If you have ever owned a dog before, I am sure you have a sickening feeling in your stomach just after reading the title of this post. Dog lovers don’t see their dogs as just a pet. When something goes wrong, you feel your world spinning out of control and just want to fix everything. To turn back time and prevent the inevitable.
But, I don’t have the power to turn back time.
I am currently living in a nightmare and I am just waiting to wake up from this dream.
Let’s start with yesterday…
A Family Visit
It was a beautiful Sunday morning on Long Island. My husband, Bobby, was upstate at a bachelor party for the weekend. Around 11:45am, Benny and I got into my RAV4 to head out east to spend time with my parents for the afternoon.
Benny may be a dog, but he is no dummy. He knew exactly where we were going and could not wait to see my parents and their two yellow labs for a playdate. The trip went well, hardly any traffic during the half hour ride and the sun was beaming down into the car. Air blasted from the vents and I was thinking about how grateful I am for the great weather we have had almost every weekend this summer.
As we pulled into the neighborhood, I let Benny stick his head out of the window. It’s one of my favorite things to see him do—always warms my heart. He bites at the air with a smile on his face as his tail smacks the ceiling of the car from wagging so fast.
We pulled into my parents’ driveway and he sprinted into their garage, up the steps, and into their house. Benny always loves going there because my mom has always spoiled her dogs with dozens and dozens of toys. Immediately, he bolted for the toy basket to check out the new additions.
For about an hour the dogs ran in my parents’ big, fenced-in yard, wrestling and chasing each other. We came in for some lunch while the dogs cooled off and took a little rest. But, immediately after we finished and they were “off-duty” from begging, they began to run around the house shaking toys in their mouth and playing tug-of-war.
It was already shaping to to be a perfect summer adventure for Benny.
Until it wasn’t.
I love watching Benny fish for toys. He does this at our house, too. Benny will run over to a basket of toys and dig his head down far into the bottom of the bin. It’s as if he thinks the best ones are buried at the bottom like treasure at the base of the ocean.
After about 30 seconds of searching, he pulled out a long leg that used to belong to a pink monkey or pig toy I bought my parent’s dog, Zoie, a year or two ago. The leg was most likely torn off from a good game of tug-of-war.
Benny dragged it over to the sliding glass door where the sun poured into the room. He slowly laid down on his side, chewing the toy in his mouth while allowing the sunshine to beam down on his face. I was relieved because I was planning on heading back home soon and he was clearly going to sleep on the ride.
My parents and I were chatting about our kitchen renovations while all of the dogs relaxed. As we were discussing a few decor options my mom’s voice rose in a panic, “Benny, spit it!”
Too late. I looked over. Benny slurped the 10 inch toy into his mouth like a noodle.
Immediately, I sprung to my feet and began giving orders.
“I need a plate. Salt. Take out the extra shrimp salad.” My parents complied.
I’ve handled this before, but not for over a year. Benny has eaten toys in the past. But, back in his let’s tear them to pieces because I cannot help myself days.
The First 3 Times
The first time it happened was when my father-in-law was watching him when we first adopted him two years ago. We picked him up, went home, slept through the night, and around 5am, Benny got up and began throwing up. After hosing it off, we realized the object he vomited was the vest of a stuffed animal Benny must have ate when my father-in-law wasn’t looking. Benny didn’t show any signs of discomfort prior, so I was happy he was OK and the object came out of him naturally.
The other two times was during his “ripping toys phase.” Bobby and I were trying to teach him how to be good with toys and to play with them, not murder them. He would go weeks with no issues, carrying the toys around and simply squeaking them. But, during two separate times we watched him tear a leg or arm off a soft toy, look us dead in the eyes, and swallow it.
I FREAKED OUT the first time.
We were in the middle of eating dinner. I immediately grabbed my phone and went to Google for an answer. Salt. The first article said that if you could get your dog to eat a large amount of salt, they will throw up immediately as a reaction.
So, I put salt over my dinner and let him lick the plate. He ate it ALL. 30 seconds later, he threw up the toy in our backyard.
The second time, a similar story.
But, I didn’t know we were just simply lucky those first three times.
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Forcing Benny to Throw Up
I was pretty calm directly after he swallowed the toy, sure that the salt would do the trick. But, after three helping of a large amount of salt, Benny’s tail was down, but he wasn’t getting sick.
I began to panic.
With shaking hands, I went to Google. The second way to make a dog throw up is to give them hydrogen peroxide. 1tsp for every 10 pounds. So, my mom ran and grabbed some, along with a measuring spoon you use to give babies medicine.
I measured 2tsp at a time. Made Benny sit and we fed it to him. Frantically, I grabbed his mouth and held his jaw open like a crocodile as my dad poured the burning liquid down his throat.
Benny immediately began to throw up. Up came all the salt-coated food, pumpkin my mom gave him earlier, and some of his breakfast.
My eyes began to water when there was no toy.
Lots of foam. Lots of food. But… no toy.
The Emergency Visit
My mom was amazing. She immediately got on the phone with her vet, since mine was closed and about 45 minutes from their house. They told me to come right in and they would x-ray him and possibly go into surgery, if needed.
I knew surgery was a high possibility. Looking over at my dog with his tail tucked under him and his head hanging down, I felt like I was going to be sick myself. Why did this have to happen to him?
I drove 80mph the entire way to the vet with my mom beside me and Benny laying in the back seat. Strange enough, he seemed FINE! He was alert, looking around, and trying to stick his head out of the window, as usual.
Benny showed the same behaviors in the vet. He walked around and greeted every dog and person he saw. Also, his tail wagged as people came and went before he was taken in for his x-ray. Strange. It was as if he hasn’t even eaten a toy at all. But, we are sure he did.
After they took him in for an x-ray, we met with the doctor in a small office. She explained that they saw a lot of gas and his stomach was full. They couldn’t say, for sure, if the toy was part of what was seen. But, let’s be real… we knew it was. He threw up almost everything he ate that day prior to the visit.
We had two choices:
1. Go directly into surgery where they would open up his stomach and fish out the foreign object.
2. Go home for the night and monitor his progress.
After speaking with my husband over the phone, we chose the latter option. We wanted to give him a chance since he wasn’t showing any signs of discomfort.
So, we headed home.
We felt so bad for Benny. If you know him, you know how obsessive he is about his meals. This dog would do absolutely anything for food, which has made it easy to train him.
I wasn’t allowed to give him anything until after being seen the next morning at the vet for another x-ray. They needed to see if it was food they were seeing in his stomach or the toy. Giving him food would just prolong the process.
We also had to monitor him throughout the night in case he needed immediate attention. These were the signs we were told to look for:
- Throwing up (& no toy)
- Rapid breathing
So, Bobby and I took turns getting up every two hours to check on him. Each time we got up, his tail thumped on the ground and he showed he was excited. Thank goodness. Although, I was secretly praying to hear him puking on my beautiful new bedroom rug. I was dying to see a soggy pink toy floating in a bunch of foam.
The Next Morning
At 7:30 this morning we were back in the car heading to my parents’ vet for a follow-up appointment. Benny was cheerful the entire way and, again, thrilled as he waited to be seen. Even made friends with a rescue cat that was pawing at him within a cage.
The x-rays showed that the gas was gone and almost all of his stomach was empty. Except for something that was balled up. Right now, we are assuming that it is the toy. But, thankfully, no surgery is needed, yet.
Again, we are in the monitoring stage.
We brought him back and fed him a large meal, as instructed. Thankfully, he didn’t immediately throw up his breakfast, which would be grounds for an emergency surgery. That would be a sure sign the toy was blocking the entrance to his stomach.
Instead, he is laying on the cool basement floor as I sit in a beach chair writing this. Life is going on and my kitchen renovation is currently in progress upstairs.
Hoping to give you all a good update soon.
Still no sign of the toy. But, Benny is happy and cheerful! We are going to continue to wait it out. Thank you for all of the kindness, everyone xx
We have found signs of the toy in his stool!! So, no surgery will be needed xx so grateful!
Has anyone gone through a similar experience with a pet?
Let me know in the comments below.