How long would string stay in a dog’s stomach?

April 13, 2012

Dogs are considered to be one of the most intelligent animals. Dogs adapt well to training as dog experts tell us that these animals have cognitive abilities. Unfortunately, dogs do not know what is good and what is bad for them. Because dogs love to chew, they end up chewing and ingesting a lot of non-edible objects. We know that our four legged companions are voracious eaters. Because dogs are obsessed with food, they have this habit of picking up leftover food and anything that has the smell and taste of food from the ground. You will be surprised at the variety of objects found in the dog’s stomach. Dogs have eaten plastic toys, metals, foil wrappers. Dogs have eaten strings as well.

A string is small enough. It can be passed by the dog the natural way. The owner may not even know that the pet has ingested string until it is excreted with the feces. Because the tangled string will look like a bunch of worms, the owner that has not carefully examined the poop may even give the dog deworming medication. Generally, it would take 10 to 24 hours for the foreign object to pass from the stomach, to the intestines and out through the rectum. String that is not passed by the dog will stay in the stomach a long time, even for months.

A string that stayed all bunched up in the stomach would not cause lacerations unlike sharp objects that are ingested by the dog. Nevertheless, it would still be necessary to remove the string from the dog’s system. One end of the sting can be bunched up and stay in the dog’s stomach while the other end will continue to pass through the intestines. The continuous movement of the intestinal tract will cause the string to stretch and the intestine to bunch up like an accordion. The movement will cause the string to tighten and to cut into the walls of the intestines. Once the intestinal wall is perforated, the bacteria-contaminated content of the intestines will seep into the abdomen infecting the abdominal space and the blood stream. This condition that is known as linear foreign body is very dangerous as it can also cause intestinal blockage that will prevent liquid and food from passing through. The blockage will result to poor blood circulation ultimately causing the tissues to die.

The string or any other foreign object ingested by the dog must be removed. But how will the pet parent know that the pet has a foreign object in its system. If the string is stuck in the esophagus, the dog will drool a lot. In an effort to remove the foreign, the dog will continuously retch and vomit undigested food. If the string gets stuck in the stomach or in the intestines, the dog will not show symptoms of the foreign body at once. The first obvious sign is a change in behavior. The usually energetic dog would be lethargic due to the pain in the abdomen. The voracious eater will suddenly turn away from food. The dog will have vomiting bouts and diarrhea.

If you suspect that the dog has ingested the string you have used on the turkey, you can let nature take its course and wait for the string to come out naturally although you may want to increase the food intake of the dog to increase the bowel activity. If this has proved unsuccessful, the next course of action is to take the dog to the vet. This is especially necessary if the dog is already showing the symptoms of foreign object ingestion. Commonly, surgery is needed to remove the offending foreign object.

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