Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
8 December 1999 Issue

Beware of Dog Chews
By [email protected]

When he was a young puppy, I showed my dog how much I truly loved him by gifting him with lots of rawhide toys for Christmas. A week later, he was in the hospital facing surgery for intestinal blockage. Rawhide toys, when chewed, become soggy and very sticky. They form a huge bolus in the stomach or even lower, in the bowel. Bits and pieces of chewed rawhide keep adhering to the already growing bolus, and before you know it, your dog is suffering from a blockage. The veterinarian, through a barium enema and x-ray, could see the rawhide "ball" inside my dogs intestinal tract. Three harrowing, uncomfortable days of laxatives was the answer, but it could very well have been surgery had he not passed this potential killer on his own.

Symptoms include lethargy, bloody diarrhea and/or vomiting. I have never given my dog another rawhide chew toy, and I hope that this information will save other dog owners from suffering the same worry and expense that I did, and other dogs from suffering the same painful and life-threatening fate.

I reluctantly switched my dog to pigs ears for a short time, until my veterinarian advised against it. Her concerns were for the parasites and other organisms that can be passed to the dog from pigs ears. Aside from the obvious ethical reasons for not giving a dog the ear of a slaughtered pig, these chew "toys" can also be dangerous.

I have since found the solution to my dog's chewing obsession. Now he gets nylabones, booda-bones, carrot bones and, his favorite, chew bones made from corn starch and flavored with all kinds of wonderful vegetable and fruit flavors. They make great stocking stuffers for those of us who just cannot help but engage in a little harmless anthropomorphism during the holidays!

Go on to Christmas
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