All dogs love their food, and most of the time, food is all they eat. However, some dogs like to eat non-food items such as clothing. Pica is the name of the disorder for consuming objects of no nutritional value. Pica items include dirt, rocks, and socks! As a pet owner, it is stressful to suspect a missing sock is inside your dog, and an urgent veterinary consult is required when you suspect your dog has consumed a clothing item. These three steps are what you should expect when your missing sock is inside your pet.
Step One — Induced Vomiting
It is vitally important that you don't attempt to make your dog vomit at home. However, if your vet deems this is a necessary treatment step, they will induce vomiting in their clinic under controlled circumstances, including strict supervision. Induced vomiting only works if performed shortly after the sock eating. The longer the sock remains inside your dog, the further along inside the gastric system it moves. Induced vomiting is a pointless exercise once the clothing moves outside the stomach and into the intestine.
Step Two — Pet Ultrasound
Once the sock enters the intestine, your vet must perform an ultrasound to determine precisely where the item is. Pet ultrasounds are preferred to look for foreign objects as x-rays do not always show consumed clothing. The ultrasound tells your vet two essential pieces of information:
- Is the sock causing a bowel blockage?
- The exact location of the object in the digestive system.
These answers determine whether the vet needs to perform surgery to remove the sock or whether they wait a little longer to see it come out on its own. For example, if the sock is small and the dog is large, such as an Alaskan Malamute who has eaten a slipper sock, your vet may allow nature to take its course. However, any indication on the ultrasound of bowel blockage means surgery is the next step.
Step Three — Natural Passing Or Surgery
The final step to removing the sock from your dog depends on the information shown on the pet ultrasound. If a bowel blockage is present, your dog will have immediate surgery to prevent permanent damage to the intestine and bowel. First, general anesthesia puts your pet to sleep. Next, your vet makes a small cut in the abdomen and intestine to remove the sock.
When you suspect your dog has eaten a sock, time is of the essence to prevent long-term internal damage. Therefore, a hasty phone call to your vet is prudent to discuss treatment options for this incident.