Welcome to Safety Saturday!
What is Safety Saturday, you ask? Well, as pet owners, we all know how difficult it can be to own a pet. Between vaccines and other preventative care, choosing the right food, grooming, medications, supplements, behavior control and training, adequate exercise, poop patrol, choosing the safest cleaning products, and so on – keeping an eye on and keeping track of everything you have to “BEWARE” can be a daunting task. Even for the most seasoned of pet owners.
We all know our dogs (and a lot of our cats!) love to put things in their mouths and swallow. Sometimes mistakes happen and the most diligent of owners don’t manage to catch them before an accident occurs. Just like everyone else, emergency vet visits and interactions with Animal Poison Control are fearsome prospects. The intent of Safety Saturday is to highlight that these things happen to pet and animal professionals, too. There is a lot of guilt that goes along with treating an exposure, but if it happens to you, remember that it does not make you a bad pet parent. It just makes you human!
Today we spoke with Sandra and Dolly the Doxie. Dolly the Doxie is a pet lifestyle blog about a rescued Dachshund mix named Dolly and Sandra, the Lady she rescued. While they focus on the unique and special bond shared between them, they also talk about urban fitness and keeping fit with your dog while living in the big city of Chicago. Her blog also covers pet health, safety issues, and the latest in pet trends.
Dolly is an adorable rescue dachshund mix who has her own blog, but Dolly’s sister Taffy’s claim to fame is that she likes to put things in her mouth. Anything, really.
Me: What has Taffy ingested in the past?
Sandra: You mean, what hasn’t she ingested or tried to ingest? We just had a scare with a missing doggie sock so I spent the last few days watching Taffy’s poop. Because I knew her history, (since Taffy was my mom’s dog for 6 years when she passed away), I knew to keep tissues/paper away from her. But she occasionally gets one from your purse. or gets toilet paper out of the bathroom. I can only tell you what she ate when we see it in her poop. Things I’ve taken out of her mouth while on our walks include: rubber bands, gum, Taffy candy (really), chocolate (after Halloween) cigarette butts, bottle caps, any paper wrapping, anything. We live in the city, so there’s a lot of trash.
Have you ever had to have any interactions with Animal Poison control?
Sandra: Not yet, but we are very careful with those types of things. I worry about the kitchen floor when I use sprays or cleaners because both dogs are floor cleaners
Me: Would a poison control center be something you would or would not call for Taffy?
Sandra: No I usually call the ER vet first to see if I need to bring them in. If I don’t, they’ll tell you what to do for them at home.
Me: What kind of impact has Taffy’s habit had on her health?
Sandra: Taffy ended up with very bad diarrhea, black runny stool with blood – it was very scary. I took her to ER and followed up with her regular vet for blood work which confirmed an IBD diagnosis. Shortly after that, she started vomiting. Medications managed to get her better and she was already on a good diet, so I didn’t need to make any changes to that.
Me: What changes have you had to make in your home to accommodate for the fact that Taffy likes to eat things?
Sandra: I really have to watch the paper and tissues. Dolly doesn’t get stuffies [stuffed dog toys] to destroy as much, because Taffy will eat the stuffing. I just always have to be on guard, basically.
Me: Is there anything you can’t bring into your house because of this?
Sandra: I shouldn’t bring stuffed toys for Dolly to tear up, but I do. There’s not really anything else.
Me: What’s it like living with a canine vacuum? Has it caused you a lot of stress?
Sandra: Yes, it spoils a lot of the things we do with Dolly. I love to let her destroy toys, but she can’t now because Taffy will eat the pieces. Sometimes you’ll find something on the floor, like a dental pick, and then you’ll thank God that Taffy didn’t find it first.
Me: How supportive has your vet been? Have they offered any suggestions for Taffy?
Sandra: Every time I have taken the dogs to the vet for having eaten something, they just say, “dogs eat stuff”. This helps with the guilt trip a lot, but you still try to do what you can to prevent it. Our vet recommended a very short leash, (which I do already), and said that they have patients that have had success with a muzzle. I still haven’t the heart to put a muzzle on Taffy, but it’s better than her getting sick. We have a flower bed with rocks covering the ground and tried fencing, etc. to keep her out. She just digs under it. Luckily, she only chews on them and has never swallowed a rock, (at least not yet).
Me: Is there anything your vet -didn’t- tell you that you wish they had?
Sandra: No, they’ve pretty much seen it all and they let you know what you need to know.
Me: What do you think more people should be alert for in regard to their pet’s health, poisons, or otherwise?
Sandra: Dogs eat stuff. They are going to do it no matter what you do, but you should still always be on the lookout.
Very wise words, Sandra! Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your dog is going to eat stuff. Don’t beat yourself up for being unable to stop a dog’s natural instinct to chew every single time.