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What Do Dogs Eat? EVERYTHING, According to These X-Rays

Seeing the results of a contest in Veterinary Practice News, the questions is not "What will a dog eat?" but rather, "What won't they eat?"

Chris Hall  |  Sep 2nd 2014


No matter how many kibbles, bits, or gourmet liver/chicken/beef treats the dog food industry comes up with, you know that it won’t be enough to satisfy all our pets. Some dogs will always be convinced that they have to at least sample anything that will fit between their jaws and down their throats. This doesn’t have anything to do with looking for alternatives to jerky treats, or wanting a healthier diet. It just seems to be dog nature to smell, lick, and eat stuff.

Even so, sometimes dog nature gets extreme, as the below X-rays show. From the September 2014 issue of Veterinary Practice News, they show a selection of some of the strangest and most indigestible things that have been found in animals’ stomachs. The magazine runs an annual contest for this stuff. The first-prize winner, which nets $1,500 for the Paws and Claws Animal Hospital in Plano, Texas, is a frog that ate about 30 ornamental rocks in his aquarium. A notable digestive accomplishment to be sure, but frankly, I’m far more impressed by the second-place winner, a German Shorthaired Pointer named Marley who ate a shish kabob skewer. Rocks are fairly easy for me to imagine an animal eating. I don’t get how, even when it’s lined with delicious meat and vegetables, you get a metal skewer into your mouth, down your throat, and into your stomach without something clicking and going, “Oh, wait. This doesn’t taste so good.”

Fortunately, the vet was able to get the skewer out easily, and Marley went home to find more trouble.

You could make a case that the third-place winner outdoes them both. The owner of a Great Dane noticed the dog vomiting all day and brought him in to the vet, who removed 43 1/2 socks from the dog’s stomach. Eating a sock is kind of unusual in itself, although not unheard of. But how do socks suddenly seem so appetizing that a dog would want to eat 43 (and a half) of them?

Quantity is one of the things that most interests me about these pictures. For instance, there’s the case of a dog named Woof, who ate not one, not two, but five rubber ducks, apparently over the course of several months. The client would buy a rubber duck for her three-year-old son, the duck would disappear, then she would buy another one. She didn’t tumble to what was happening until Woof came in while the child was taking a bath and ate a rubber duck in front of her. The vet, Mary Green of Port Richey, Florida, wrote: “We surgically removed the flock along with a toy truck tire and a piece of another toy, and Woof did very well.”

Following the lead of the frog, a Welsh Corgi swallowed about two cups of gravel, and a particularly thrifty Pug swallowed $1.29, mostly in pennies.

What’s the lesson to learn from this? First of all, X-rays are cool to look at, and they’re very useful when the wrong thing goes into the wrong place so that a dog doesn’t have to just hope to vomit up his poor choices of food. But also, the canine stomach is a resilient thing, able to survive many different kinds of misguided curiosity. Check the website out for more pictures, with details.

Have you ever faced problems with your dog eating non-food items? What’s the strangest thing your pooch tried to eat?

Via Veterinary Practice News

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