Dogs love Kong toys. They are a great way to keep them entertained, and they can be used in several ways. However, any dog toy has a risk that your pooch will tear it to shreds and then eat the toy, including Kong toys.
If you find your pooch has torn their favorite Kong toy to pieces, what should you do?
What happens if my dog eats kong toy rubber?
The good news is that Kong toys are nontoxic. However, there are a few risks associated with eating Kong toys or other nonfood items.
What is a Kong?
A Kong is a dog toy designed to challenge and reward your furry friend. It’s a rubber toy with holes in each end. You can place food or treats inside. Your dog will then need to figure out how to get the food out of the Kong.
This is an excellent way to provide mental and physical stimulation. However, it can also lead your dog to think of the Kong itself as food. After all, it dispenses food, and smells like food.
Types of Kong
One of the great things about Kong toys is the options they offer. They come in four types.
Puppy Kong is very soft, and is designed for puppies and light chewers.
Senior Kong is a bit tougher than puppy kong. However, its still soft, and ideal for senior dogs and light chewers.
Classic Kong is tougher and harder than the senior Kong. This is the right version for most adult dogs. It’s hard enough to be durable, but soft enough your dog can enjoy chewing it.
If your pooch loves to tear up their toys, you’ll need the extreme Kong. This toy is designed for very heavy chewers. It’s made from very hard rubber, which makes it difficult to shred.
Of course, a highly determined pooch may also shred this type of kong. If that occurs, then you should probably give up on this toy, at least for awhile. Another option is to only give your dog a Kong when you can supervise them carefully.
In addition to choosing a type of Kong, you’ll need to choose the right size. Be sure that it’s big enough your dog can’t swallow it whole, and small enough to be manageable for them.
If your dog eats Kong rubber, the first concern is choking. The pieces of rubber can be relatively hard, depending on the type of Kong. These pieces can get stuck in the windpipe, blocking your dog’s airway.
If your canine companion is choking, you’ll notice it immediately. They will clearly be in distress, just as you would be.
Symptoms include pawing at the mouth, excessive drooling, gagging, coughing, and rubbing their face on the ground. If they can’t breathe, their gums will turn blue. They may lose consciousness as well.
The other concern with Kong toys is bowel obstruction. In this case, the Kong rubber makes its way into the digestive tract. Your pooch’s body can’t digest the rubber.
Instead, it passes through their stomach, and into the intestines. The intestines are designed to accommodate soft bits of digested food and waste. They are not designed for solid or hard objects through them.
If your dog eats a Kong toy, there’s a chance that the rubber will get stuck in their intestines. It’s too large to make it all the way through and out in your pooch’s poop.
The obstruction can be partial or total. A partial obstruction means that some food or waste can pass through, but the intestine is partly blocked. Think of a highway with one lane closed.
A complete obstruction means that nothing can get through. This is like the road being completely closed. Nothing can pass in or out.
This will cause a range of concerning, and potentially life threatening, symptoms. Vomitting and diarrhea are common symptoms. Your pooch may also have lethargy, loss of appetite, and confusion.
They will strain or struggle to poop. If the obstruction is complete, they will eventually be unable to poop at all.
What to do if my dog eats Kong rubber?
If your dog eats Kong rubber, the best thing to do is take them to the vet. It’s possible for your pooch to pass the rubber, depending on how large the pieces are.
However, you have no way of knowing for sure if your dog will pass the toy safely. Treatment is much easier before a bowel obstruction creates major problems, or before the obstruction occurs at all.
This is why it’s best to visit the vet as soon as you realize they ate the toy.
If your pooch is choking, it’s a scary situation for both of you. You’ll need to act quickly to get them through this. First, restrain them if possible. They may thrash around, harming themselves or you.
Next, look into their mouth. If you see a piece of rubber, you may be able to remove it with your hands. If you can’t, you’ll need to attempt the hiemlich.
Hold your dog with their back against your chest or stomach. Their head should be up. Look for the hollow spot beneath their ribs. Place your fist into this space.
Pull up and in with your fist using a sharp thrusting motion. Do this two to three times. If the rubber hasn’t came out, check their mouth again. You may be able to reach it and remove it now.
If this isn’t effective, you’ll need to perform CPR.
Once you’ve removed the rubber, your dog should stop choking. However, they still need to be evaluated by the vet. Your vet will do an exam, to be sure there’s no damage from choking or the Heimlich maneuver.
If your pooch has any issues, your vet can treat them.
Visiting the Vet
When you visit the vet, you can expect them to do a physical exam. They will also likely do an xray or MRI to see where the toy is in their system. In some cases, an endoscopy may be required to see the toy. From there, your vet will decide on the next steps.
If the rubber hasn’t passed through the stomach yet, the vet may be able to induce vomiting. You don’t want to do this at home in this situation, because there’s a risk of choking as the pieces come back up.
If the toy has already passed through the stomach, your vet may decide to let your pooch attempt to pass it naturally. If it poses a risk of obstruction, surgery may be required to remove the toy.
Watching the Poop
If your vet tells you to monitor your dog’s poop, or you don’t take them to the vet, you’ll need to watch their poop. This allows you to see when they pass the pieces of rubber. Once they’ve passed the pieces, your pooch is out of danger.