When to Call the Vet When Your Dog Eats a Sock

Bulldog biting child's socks

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Do you have a little puppy who gets into everything? Whether you have a teething puppy, a bored dog, a hungry hound, or your scent is just too good to pass up—socks can be like candy to a dogs!

Why the Sock Fetish?

It is not entirely known why dogs go after certain inanimate objects—undergarments, tampons and diapers are other favorite items—but something must be done to curb this behavior, which can be very expensive and dangerous for your dog. Socks (and other assorted items) pose a serious danger when ingested. 

Some dogs just want something to do. Others like the scent or may have a behavioral issue like resource guarding and displayi possessive behaviors toward the item, much like they would a valuable bone. Your approach may even prompt the dog to gobble up the sock on the spot. If you notice resource guarding, you will want to mention this behavior to your vet.

Calling the Vet

It is important to be as timely as possible if your pet has ingested foreign material such as a sock, underwear, tampons, corn cobs or more. Call the vet as soon as you find out or suspect it has happened. If it is within an hour or two, the vet may suggest trying to induce vomiting up the sock. If too much time has passed, usually more than two hours, the vet may take a wait and see approach or might do an x-ray. If you suspect your pet is not feeling well from ingesting foreign material, bring them into the vet right away as an intestinal obstruction can be possible and if left untreated can have serious consequences such as sepsis or death. Signs of illness include inappetance, depressed or tired, vomiting, diarrhea or seeming discomfort.

It is urgent that you call your vet if your dog is lethargic, experiencing pain in its abdomen, vomiting, lethargic, having difficulty defecating, or any other signs of illness—the sooner the better. Your dog may need surgery or in some cases endoscopy to retrieve the item through the mouth. 

In some cases, depending on the size of the dog and the size of the sock, the sock may pass however never assume this is the case and always have your pet evaluated by the veterinarian if you suspect inappropriate ingestion of foreign material.

Prevention

Keep items your pet can potentially eat up and away or locked in a drawer in a covered trash can in an area inaccessible to them. It is good practice to keep pet's out of certain rooms like bathroom's or child bedrooms by keeping doors shut in the home. Keep kitchen and bathroom trash under the sink cabinet where pet's can not access it or keep it in a room with a covered trashcan that is in an area of the home that is inaccessible to them. Get in the habit of putting laundry away in a closed top laundry basket that is in a place inaccessible to your pet. Child gates can be used if a door is not available. Teach your children to diligently pick up all socks and other items of clothing and keep them out of your dog's reach.

Warning

This applies to feminine hygiene products that might be discarded in dog level wastebaskets and disposable bra pads used by nursing mothers. These items are just as obstructive when swallowed.

You can discuss your dog's diet and lifestyle with your veterinarian. Keep your dog active—like going for regular walks, play ball, or enroll in an obedience class. There are many creative dog toys such as an appropriately sized Kong toy (make sure it's big enough your pet can't swallow it whole or break it into pieces) stuffed with peanut butter, to keep your dog puzzled and engaged to help fight boredom and hopefully divert his attention from a sock-searching and sock-eating mission.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.