Dogs are generally faithful animals, but that sometimes comes into question when their appetite takes over.
Research by vets recently found that a few dogs in the UK have caused problems in the relationships of their owners because of their cravings.
When Vets4Pets surveyed its own veterinary practices to find the most unusual items found in a dog’s stomach, one of the most curious was underwear that belonged to someone other than the partner of the owner.
The survey was carried out among Vets4Pets practices across the UK after the practice in Newton Abbot had to remove a 21-inch riding crop from a boxer dog.
“Underwear and socks are not uncommon items that dogs can eat, but it’s highly unusual to find out they don’t belong to the owner or their partner,” said Dr Huw Stacey, director of clinical services at Vets4Pets.
“On those occasions the vet’s role is simply to remove the item(s) and ensure the dog is fit and well before returning them to their owner(s).
“Of course dogs can often consume items left lying around the house, garden or outdoors, so it’s important that owners are aware of what their pet is doing, in case of an emergency.
“Golf balls, ping pong balls and pebbles are commonly found, often requiring surgery to remove them, but the list we’ve compiled demonstrates that dogs can find a huge variety of items to eat, with or without their owner’s knowledge.”
In one case the practice in Keighley was brought a ‘carpet-eating’ dog that had chewed up a carpet and kept pulling at the thread. Eventually it had eaten so much that one end of the thread was hanging out of its mouth and the other end was coming out of its backside.
Among other more unusual items found was Christmas tinsel, needle and thread and, the middle of an eaten corn on the cob.
In Harrogate, the Vets4Pets practice recently removed a rubber chicken from a small terrier, which amazingly came out fully intact.
“In all the cases we’ve highlighted the skill of the veterinary teams have ensured a happy ending, well certainly for the dog, but by highlighting these items we’re hoping to make owners aware that their pets can eat almost anything,” added Dr Stacey.
“Like all pets, dogs have certain dietary requirements and it’s important that receive a balanced healthy diet, which doesn’t include items such as chocolate, chicken bones or grapes.”
But the warning from vets extends beyond the more unusual items, with sticks causing one of the most common reason dogs to visit the vets.
Dr Stacey continued: “Stick injuries are very common and can often cause significant harm to a dog and can sometimes be fatal.
“The most common injury occurs when it sticks into the ground, and when the dog runs towards it, they can impale themselves causing deep wounds to the mouth, throat, neck or chest.
“As well as these injuries caused, splinters and fragments can be left behind which can be difficult to find and remove, since they are hard to identify on an x-ray.”
Top ten most unusual items
1 – Underwear of owner’s ‘non-partner’
2 – Riding crop
3 – Carpet thread running from mouth to bottom
4 – Needle and thread
5 – Whole baked potato
6 – Rubber chicken (whole)
7 – Christmas tinsel
8 – Corn on the cob middle
9 – Baby’s dummy teat
10 – Barbie doll head (without hair)