Did your curious canine sniff out and snack on a sock—or a few? While it's possible your pup could pass their fabric not-fit-for-food meal, the sock could also wedge itself inside of your dog's intestine. If you saw or suspect that your dog ate one or more of your socks (or another similarly-sized piece of clothing), take a look at what you need to know about bowel obstructions and how a pet hospital can help.
Why Do Dogs Eat Socks?
You chose a nutritious food for your dog with the help of their vet. Even though you feed your pup one to two times each day and they don't seem hungry, your dog still prefers to dine on socks and other non-food items. Why would your canine companion choose footwear as their favorite food?
Dogs eat socks for a few different reasons. Some dogs seek out their owner's scent, others are bored, puppies may eat non-food items when they are teething, and there are some animals that have a compulsive disorder known as pica.
According to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, pica is an unusual eating habit that includes persistent chewing and the consumption of non-food items. These items provide no physical or nutritional benefit to the dog. The causes of pica may include nutritional deficiencies, some types of medical issues, boredom, anxiety, or early weaning.
It's possible you may not know (or ever know) the reason why your dog eats socks. Even though you may not know the cause, you need to take steps to prevent this behavior and treat the problems that it could cause.
Do Socks Always Cause Obstructions?
No, sock ingestion (eating a sock) won't always result in an intestinal or bowel obstruction. Some dogs may vomit up the sock or it may pass in their stool. But it could also get stuck inside the dog's gastrointestinal system. An obstruction blocks the intestine and stops the movement of food and water. It can also prevent adequate blood flow from reaching parts of the GI system. This possibility makes it important to seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible.
How Do Veterinarians Treat Sock-Related Obstructions?
A diagnosis is the first step in your dog's treatment. Symptoms of obstruction can include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, dehydration, bloating, weakness, or pain-related behaviors. Your dog may whine, wince, or not act like themselves. The vet will need to examine your dog and take x-ray images of their abdomen. If the vet feels the obstruction won't pass, your dog will need surgery to remove the sock. This reduces the risks of serious sock ingestion side effects.
For more information, contact a pet hospital near you.