Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dog ate soap - what to do (warning - graphic image)

Sit back and prepare thyself for an onslaught of barfing and diarrhea, basically.  If it was a consumer grade of bar soap, it probably won't endanger the dog's life.  When in doubt and depending on your circumstances, double check with your vet, but the chat boards seem to be unanimous on this one (e.g., here and here).  Basically, soap ingestion seems to be more of a roaring inconvenience than an emergency.  But nobody is going to be comfortable, neither canine nor human family members, until the sudsy stuff has been passed back out of the system.
This one has far more beauty than brains, obviously, and that big mouth gets her in a lot of trouble.

No, that's not the graphic image I was referring to in the post title, but you'll want to quit reading now if you wish to avoid it.  
Back in 2011, I described how this very same adorable mutt chewed on sago root and almost died (it's still not clear how long her liver will last).  Following that horrific experience, we learned to be vigilant when it comes to determining what she ingests at any given time.  With some dogs, the mantra is "eat first and ask questions later".  It's not a question of whether they'll poison themselves - it's a question of when and with what.

We also learned to be adept and quick in identifying the source of any given gastric upset.   In this case, we ran through the usual list of obvious questions:

  • Did she get into the kitchen trash can?  
  • Did the teenager or her friends leave any junk food within reach in her bedroom? (chocolate is poisonous to dogs).  
  • Did any passers-by toss any trash over our fence that she might have eaten?  (we back to a public sidewalk)

We had a poorly constrained variable on this one because we had spent the previous night in an extended-family member's beach house in Galveston.  I had examined the house for dog-proofness, but I had not considered the hand soap as a potential evening-ruiner.  I think she ate it because we don't use scented soap in our house (allergies) and therefore she figured it might be a foodstuff because that particular bar had a strong smell to it.

How did I figure out it was hand soap?
She didn't just chew on it - she swallowed it whole.  Here's the mostly-dissolved core of it, with a screwdriver for scale.  I had to fish it out and examine it because whatever that white thing was, it clearly did not belong in my dog's barf.  It was readily identifiable by smell, even in the barf-coated configuration you see here.  

With both kids and with dogs, steel thy nerves and examine closely any and all vomitus, even as it is staining its way into your tile grout.  This is especially true if you cannot identify the poisoning agent by inference from your surroundings.  
We had a few other clues before all the emetic excitement:

  • She was alternately listless and anxious (not feeling well, obviously).
  • She was reluctant to eat her dinner (I'da thought it more likely that the Earth would stop spinning on its axis).
  • She drooled several times earlier in the day (and she never does that).  
  • She drank copious amounts of water in the several hours leading up to the resulting barf-a-thon (which made the clean-ups even more fun for me).  

So there you have yet another suburban existential milestone aptly described.  Happy pet parenting.  Sigh.

This is a very nice graphic (source unknown or I would credit it) showing foods that are toxic to dogs.  Of course, soap is not on here as it's not a food per se...

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