Crazy Things Your Pet's Swallow

Would You Rather Have a Pet or a Baby?
The Guardian (UK)

Family pet? Apparently, more than a third of Brits would rather have a pet than a baby. Pet insurance provider Petplan reckons many people are choosing to get a new cat or dog in place of starting a family. "A total of 37% of people said they would get their broody partner a pet instead of having children," says the company, while one in 20 married couples surveyed admitted to having already bought a cat or dog instead of starting a family.

Bow-Ow! Dogs Swallow Pins, Pens and More!

So that's what happened to the socks.

A Chelsea veterinarian has compiled a Top 10 list of items pets swallow the most. And yes, socks are No. 1.

They were followed by underwear, panty hose - and rocks.

"It tends to be things that smell like the owners," said Dr. Jennifer Mlekoday at the West Chelsea Veterinary on W. 26th St. "They start playing with them and then they wind up swallowing them."

In addition to solving a riddle that has perplexed mankind for as long as mankind has worn socks, Mlekoday has also given new legs to the "dog ate my homework" excuse - although she has not removed any from an ailing pooch.

"They will eat paper products if they find them in the garbage and they have food drippings on them," she said.

Chew toys were sixth on the list. "I once removed a rubber duck from a dog," the vet said.

X-rays have also turned up truly scary items like needles and razor blades, the kind of hazards city critters encounter daily on the streets.

"They'll also go after discarded wrappers, popsicle sticks and even half-eaten fried chicken meals," she said. "It just goes to show that pet owners need to pay attention to what your dog is exposed to."

One of the biggest hazards to pooches is something that can be bought at any pet store - rawhide and marrow bones.

Mlekoday said that if not digested properly, they can obstruct or cause damage to the intestinal tract.

"While some objects can pass naturally, others have a tendency to become compacted or lodged in pets' gastrointestinal tracts, resulting in pain, vomiting or internal injury," she said. "In those cases, surgery may be necessary."

Surgery Saves Fork-Eating Dog from North Carolina

And you're complaining about Rover eating all the leftovers?

A North Carolina dog swallowed a fork that sat in his stomach for days before it ended up nearly killing him.

Fortunately for the 10-year-old Husky, named Apachee, doctors at a local animal hospital performed a miracle procedure on the canine that got the cutlery out.

"All of us who worked on the dog were high-fiving each other the next morning because he was alive," said Dr. Gary Spodnick, chief of surgery at the Veterinary Specialty Hospital of the Carolinas.

Apachee's near-fatal ordeal began three weeks ago when he somehow consumed the stainless steel utensil.

The fork sat in his stomach for several days without ill effects.

But Apachee's condition took a dramatic turn for the worse after the handle punched a hole through his stomach. The fork then traveled into his chest, penetrated his lung and lacerated his pulmonary artery.

The dog collapsed from internal bleeding. His worried and mystified owners took him to a local vet, where an X-ray left no doubt about what had caused the pooch to fall ill.

By the time he arrived at the specialty hospital, the pooch was near death and Spodnick was stunned by what he saw.

"We were all kind of puzzled as to how this thing got there and why it was causing him to bleed," Spodnick said. "A knife you could understand."

The dog went into cardiac arrest moments before a half-dozen doctors went to work on him.

Apachee was revived, given multiple blood transfusions and then operated on. The delicate surgery went perfectly, amazing even the doctors.

Apachee's quick recovery also brought his owners to tears.

"In the morning, he was offered food and he was eating some," Spodnick said. "That was pretty awesome."

Vets Warn About Giving Table Scraps to Fluffy, Fido
By Libby Cluett -

Keep a close eye on the pooch and kitties during the holidays.

A niblet here and giblet there can add up for pets during the holidays and possibly result in serious health problems and an expensive emergency visit to the local vet.

The biggest problem is pets don’t know what they should and should not eat and most dogs, sometimes cats, will scoop up anything that drops on the floor or sits on the table or counter within reach.

In today’s economy, it pays to be safe and prevent a situation that could send a pet to the vet’s office. Millsap Veterinary Clinic’s Dr. Dene Herbel said pet owners could estimate expenses beginning at $350 and going up to $1,000 if a pet has to be hospitalized for pancreatitis or another disease caused by eating too many holiday table scraps or from ingesting the wrong thing.

Local vets suggest that pet owners beware when entertaining guests at holiday meals, especially with young children around who may indiscriminately dole out food to Fido. They also offer advice for owners wanting to share table scraps and leftovers with animal inhabitants.

Table scraps and fat
Serious complications can result from pets ingesting too much fatty food or the wrong types of food, according to Brazos Animal Hospital’s associate veterinarian Dr. Lindsay Bailey. “They often cannot digest it well,” she said explaining that animals’ bodies aren’t geared for some foods humans can tolerate.

Bailey noted that dog and cat foods do not contain the same fats as turkey drippings and leftovers and warned that feeding these can cause gastritis and diarrhea and possibly lead to pancreatitis.

She added that pancreatitis could also develop when animals eat in excess or eat the wrong things.

“They have different mechanisms and receptors so their bodies can’t deal with things we can eat,” Bailey said, adding that the resulting inflammation from pancreatitis could lead to damage and major problems within other body systems.

Herbel also warns pet owners against serving drippings or fat from meats like steak, ham or turkey. He reiterated that this additional fat could result in pancreatitis, which could lead to diabetes. While he noted that some owners say their large animals seem to fare OK with scraps, small dogs are especially at risk.

If sharing a holiday scrap with pets, Herbel recommends offering occasional small pieces of lean white turkey meat, without the skin, and absolutely no bones.

“If you’re not going to eat it, your dog shouldn’t eat it,” he said as a rule to use when giving leftovers to pets.

Most vegetables – without salt, sugar or butter – are OK for dogs, Herbel said. A couple of tablespoons of plain pumpkin, a few cut green beans or cooked sweet potatoes are OK.

Herbel emphasized exercising portion control, saying that giving pets a large helping equates to a change in their diet and could cause gastro-intestinal upset and diarrhea. He said if this occurs, owners could give Pepto-Bismol – one teaspoon (5 cc) per 10 pounds of body weight every 12 hours. He said this remedy should only be limited to two-to-four doses then discontinued because Pepto-Bismol contains an ingredient similar toaspirin, which can build up in an animal’s system and become toxic.

Chocolate poisoning

Many owners know chocolate is toxic to Fido and Fluffy. Herbel explained that the chemical Theobromine, found in chocolate, tea and cola beverages, is a cardio toxin to pets. It does not typically affect humans like it does animals because they metabolize chocolate differently.

Many animals are susceptible to Theobromine poisoning. While cats, especially kittens, are more sensitive to chocolate, they are less prone to eat the delectable substance since they are unable to taste sweetness. Dr. Janet Tobiassen Crosby, a veterinarian who addresses pet topics through, says that dogs are most commonly affected by chocolate poisoning “due to their ability to find it and the common ‘sweet tooth’ they seem to have.”

Herbel said he is not as concerned when dogs ingest one piece of milk chocolate candy, but when clients call to say their dog has eaten chocolates, he will often ask what kind. “Theobromine is present in higher concentrations in bittersweet baker’s chocolate. If they eat enough of it, pets can die of a heart attack,” he said.

The Merck Veterinary Manual offers the following guide for Theobromine levels in different types of chocolate:

• Unsweetened (Baker’s) chocolate equals about 450 mg of Theobromine per ounce of chocolate.

• Semi-sweet and sweet dark chocolate is about 150-160 mg of Theobromine per ounce of chocolate.

• Milk chocolate is about 64 mg of Theobromine per ounce of chocolate.


Herbel suggests that pet owners to be mindful of meats like pork, which pose problems for some pets. He said he typically sees reactions to ham, hambones and pork chop meat and bones. If a dog is sensitive to pork, it can succumb to Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis, a highly debilitating condition for most miniature and toy breeds of dogs as well as puppies.

This condition irritates the animal’s intestinal lining, causing pain combined with bloody diarrhea. Herbel said that he treats this aggressively with IV fluids. If allowed to progress, it can lead to death.

Macadamia nuts

Bailey said to keep table food away from animals and watch for kids trying to feed a pet chocolate or some nuts, like macadamias, which are toxic to many animals. The MVM states, “Ingestion of macadamia nuts by dogs has been associated with a nonfatal syndrome characterized by vomiting, ataxia, weakness, hyperthermia, and depression. Dogs are the only species in which signs have been reported.”

Grapes and raisins

Ingestion of grapes or raisins has resulted in renal failure in some dogs, according to the MVM. “Cases reported to date have been in dogs; an anecdotal report exists of a cat developing renal failure following ingestion of 1 cup of organic raisins. It is not known why many dogs can ingest grapes or raisins with impunity while others develop renal failure following ingestion,” states the manual.

Bread dough

The MVM cites that yeast in raw bread dough poses potential hazards when ingested by pets. “Although any species is susceptible, dogs are most commonly involved due to their indiscriminate eating habits,” the manual notes.


The warm, moist environment of the stomach serves as an efficient incubator for the replication of yeast within the dough, states the MVM, adding that this can lead to distention of the stomach, depression and possible ethanol intoxication causing the animal to become ataxic and disoriented.


Bailey said that when decorating for the holidays, avoid plants like poinsettias, which some dogs like to munch on and are poisonous.
Information for this article came from the Merck Veterinary ManualM

10 Ways to Keep Pets Healthy and Happy
By Dr. Don Palermo - The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss - The Seattle Times

Take time to treat pets with a little TLC during the holidays.

Make the holidays a healthy and enjoyable time for your furry friends with this list of 10 ideas:

1. Spend more time with your pets during the holidays. You usually have some extra time off at the end of the year, so resolve to spend a little more time with your pets. An extra rub on the head goes a long way in showing your pet how much you love him or her.

2. Get your pet caught up on vaccinations. Call your local veterinarian and make sure your pet is current on all required immunizations.

3. Resolve to exercise your pet more during the holiday season and the upcoming year. Exercise will help you as well as your pet.

4. Remember that some of us travel during the holidays with our pets. Keep your pet confined while riding in an automobile and always stop every 1 ½ hours for a water break and a stretch.

5. Take some new photos of your pet. It's always nice to have current photographs. Use the photograph as a Christmas card to friends.

6. Get your pet an identification tag or microchip.

7. Pet-proof your home during the holidays. Keep plants that may be toxic and electrical cords out of reach of pets.

8. Learn a new fact about your pet's breed and share it with the family.

9. Find a few healthy treats that you can make in the kitchen for your pet.

10. Finally, make a contribution to your local shelter in honor of your pet.

Dr. Don Palermo is a veterinarian at Bienville Animal Medical Center in Ocean Springs, Miss.


Owners Keep Pet Groomed Despite Economic Woes

Cindy Knoll is willing to sacrifice her own needs before scrimping on luxury items for her Shih Tzu, Titus.

"My dog would be the last thing I cut back on," said Knoll, 30, an interior designer from Manhattan.

She's hardly alone. Despite the bleak economy, the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association estimates Americans will spend $43.4 billion this year on their pets.

Still, many consumers are rethinking expenses, choosing quality and function over luxury and style on everything from treats and dog beds, to vet care and training.

"They're still spending, but they're spending differently," said APPMA President Bob Vetere of the estimated 71 million U.S. pet owners.

Pet food is one area where few will compromise. Last year's massive pet food recall caused concerned consumers to switch to higher-quality foods - and few are switching back.

Buying in bulk is the best way to save on pet food, says George Zimmerman, who runs Pet Health on the upper West Side. "The cost per pound of whatever you're buying is absolutely less expensive," he said.

Randy Doran, who works in publishing, won't skimp on good quality food for Cooper, her four-month-old Boston terrier. In order to cut costs, she buys heartworm prevention and prescription drugs through, an online retailer, which charges less than her local vet.

Cutting her pup's nails and washing him in the sink saves on grooming costs. And she hopes networking with other Boston terrier owners will help save on future doggie day care.

It's no surprise that services such as grooming and day care are also feeling a tightening of the leash.

At Kiki's Spa Boutique in Fort Greene and Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, owner Saron Nurse is offering creative incentives to lure back wary customers. The "Economic Bailout" promotion offers a 25% discount on a full grooming package, which start at $40.

Home grooming is one alternative. Those with tiny bathrooms and big dogs, however, can head to the Dog Wash, on MacDougal St., where the cost to scrub your own pooch is $19, including shampoo and supplies. Visit the store's Web Site at

Services such as pet insurance and vet care are also seeing a shift in spending.

Laura Bennett, who runs Embrace Pet Insurance, says an economic downturn is when buying pet insurance makes sense to plan for a catastrophe, but fewer people are making the commitment.

Veterinarian Philip Raclyn of Riverside Animal Hospital says that while routine appointments are steady, more people are putting off elective surgery. He recommends trying to catch problems early, instead of waiting for them to become big problems.

Consider the following cost-saving tips:

Compare prices using online resources, such as, or

Buy pet food in bulk. If you don't have a car, find a store that offers a delivery service, to avoid buying from the closest store out of convenience.
Shop around for pet insurance. Many policies will discount if you pay in full for a year. If you don't want to invest in a plan, consider PetAssure, which offers a 25% discount on all care from participating veterinarians.

Use low-cost spay/neuter services at the Humane Society of New York (, which charges $75, or the ASPCA's free spay/neuter mobile van, available to eligible participants (

Don't be shy: Ask around for discounts and specials. For example, Biscuits and Bath's offers free Monday night playgroups for small and large dogs (

Adopt, don't buy a pet from a breeder or pet store. This weekend, Animal Haven Shelter is offering $25 off adoption fees. Visit

Watson and the Midnight Mouse
posted by cmoon - Minneapolis Pet Central

Every night, after we've gone to bed, my cat Watson likes to carry his small stuffed "green guy" toy around and make crying-mew sounds. We hear him mewing on the first level for a while until he eventually comes upstairs with the green guy and presents it to us by dropping it on the bed. He is so proud of himself.

"Good job buddy," I say and scratch him behind the ears before he snuggles into my side for the night.

As the weather has gotten colder, Watson's nighttime green-guy-hunting has evolved. Instead of presenting us with the green guy, one evening he dropped a half dead mouse in the middle of our bed.


I live in a very old house. It was built in 1895. So it's no surprise that every winter, Watson will occasionally find a mouse in the basement.

As my husband reached for the mouse, Watson snatched it up and ran away with it. The hunting trail is now lead by Watson, followed by my husband who is being chased by the dogs that are totally delighted by this impromptu midnight came of chase. I stay in bed and shut off the light. Eventually, Brian gets the mouse and everyone comes back to bed.

Recently, Watson presented us with another mouse. This time, however, he sat a few feet from the bed torturing the poor grey thing. Brian slowly crossed the room, speaking softly to Watson so he wouldn't bolt. As Brian got closer, Watson snatched up the mouse, leaving only its tail sticking out of his mouth. Brian grabbed the tail and Watson began to pull backwards. It was literally a game of tug-of-war that Watson was determined to win.

We don't want to scold Watson for bringing us his "gift." But we don't want to find the occasional dead mouse lying discarded on the living room rug. So we've worked out a system that when he brings us a mouse, we praise him and then feed him some soft food. Watson drops the mouse without a battle, we put it outside, everyone is happy. Except the mouse.

Watson's nighttime jaunts are certainly a way for him to fulfill his hunting instincts. I'm guessing that by bringing his half-dead kill to us, that is also fulfilling some nascent instinct. But I like to think that he is showing his affection—even if it is a tad gross.

Police: Dog Drives Van into NY Coffee House
Associated Press / Arizona Pets

ST. JAMES, N.Y. - A dog left inside a running van put the vehicle in drive, causing it to crash into a Long Island coffee house.

Suffolk County police say no one was injured in the incident, which damaged the glass window and some patio furniture at Cool Beanz coffee shop in St. James.

Police say a 60-year-old Port Jefferson resident left the van running while he went into the shop. His dog, Bentley, somehow knocked the controls.

Will Cat Medication Hurt My Dog?
Steve Dale • Tribune Media Services / Kentuckiana Pets

Q: I rescued an elderly Border Collie-mix. At the time, I was not financially prepared, but the dog was living in horrible conditions. I've tried to be a loving, responsible pet owner, but I can no longer afford to provide Rimadyl for pain relief. I located an over-the-counter product, a joint therapy for cats. I'm hoping this can provide transition relief until I'm able to look into getting my dog back on Rimadyl, or maybe Deramaxx, which I learned about in your column. Will this cat medication hurt my dog? -- B.E.G., Orlando, FL

A: "It's unlikely the over-the-counter cat pain reliever will hurt your dog. Unfortunately, it won't help, either," Stocking says.

Since money is tight for you (and most of us these days), wasting money seems silly. If you can't afford any of the prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Rimadyl, Deramaxx, Etogesic or Previcox, consider asking your vet about plain, old-fashioned aspirin. While any drug can create an adverse response, aspirin (also a NSAID) was creating too many serious GI problems in dogs, so lots of other drugs were developed and are being used successfully. While any of the NSAIDs specifically manufactured for pets can also cause side-affects, they are considered safer than aspirin. Depending on your dog's overall health, aspirin may be your only realistic option, however. Please don't make a decision about whether or not to use aspirin or the dosage without consulting your vet.

Steve Dale welcomes questions/comments from readers. Although he can't answer all of them individually, he'll answer those of general interest in his column. Write to Steve at Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207. Send e-mail to Include your name, city and state.

Man Recovering After Being Shot by His Dog

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A man who was accidentally shot by a 12-gauge shotgun on Saturday after his dog jumped into a boat is recovering. Matthew Marcum's legs and buttocks were injured in the bizarre incident and he was taken to Legacy Emanuel Hospital & Health Center in Portland.

Marcum's father, Henry, said his 23-year-old son was about to tie up an 11-foot open aluminum boat, when his 3-year-old Labrador, Drake, jumped into the boat.

Matthew Marcum said his dog, Drake, is a good dog and he isn't upset with him.

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