both say kids’ toys are a popular item for dogs to chew up and eat. Dr. Janet Tobiassen Crosby, Veterinary Medicine Guide for About.com, adds that many dogs find crayons irresistible, which makes for quite a colorful experience once the crayons make their way through the dog’s system and out the other end.
4. Random Household Items
“I saw one dog that ate several carpet samples!” says Dr. Huston.
Dr. Nicholas and Dr. Crosby agree: unused – and used – tampons are a common snack that can easily cause obstruction in a dog’s digestive tract.
Both Dr. Katy Nelson, a Washington, D.C. area veterinarian and Dr. Vogelsang say corncobs are another dangerous item dogs seem to like a lot. “I had a Golden one time who swallowed 17 – yes, 17 – corn on the cobs,” says Dr. Nelson incredulously.
7. Socks & Panty HOse
Most vets have a story of sock ingestion and Dr. Anna O’Brien, who practices veterinary medicine in Maryland, adds that she sees dogs swallow panty hose somewhat frequently.
Dr. Crosby recalls the story of a dog who ate his owner’s bra, even the gel inserts, and most vets mention underwear as a common obstruction. But, says, Dr. Huston, “I think the most embarrassing (for the dog’s owner anyway) was a thong … and not the footwear.”
It’s hard to imagine why they’d be appetizing to a dog but Dr. O’Brien says she finds many dogs who love to swallow rocks. Dr. Vogelsang agrees. “Some dogs are such severe rock eaters that owners have had to re-do their yards, after realizing it’s cheaper than a fourth surgery,” she adds.
Remember, just because you don’t see your dog eating strange things doesn’t mean he’s not doing it on the sly. Dr. Nelson tells the story of one of her most notable secret eaters. “One patient was a Mastiff that swallowed a whole peach and when we made him vomit to bring up the peach, we also got two plastic grocery bags, a pacifier, a chicken bone, a pair of socks, about 15 foil candy wrappers and a mini basketball. He’d been busy.”
While eating odd items is common, that doesn’t make it any less dangerous for your dog. “Pets are unpredictable,” writes Dr. Crosby. “Even in the best of circumstances, accidents can happen. Taking a few extra minutes to ask ‘what if’ or ‘could he get into…’ may just save your pet’s life.” And always play it safe — if you suspect your dog has ingested something or he is acting strangely, call your vet ASAP.