Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Suicide By Sock

Kairos is one of the happiest dogs I've met. He's so excited to see people, whether a new acquaintance or an old friend, that he pees on them. Or on the ground at their feet. His tail is almost always wagging, occasionally even while he sleeps. Which makes it that much more difficult to understand why he seems intent on killing himself. With a sock. Or a headband. Or anything else that he can ingest that stands a good chance of blocking or wrapping itself around his intestines.

To date, the tally stands at:
  1. Fabric square from Hannah's Knot-a-Quilt kit: Forcibly removed before it went all the way down). Cost: one fabric square from Hannah's Knot-a-Quilt set and pierced eardrums when Hannah realized that we were going to throw away said fabric square.
  2. Fabric headband: Induced vomiting at the vet. Cost: two sets of X-rays, a full day stay, whatever medicine they used to make him vomit. Probably peroxide (see below). Cost: $600
  3. Sock: Induced vomiting at home. Cost: one tablespoon of peroxide (at the vet's instruction) and a roll of paper towels to mop up.
  4. Fabric headband: Induced vomiting at home. Cost: another tablespoon of peroxide, a roll of paper towels and having to listen to Hannah crying that that was her absolutely, positively most favorite headband and why can't she keep it. (She changed her mind after I took the limp, soggy, dog-food-smelling scrap of pink and silver headband out of the trash for her inspection.)
  5. Sock: Vomiting. He did this one on his own. Cost: A roll of paper towels, plus Thomas had to get up in the middle of the night to clean up the mess.
  6. Sock: Forcible extraction. I got it before it went down, but only because he was wearing a muzzle and I think that prevented him from swallowing it.
  7. Small cloth doll: Forcible extraction. Cost: temper and nerves.
  8. Ribbon--the one the vet used to tie on his post-op cone: It went all the way through. Cost: Ew, yuck, he had a ribbon hanging from his butt. (Hannah: Did you get it? I wanted that pretty blue ribbon. Me: It's not blue any more, sweetie.)
  9. String from a rope toy: Also passed through on its own. Cost: none.
  10. Sock: Still waiting for him to vomit it up. Cost: One tablespoon of peroxide and an "Oh my god--you're going right back to the breeder!"

I've been doing a little poking around and some of the tips I've found include:
  1. Obviously, putting all of the socks away, which we're all getting better about, but he grabbed the second headband while we were playing in the back yard, a mere five seconds after it fell from Hannah's head.
  2. Putting cayenne pepper or bitter apple on a sock that you leave out intentionally. The trainer did not recommend this.
  3. Give them a toy-but NOT a treat--in exchange for the sock--but this assumes that you actually see them before the sock goes in all the way.
  4. More exercise. In the beginning this would have made sense, because poor Kairos was pretty much confined to the house and yard until he had all of his shots. But either that's not the answer for him or it's just become a habit. He gets lots of exercise now and still, many things other than food must be eaten.


The sock exited the dog, using the back door. No complications. No $600 vet bill. Whew!

Pica–noun Pathology.
an abnormal appetite or craving for substances that are not fit to eat, as chalk or clay, common in malnutrition, pregnancy, etc. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.


Pranayama mama said...

I'm glad to hear it's just attempted suicide but holy moly that's a lot of ingested fabrics and forced pukings!

Melanie K said...

a family on our street also has a golden doodle who, as a puppy, had the the same issue. they said they always just let it take its course and that whatever it was, it always came out. so, hopefully no more forced puking.