My Dog Ate A Sock: What Should I Do?

Your dog ate a sock and now you are panicking, wondering what the next step should be, how do you help your furry friend?

It may be a surprising act for you, but dogs seem to enjoy chewing and eating on anything within their reach. Remember, dogs are curious animals and there are few items that are immune to their curiosity, most vets will agree, that dogs love to eat socks!

 Life is forever changed when you become a dog owner. Many surprises and mishaps will be in store as you navigate through life with your furry friend. So, if your dog swallows a sock you will know what to do from reading this article.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate a Sock?

If you are sure your dog ate a sock, there are a few things to keep in mind. A small dog eating a sock, especially a large one, can develop problems or obstruction requiring a visit to the vet for an endoscopy procedure (a long, flexible camera inserted in the dogs’ throat) to remove the object.

If you are sure your dog ate a sock, there are a few things to keep in mind. A small dog eating a sock, especially a large one, can develop problems or obstruction requiring a visit to the vet for an endoscopy procedure (a long, flexible camera inserted in the dogs’ throat) to remove the object.

Due to the swelling that can occur, your vet may need to refer you to a specialist to perform an endoscopy if the object is not easily retrieved.  It is important to note many dogs, especially large dogs, will either throw up socks or pass them in their stool. If you don’t see the object come out in a few days, or if your dog starts acting ill, it is recommended you take them to see the vet.

How Do I Know If My Dog Ate A Sock?

If you are not sure whether your dog ate a sock, but you notice telltale signs of an obstruction, you need to take your dog to the vet.

Aside from the fact you no longer have a match for those favorite pair of socks, if you are unsure if your dog has ingested a sock, here are some suggestions I have found in my research.

Make note of your dog’s actions, look for lethargy, obvious pain in the abdomen, vomiting, having difficulty defecating, loss of appetite, signs of pain, bloating or dehydration, or any other signs of illness. You know your dog and what actions are normal for him or her, if you notice any of these signs it may ease your mind to seek medical attention.

Often items are difficult to see on x-rays, a veterinarian can look at the dogs’ stomach with an endoscope allowing them to see foreign objects in the dog’s intestines.

It is important to note you should try to keep yourself composed, take a deep breath, and try to figure out the best course of action for your dog. Being mindful your actions in this situation will have a large impact on how your dog reacts. The last thing you want in this situation is for your dog to feel your anxiety and become panicked.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Blockage In A Dog?

The symptoms of a blockage in dogs include vomiting profusely, especially if he is not eating or drinking, this is a sign of obstruction requiring immediate medical attention.

If your dog is not typically a dog that vomits but starts vomiting several times in a week, this should be a warning sign your dog could have something stuck in their stomach.

Blockage in a dog is a serious medical condition requiring surgery to remove the item. Blockages can occur not only in the stomach but also in the intestines as the sock works against the flow of blood, causing the blood flow to be repressed or completely stopped.

If this condition is not addressed immediately, the tissue in the intestine will begin to die, leaving your pet in a life-threatening situation. The digestion of a sock could cause the sides of the dogs’ intestine to become severely irritated producing ulcers or perforations from the constant scraping of the sock during the involuntary contractions.

Further, the type of sock can have a direct impact upon the actions the vet may take, thick, wool socks, versus thinner tennis socks, can help determine the proper course of treatment.

How Long Does It Take For Things To Go Through A Dog’s Digestive System?

The amount of time it takes for things to go through a dog’s digestive system is typically 10-24 hours to move through the entire digestive tract.  Some objects, however, can take a much longer time depending on the size of the object, which can prove too large to progress through the digestive tract.

A dog’s digestive system is an efficient one, depending on its digestibility, food can stay in a dog’s stomach much longer than a human, which is normally four to five hours.

It is important to note there are many variables that can affect the digestive process for your dog. Does your dog drink enough water, is it sedentary or does it get ample exercise? Exercise has a direct impact on the motility of the muscles in the digestive system to propel the food through the process.

The total time from entry to exit is greatly impacted by a wide range of factors, from the breed, size, and body weight of the dog, to the quality of the food. Wet food takes less time to digest than dry food.

Why Does My Dog Want To Eat Socks?

In order to gain a better understanding of why your dog insists on eating your socks, it may be beneficial to look at things from the canine’s perspective.

Although a dog eating his owner’s sock is disconcerting for the owner, many experts feel a dog will perform this feat as a way of garnering attention.

Often owners will use a sock to play fetch or “keep away” to interact with and exercise their furry friends. This game is a building block for dogs to accept the sock as an item with a special meaning.

Often the dog will smell the scent of its’ owner on the sock making them become guardians of this treasured item. What better way to keep other dogs from getting this special sock than eating it! Dogs can become bored when left alone when this happens your dog is looking for a way to pass the time until its owner returns home.

When socks are left within the dogs reach it becomes a temptation too great to ignore. While dogs may swallow socks for the above reasons, their actions can be contributed to a medical condition called PICA.

Sometimes dogs do not have the ability to stop themselves from eating your socks, as in the case of PICA. This condition leaves the dog with the tendency to eat objects that are non-consumable, which can expand beyond socks to rocks, dirt, leaves, metal, garbage, paper, feces, and other garments, to name just a few.

This eating disorder can be the result of a psychologically compulsive disorder (often the result of boredom), but it can also be triggered by medical issues or poor nutrition.

Being firm with your dog, especially at the puppy stage, your discouragement of eating these items with a firm “no”, followed by a distraction, could help your dog break this habit.

As a dog owner, it is important to seek medical care if you feel your dog suffers from PICA, especially if the objects consumed could prove medically threatening to your dog.

What Can I Do As A Dog Owner to Prevent Them From Eating Socks?

            Preventing your dog from eating socks and other foreign objects can be tricky but it is not a lost cause.  

Due to the decreased taste buds in a dog versus humans, dogs will not eat food to savor it, but rather, devour it quickly. It is highly recommended the state of the dog’s environment is key to helping deter the sock eating habit. Keep all objects that don’t belong in your dog’s mouth out of their reach. It is a good idea to provide your dog with safe and durable toys that serve as a replacement for those “treasured” socks. If your dog’s behavior is related to separation anxiety you may want to discuss with your vet ways to help ease your dog’s anxiety.

A vet may suggest crating or other actions in order to help keep them calm and out of trouble in your absence. Notably, this behavior is a commonality with younger dogs, as they explore their new environment and all the treasures within their reach.

            Though it may seem funny that dogs eat socks, it can be a serious condition which can quickly turn life-threatening, not to mention the expensive veterinary bills, especially for repeat offenders.

A good rule of thumb to help prevent our furry friends from being exposed to this danger is keeping socks out of their reach.

Dogs are habitual creatures who love to sample stuff and eating them is a habit, one which many will outgrow as they mature, though some never seem to kick the habit.

The information in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice. When dealing with your pets and their health, it is strongly recommended pet owners should contact their family vet for the proper medical advice concerning their dogs.

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