Has your dog recently chomped on a sock and accidentally swallowed?
Of all the things you worried about before owning a dog, leaving your dirty laundry out for a minute too long was probably the last thing on your list of concerns.
Ingesting a foreign object is a common but, sometimes, serious problem for dogs with a craving for the inedible.
As a busy dog owner myself, I know how tempting it is to leave an old sock hanging in the middle of a carpeted hallway or under a messy bed or stuck between sofa cushions, but after reading this article, you may reconsider letting those socks sit.
While everything is avoidable, sometimes pups can’t help but go scrounging for a bite where they shouldn’t. We’re breaking down what to do when it happens and how to prevent sock snacking for good.
Table of Contents
There are a variety of reasons why your dog may ingest something she shouldn’t. Sometimes it’s accidental – maybe that brown sock looked like a piece of meat she’s used to chomping on after you’ve cooked dinner and have leftovers to spare.
And sometimes it’s something deeper.
If you’ve frequently been out of the house or you suddenly have less time to spend with that furry friend, she may be trying to get your attention by eating something she shouldn’t and showing it off.
If you suspect this to be the case, avoid anything that may be interpreted as a reward. Discipline your dog and make it clear that her behavior is unacceptable while getting to the root of her problem and figuring out why she so desperately wants love.
Socks are an extension of you. Playing with and ingesting clothing that carries your scent can be a sign that your dog misses your presence.Try adjusting your daily routine to incorporate more doggie play time and making a mental note to increase attentiveness.
It’s also possible that your pup is just bored. This one’s an easy fix. More than likely, if boredom’s the case, your dog was using the sock as a play toy and somehow the sock ended up in her stomach.
Find a great toy that entertains for hours on end and your pet won’t have a need to mess with something she shouldn’t.
Your dog may also be munching on socks as a form of resource guarding. Resource guarding is when a dog perceives an inanimate object as valuable and often feels they must “guard” the object to prevent others from threatening its safety.
If your dog is growling, keeping her head lowered towards the sock or snapping before swallowing the sock, it’s likely she’s resource guarding.
Finally, your dog may be exhibiting signs of pica, a condition in which dogs eat inedible objects. Some suspect pica is rooted in digestive or behavioral problems, but not much is known about the condition’s underlying cause.
Signs Your Dog Swallowed A Sock
If a pair of socks in your household have gone missing and you noticed your dog playing with them hours or minutes or days beforehand, it’s likely you’ll put two and two together.
Often, the peristaltic movement of ingested material will help your dog pass the sock without much discomfort. On the other hand, if your dog is smaller or problems do arise, sock digestion may not be as painless.
If you suspect your dog swallowed a sock and is paying a tough price, look for signs of lethargy, vomiting, a distended abdomen and/or persistent loss of appetite. If you notice these symptoms – call a vet!
Steps To Take
Let It Be
If a good stretch of time has passed between your dog eating a sock and you actually discovering it, if the sock was small, or if the sock was made of natural ingredients like hemp, chances are you can let your dog pass the sock on her own with no problem.
Some owners choose laxatives to help move the process along but it’s important to consult a vet before doing so. Check out this list to figure out which laxative is best for your pup and her needs and consider our top choice.
Laxatives push food through your dog’s system very quickly which means the sock can get tangled in the mad rush. If this happens, the sock may get stuck and clog your pup’s intestines!
Moral of the story: consult a vet before resorting to laxatives and the “natural” method of sock removal.
Cut It Out
This should be considered a last resort method of treatment. Surgery is incredibly invasive and incredibly dangerous for dogs when you consider the risk of complication and infection.
Even post-surgery, it’s time-consuming and stressful to make sure your pup doesn’t pop her stitches. Dogs are restless creatures who use every part of their body for movement and are unable to fully comprehend what happened to them.
That being said, surgery is not our recommended course of action. It’s also expensive!
The third and final option is common but, like surgery, risky. Force regurgitation is pretty self-explanatory: you make your dog throw up either by shoving two fingers down her throat, showing her something repulsive (to her) or using a vomit-inducing solution.
If your dog ingests a sock and you realize what’s happened almost immediately, this option is likely your best bet.
However, it’s important to understand that any method of forcing your dog to vomit requires an owner who’s confident in what he or she is doing.
Force regurgitation gone wrong can result in choking or serious injury, so be sure this is your best option before taking matters into your own hands (literally).
If you ultimately decide this is your best bet, check out these tips for inducing pet vomiting.
If you’re an attentive dog owner, it’s likely your precious pup will be just fine, even if she’s swallowed something she shouldn’t have.
Pay attention to the signs, and consider our three recommendations: Letting it pass, opting for surgery or forced regurgitation.
At the end of the day, you know when something’s not right with your pup. Don’t hesitate to seek veterinary help and always trust your doggie gut!