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What To Do When You Think Your Pet Has Ingested Something Harmful

Our pets often learn about the world with their noses and mouths. Sometimes it seems that they smell, lick, taste and chew everything they come across. Because of this, they are more likely to ingest something harmful.

According to Trupanion pet insurance, ingestion of harmful substances was one of their most common claims, demonstrating the severity of this pet safety issue. In fact, between the years 2013 to 2015, their policyholders filed more than $2.9 million in toxicity claims for cats and dogs.

How do I know if my pet ate something harmful?

If you suspect that your pet got into something and ate it, there are a few signs to look for:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Bloated or lump (usually the obstruction) in their abdomen

While they may pass objects naturally, sometimes they get stuck and can cause serious problems. If you see any of the above symptoms, make sure to contact your vet immediately. The sooner you get your pet help the better their outlook. If the object is something that could be fatal, you want to get it out while it is still in their stomach. If it’s still in their stomach there is a good chance that the doctor can remove it with an endoscope. Once it passes into the intestines, the situation becomes much more dangerous.

At The Vet:

If you can, try to identify what is that they got into. Was it flower arrangement, something with ribbons, children’s toys or something with batteries? Any clue you can give your vet will help them assess the severity of the situation.

Once you’re at the vet they may stabilize your pet with an IV for fluids, pain meds and possibly antibiotics. They will probably undergo blood tests to help further assess their condition. Depending on whether or not they were able to remove the object with an endoscope or with surgery, your pet may need to stay in the hospital for a period of time.

How to Keep Your Pet Safe:

  • Inspect toys often for choking hazards or edible pieces
  • Always supervise them with toys that have strings or ribbons that can easily be eaten and then wrap around their digestive system
  • If your pet is known for chewing, hide cords, keep remotes and toys from their reach, and lock up garbage.

We never want to see our pets in distress. And it’s easy for us to get comfortable and overlook hazards in daily life. However, if we take care to notice possible dangers, we can help our pets stay safe and live a longer life, which means more fuzzy cuddles!


    1. I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!

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