You know certain foods are harmful to your dog’s health: chocolate, grapes, nuts and raw onion, to name a few. So you dutifully keep your stash of Snickers out of Fido’s reach. But dogs are notorious for eating non-food products, too, like shoes, slippers and toys.
When a dog scarfs down a foreign item, it can be a hard financial pill to swallow. According to Pet Veterinary Insurance (VPI), dog owners spent $6.7 million in 2015 treating pets who ingested foreign objects. Removing the item from the stomach costs an average of $1,753, while removing an item from the intestines costs an average of $2,320, VPI reports.
Here, some common items pups have swallowed (and made headlines for doing so!) that could be found around your home:
Pennies. Pennies may come from heaven, as the saying goes, but when a dog eats a penny, it just may well send him there. Pennies minted after 1982 contain zinc, which is toxic to dogs, cats and other pets. In 2013, a West Highland white terrier named Sierra swallowed a single penny and died from zinc poisoning. So next time you come home with a pocket full of change, make sure it goes into your piggy bank.
Cellphone chargers. What is it with dogs and wires? Fred, a lab mix in Mississippi, gave his owners quite a charge — on their credit cards — to the tune of $3,500 for surgery to remove a cellphone charger from his intestines. His owner told ABC News that Fred is quite a curious dog who eats a lot of “forbidden fruit,” including grapes and chocolate, leading to many vet visits.
Rocks. Those small rocks or pebbles might make your landscaping look pretty, but dogs may think they're something to munch on. A shepherd/husky mix named Steve snacked on hundreds of rocks and had to have them surgically removed.
Pacifiers. Branson, a bulldog in Los Angeles, wasn’t satisfied with his own rubber chew toys, apparently. Instead, he gobbled down at least 27 pacifiers belonging to the family’s triplets.
Socks. Many long-time dog owners have had at least one dog who ate socks. But this one may set some kind of record: According to Veterinary Practice News, a veterinarian removed a whopping 43 ½ socks from a Great Dane’s stomach in 2014.
Fishing gear. Keep tabs on your lures and hooks, or your dog could swallow them hook, line, and sinker. Visit any veterinary clinic near a major sport fishing lake and you might see the remnants of fishing lures and hooks the medical staff has pulled from dog’s stomachs (and out of their faces). One such dog, Elvis, a puppy in Kentucky, found the liver his human was baiting a hook with too irresistible and swallowed the liver and the hook, whole.
Rubber duckies. Rubber ducky, you’re the one — you can tempt a dog into swallowing you whole. A Florida pup named Woof reportedly had a penchant for swiping these bath toys right out of the tub. A surgeon removed five — and found other toy parts inside the dog, too.
Needles and skewers. A Florida veterinarian tells the story of a German shorthaired pointer named Marley who ate a shish kabob skewer (loaded with raw meat and veggies) right off the counter as his owner was preparing to grill. And a tiny Chihuahua in California reportedly ate an entire package of needles, which migrated throughout his body. A surgeon removed nine in all.