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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Would this dog swallow a Ziploc Bag?

You bet he would. And he did on Monday night. Fortunately, a trip to the veterinarian – a shot, some vomiting, and the bag came out before it went through his digestive system. That of course, could have been a disaster.

Luey the chocolate lab ate a plastic bag
Here is what happened:

At 4:05pm on Monday afternoon, I received a frantic call from Ashley asking if I could go home because our dog was out of the yard. In the 4.5 years we have had our Chocolate Labrador Retriever Luey, this was the first time he had gotten out of the yard while we were at work. Apparently our neighbors were trying to help get him back in the yard.

I ran out of work and jumped in my car to drive home as quickly as possible. I think one of the biggest fears that any dog owner has is that your dog will get out, end up on a busy street and possibly get hit. I was driving home at a reasonable pace to try and get him back into the yard.

About half the way home, Ashley called back and mentioned that the neighbors were able to get him back into the yard successfully. The only problem, right before they caught up to him – the dog grabbed a plastic Ziploc baggie and swallowed it whole. Really smart, but Luey is a Chocolate Lab and they do eat just about anything.

As most people know, plastic bags among other things can cause a blockage in the intestines of animals, including dogs. We placed a call into our veterinarian and they said we should bring Luey down as quickly as possible. Best to deal with it before his body tries to digest it – otherwise, it would mean surgery.

I loaded up Luey into the back of my car – he had absolutely no idea anything was wrong with him as he bounded around the backyard. It was the first time that he actually willing got into the back seat of my Audi A4, which was a surprise. Then we made the short drive to East / West Veterinarian in Thousand Oaks. (Karen Martin is an absolutely excellent Veterinarian)

Once we arrived, we hung out in the waiting room before they took Luey into one of the examination rooms and gave him a shot. Apparently the shot induces vomiting and nausea for approximately one hour. After a few minutes the tech came out and mentioned that we had success and Luey had expelled the plastic Ziploc baggie from his system. He just had to hang out for another 30 minutes for the nausea symptoms to pass.

30 minutes and $108 later, Luey was 100% again. They brought him out, and we headed home – no worse for the wear. In fact, I figured the Labrador would still be tired when we got home – no such luck, he was ready to play. However, we took it easy since he had a rough day.

This was our first “emergency” trip with our dog to the vet, hopefully for a long time. We were fortunate that he was able to get rid of the bag and we did not have to spend the next several days waiting for the bag to pass. Whew. Mr. Luey as I like to call him was lucky this time!

The real mystery remains, how did Luey get out? My best guess is that the night before when I was fertilizing the yard that I did not completely close the front gate. Perhaps then sometime yesterday with just a bump or a strong breeze in the early afternoon – the gate blew open. Otherwise it seems, he would have been out all day and I am sure we would have received a call much earlier. The only other options are far more nefarious and there is no reason to even consider them.

That possible problem was easy to solve – I put the lock back on the gate so that it has to be locked shut anytime he is there. Now I just need to remember to replace it with a combination lock so it is easier for family, neighbors, and the gardener.