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Sunday, March 22, 2009


My dog ate my.....



You can fill in the blank here. My dog ate my...... has been on the top of the list this month. I have to say in all the years I have been training, I have not had a month like this one. I have had 3 puppies this month, in training, who have ingested and swallowed foreign material and matter warding a trip to the Vet. One of the puppies had to have surgery, one had to stay 2 nights in the emergency room, and the other was unharmed. Just like children, puppies put everything in the mouth. Because they don't have hands, they pick it up and want to feel and smell how the object tastes. When dog trainers and Vets tell owners they need to keep their puppy in a "Puppy Safe" environment on a leash with 100% supervision, we do this because we see the big picture. We have seen it all. We don't say this to be cruel, we don't say it because we are hyper vigilante, we say these things because puppies get into mischief when you don't watch them.

I saw a new client yesterday with a 16 week old puppy who is being left alone in their apartment while they are at work. All the bedroom and bathroom doors are shut and the puppy has access to the kitchen and the living room. This is inappropriate confinement for any puppy. This puppy is being left unsupervised for 8 hrs a day, while they are at work. While I was sitting on the floor advising them as to why this is not a good practice, they told me they had not had any problems with this arrangement and he was really good. Just as I was telling them what dangers were around the house for a young puppy, I noticed a wire on the ground attached to a video game. The wire was frayed and mangled and was obviously not suppose to be that way. So, I asked them if this wire was like that or if it had been victim of puppy antics? I already knew the answer. They were shocked he had done this and were totally unaware. I then let them know they were lucky this wasnt a live wire and the puppy was not electrocuted.

Puppy number two is a dog I have had in training for many weeks now. He too has alot of "House Freedom" and is confined while the owners are away. They do everything correct in terms of puppy safe practices around the home. They called me in the AM and told me he had thrown up his dinner the night prior, threw up multiple times in the night and breakfast the morning they were calling me. They wanted to know if they were over reacting by making a vet appointment. I told them absolutely get him in ASAP, because what they were describing sounded like a blockage somewhere. Well low and behold their was, a nylon woman's dress sock. It has lodged it's way into the intestines of the pup and had to be surgically removed. Apparently although the clothes were in the laundry basket the puppy managed to pull the sock out through one of the holes in the side of the hamper. He was unsupervised for enough time to locate the sock, pull it out and ingest it. 2000 dollars later, he is doing just fine.

Pup number 3 ingested something not designed for digestion. This particular client called and was fed up with the Vet because her puppy had diarrhea for the last week in a half and wanted to know if I could recommend someone else to her to get to the bottom of his problems. She told me what was going on and what the Vet had recommended, however the diarrhea seemed to be getting worse not better. She said he was eating and in great spirits, but the diarrhea was out of control even with a chicken and rice diet and medication. I referred her to my Vet and told her too, SOUNDS LIKE A BLOCKAGE! So, $350.00, a trip to emergency at 1:00 in the morning, 2 nights in Vet care, he too is doing fine. He passed his foreign body and did not need surgery. Whew!

Puppies are like garbage disposals. I have seen them ingest all of the following

Paperclips, rubber bands, large sewing needles, thumbtacks, push pins, ponytail holders, hearing aids, baby diapers, pacifiers, money and change, sheets, socks, underwear, bra wires, shoelaces, nails, spools of thread and yarn, feminine hygiene products, plastic bags, corn cobs, and the list goes on and on.

Keep in mind that these are not BAD puppies....These are PUPPIES!! Regular, active, run of the mill puppies. Most folks feel guilty about confining the puppy in their life, however I think the guilt is more centered around long hours away from their pet and people believe they are being mean by restricting freedom (see post,"When can I leave my puppy loose in the house and the yard"). Puppies require an intense amount of time to turn them into the pet you want in your life ( see post," Do you have the time"). In case you were wondering what constitutes a puppy? Any dog under 2 years of age is considered a puppy. Yes, two years of age.

So the moral of the story is this:

Supervise your puppy while it is loose in your home. Set up a designated area for your puppy where he or she can be a puppy and chew on appropriate toys. While you are away, confine your puppy to keep him safe. Check your home for potential hazards your puppy may encounter. Train your puppy. Don't set your expectations greater than your puppy's ability, and ALWAYS consult your Vet for any health issues you don't believe are normal for your particular puppy. Sometimes waiting to see if it will PASS can be the difference of life and death.






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