My three-year-old female Labrador has been vomiting for two days and hasn’t wanted to eat. I’m worried that she has ingested something she shouldn’t have, as one of my gloves is missing and I can’t find it anywhere. What should I do?
Paul Manktelow advises…
The signs you describe are common indications of a dog having eaten something that has then become stuck in the stomach or intestines (known as a foreign body). Other signs include not being able to go to the toilet, or feeling pain when moving around.
Whenever you notice anything like this, it is very important to visit your vet straight away, as the longer a foreign body is left in the system, the more damage it can do. If left untreated, items lodged in the intestines can cause damage and spread infection as they move through the digestive system, and sometimes they can prove fatal. As well as gloves, other foreign bodies that vets commonly find include socks, corn on the cobs, fruit stones and children’s toys. However, it is important to mention that the symptoms you describe can also be consistent with gastroenteritis, so they don’t always mean that a foreign body has been ingested.
Your vet will examine your Labrador, and then take an X-ray if a foreign body is suspected. If an object is seen within the stomach or intestines, the dog will need surgery to have it removed, and sometimes the vet will also need to remove a section of intestine if an area is too severely damaged. This is a major surgery that can be complicated as well as expensive, so prevention is much better than cure.
If you have a dog with an interest for the unusual, for peace of mind keep potentially chewable objects well out of their reach. Always contact your vet immediately if you have any concerns.