What are some unusual items dogs have ingested, according to pet health insurance company claims?

Strings, ribbons, rocks, pens, jewelry, pantyhose, plastic toys, remote controls—these are just a few things dogs have swallowed. Like toddlers, they’ll put anything in their mouths and that can lead to obstructions, a serious and life-threatening medical emergency, usually requiring surgery, X-rays and other expensive treatments.

In fact, VPI, one of the largest carriers of veterinary pet insurance, once estimated that policyholders filed more than $3.2 million in claims for foreign body ingestion for dogs and cats combined.

Younger dogs, those under two-years-old, are a little more prone to swallowing things, but dogs of any age can.

Moreover, many owners aren’t even readily aware that their dog has swallowed something potentially dangerous until the dog starts acting ill. So monitor your dog, be aware of these signs, and take her to the vet immediately if you suspect anything.

• Gastrointestinal problems: Your dog may vomit and it may include blood. This is the biggest sign that she has swallowed something. If the object is lodged in the upper digestive system, she won’t be able to eat or drink anything and, if she does, she’ll vomit it up immediately, and that includes water. The vomit will include undigested food or yellow bile if the stomach is empty. She’ll cough frequently and retch, trying to dislodge the obstruction.
• Mouth problems. The dog could be foaming at the mouth, drooling or have increased saliva or even paw at it.
• Diarrhea, often tinged with blood, or constipation.
• Sore abdomen. It will also be distended. If you touch her belly, she’ll probably flinch or recoil.

• Fever: Sometimes they develop a sudden fever or become lethargic.

• Large obstructions, complete blockage, gangrene: Waste material can build up behind the blockage, which will cause bloating and pain. As a result, your dog will completely lose her appetite and mucus and blood may be passed.

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