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PDSA Warns Pets Swallow the Strangest Things

12 July 2016

UK - Stones, babies’ dummies, socks and even kebab sticks were among hundreds of weird and wonderful items PDSA vets surgically removed from pet patients last year.

PDSA treated nearly 400 pets for swallowing things they shouldn’t. And it appears that pets in Bradford are the most curious in the country, as our vets saw a whopping 33 cases in the city alone.

PDSA has 51 Pet Hospitals across the UK and we’ve compiled a list of the ‘top ten’ items pets swallowed according to the number of cases:

  1. Bones – 59 cases
  2. Stones – 29 cases
  3. Corn on the cob – 28 cases
  4. Plastic e.g. parts of kids toys, food wrapping – 25 cases
  5. Rubber balls – 19 cases
  6. Rubber e.g. parts of dog toys – 19 cases
  7. Socks – 11 cases

PDSA vet Rebecca Ashman said staff have also removed more bizarre objects in the past, from tent pegs and knives to radio aerials.

Rebecca said: “You’d be amazed at some of the crazy things pets eat. Our top ten list highlights the objects we saw most frequently last year, but every now and again we see even more unusual cases.”

Thanks to funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we’re educating pet owners about the phenomenon of pets eating strange objects – known as ‘pica’ - and how to keep their animals’ safe.

Rebecca added: “Pets, especially puppies and younger dogs, like to use their mouth to investigate objects as well as to eat. Sometimes a pet will swallow an item by mistake, even though they had only meant to investigate it.

“We might think it’s comical but in some cases it is incredibly dangerous and can even prove fatal. If an object moves along the digestive system, it can cause a tear or life-threatening blockage.

“If you have pets at home, try to keep anything dangerous or easy to swallow out of paws’ reach. Only let them play with suitable pet toys and try to supervise them to avoid any accidents. If you do suspect your pet has swallowed something you should contact your vet for advice immediately.”

Our vets say training pets from a young age can help to curb their temptation to chew objects, and they can learn basic commands like ‘drop’ and ‘leave’.

UK hotspots for pets swallowing strange things:

PDSA Pet Hospital (city) Number of pets swallowing strange items
Bradford 33
Glasgow Shamrock Street 23
Gateshead 19
Oldbury 17
Bow 16
Sheffield 16

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