Ingested Foreign Bodies

Griff’s are mouthy. That is true of most dogs, particularly sporting dogs which are bred to take pride in the object they are holding, but some of us might agree that this breed is near the top of the class when it comes to swallowing a prize. A survey including a sample of 182 Griffs (Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Health Survey, 2002) showed 3.8% of the dogs at some point in the life, with foreign body disorders confirmed by a veterinarian. Puppies will always need to learn some rules regarding ownership, but training to be more discriminating needs to follow through with the adults as well. Even the best owners may have the bad luck to face this common medical problem that is not entirely avoidable. Following is a list of items made from consulting only one veterinary hospital and our own personal experiences. This is not a complete list of what will fit into your dog’s mouth:

• Snake head (toy)—popped out at the surgeon when she opened the dog up.

• Christmas ornaments

• Underwear—We know a puppy that carried a sock in his gut for 4 days, with no symptoms, until it exited by the same orifice by which it had entered.

• Superballs

• Peanut butter jar—glass partially eaten while cleaning off the inside

• Corndog on a stick—toy and real ones

• PVC piping—from irrigation lines

• Rocks

• Horse hoof trimmings

• Horse chestnuts

• Fruit pits

• Fishhooks

• Pencils & Pens

• Ginsu knife—it is also chewed, but still works

• Light bulbs

• Wrench

• Plastic bags

• Watches

• Rings

• Money

• Racquet balls

• Dentures

• Tooth brushs

• Dental Floss Cassettes

• Entire bottle of Rimadyl

• Paper clips

• Baseball gloves

• Squeakers from toys

• Cell Phones

• Marital Aids

• Computer Mice

• Eye Glasses

• Plastic & Tin Bottle Caps

• Wine Corks

• Hot Wheels, Match Box sized toys

• Lego, Lincoln Logs, similar building toys

• Night Lights

One can’t resist laughing at this list, but that changes when it is your dog. The trauma to the dog and your bank account can be significant. Some pet insurance companies are now limiting this to one claim per lifetime. Foreign bodies can cause obstructions, perforations, and toxicity in dogs. If you suspect or know of your dog ingesting a potentially damaging object or substance, contact your veterinarian (See links below for description of symptoms, diagnosis and treatment), and consider it an emergency until you know otherwise. The usual symptoms of GI pain may be present (e.g., anorexia, pain in the abdomen, etc.), but sometimes there are no symptoms, or they may appear later.

Until a Griff learns the boundaries of ownership, anything on the floor, or maybe simply within reach, is fair game. Your dog will be pleased to have something in its mouth, and chewing and swallowing are often part of the fun. You do not want to discourage your hunting dog from carrying things around, but you need to work consistently to guide your dog to only touch what has already been allowed. Keep acceptable items around to substitute for the mistakes. Although training is beyond the scope of this site, we still must emphasize that positive reinforcement will get you everywhere, and anger has no place in the Griff’s training.

For more information on foreign bodies and obstructions go to: