Q:

What do I do if my dog ate plastic?

A:

Taking the dog to the veterinarian for evaluation is recommended anytime a dog eats a foreign object, including plastic, says Cesar Millan. Depending on the size and type of plastic eaten by a dog, problems can ensue. If it is during regular business hours, call to schedule a same-day appointment. When outside regular business hours, locate a 24-hour veterinary clinic that can be contacted for advice on the situation.

Once in the office, a veterinarian takes X-rays to confirm the item is in fact in the stomach and to determine a course of action for resolving the problem, according to Cesar Millan. It may be necessary to remove the item using an endoscopy, where a long tube is placed down the dog's throat to pull the object out of his stomach. This non-invasive procedure is done under anesthesia and has little risk involved. If the object has already passed though the stomach and into the intestines, invasive surgery may be required to prevent an intestinal obstruction and further complications. Taking preventative measures is the best way to prevent a dog from ingesting foreign objects including plastics. Dog-proofing the house and outdoor area is recommended to avoid allowing the dog access to potentially harmful products and materials.

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