Golden Retrievers look innocent with their floppy ears, and playful manner, but their puppy-like energy can lead them into trouble. This often involves eating objects such as stray sock. This leaves pet owners worried about the severity of potential risks and what steps to take next.
A Golden Retriever puppy can eat a sock. A sock is an indigestible foreign object that can get stuck in the dog’s digestive tract. This can be life-threatening and require surgery. It is always best to call your vet once you notice your sock is missing.
The situation of your Golden Retriever eating your sock can be stressful and nerve-wracking. So what’s the correct next move? Understanding reasons for your dogs’ actions and the risks posed will help you make the best decision for your pup. We’ve compiled a list explaining signs to watch for and the risks of what could happen next.
Why Do Dogs Eat Socks?
Vets refer to eating socks and other items as ‘foreign body ingestion’. They know that it’s a very common occurrence.
Dogs may eat socks for several reasons, some of which are normal, while others may be of concern.
Although it is possible for a dog to eat a sock, some dogs do so on purpose. This suggests more considerable health concerns. Some of the reasons dogs eat socks include the following.
Socks have their owners scent on them
Socks smell like their owners, and dogs are attracted to that scent.
Even after washing, a dog can still pick out that unique smell we leave on clothing. And that is enough for your dog to want to chew it. This is a scenario in which your dog may get carried away chewing and licking on the sock that they accidentally swallow it.
Guarding scented items
Similar to the above scenario, dogs can perceive items that have their owner’s smell as a valuable resource. They may intentionally swallow these items as a way of guarding them.
Pica is a compulsive disorder to eat non-food items and is found in both humans and dogs.
Explore this possibility if you frequently find your dog eating socks or other inedible items. We’ve written an article about dogs eating rocks.
Other disorders or deficiencies
Other metabolic disorders or nutritional deficiencies can cause your dog to eat items other than their food.
What to Do When Your Goldie Eats a Sock
So, your Golden Retriever ate a sock.
Call your vet straight away.
Although it is possible for a dog to pass the sock, it could get stuck along the intestinal tracts.
When an item is eaten that does not break down, it may get stuck anywhere along the digestive tract.
If the sock gets lodged, it could cause gastrointestinal upsets and blockages and would require a speedy surgery to remove. This process can put your pet’s life on the line. It can also end up costing you a pretty penny. The cost of surgery to remove a sock can range between $800 to $7000 in the U.S.
After your dog swallows a sock, the best-case scenario is for it to come right back out the way it went in.
The most significant risk lies in the sock lodging in the intestines. So removing the sock before it reaches the intestines is the lowest-risk option for your pet.
This can only be done before the sock leaves the stomach. The longer the sock is given to travel through the digestive tract, the greater the risk becomes.
It is possible to induce vomiting to retrieve the sock. But keep in mind that there is a risk of your dog choking as it comes back up. This is why it is always best to have a professional handle this in a setting where they have the necessary equipment in case of any mishaps.
How to Tell If Your Goldie Ate A Sock
If your dog eats a sock and passes it, you may never know until you find it in their droppings.
This process could take anywhere from 1 day if the sock were to pass straight through to, more likely, several days or even weeks. Although this could happen smoothly and naturally, there are some signs to look for when there is a blockage along the digestive tract.
Some common blockage signs include the following:
- Excessive or abnormal drooling
- Abnormal lip-smacking
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Abnormal or difficulty with bowel movements.
The above symptoms will usually occur within 24 hours of your dog swallowing the sock. It is best to immediately contact your vet if you notice any of these symptoms in your dog.
How Vets Remove Foreign Objects from Your Golden
Veterinarians follow specific steps to check on the severity of the situation and determine what to do next. It is common to first palpitate your dog’s stomach to check for symptoms that may occur due to blocked gas such as:
Vets may then take a radiograph to see precisely where the item is and look for any potential blockages.
If the vet needs to inspect further, they may perform a barium study in which your dog ingests a liquid that lights up on an x-ray so the path of the fluid and any blockages are seen.
Another common way to detect the sock, your vet may use ultrasound.
After determining the severity of the situation, your vet may want to take one of several different approaches. If they deem the sock to be a danger to your pet, one of two surgeries will generally be performed.
- Endoscopic retrieval is a less intrusive procedure often used for items lodged in the upper digestive tract. Dogs usually heal with just a few days of rest.
- Exploratory abdominal surgery is more intrusive and will usually take several weeks to fully heal.
The cost of these surgeries depends on the type of surgery and the anesthesia required.
Either method of ingested foreign body removal generally costs between several hundred to several thousand dollars.
How To Prevent Your Goldie From Eating Socks
Although dogs will be dogs, there are measures responsible dog owners can take to help prevent mishaps such as your Golden Retriever eating your socks.
Out of reach
One of the first and easiest (although some dogs make excellent detectives) is to keep socks out of reach.
That means not leaving them lying out on the floor or in an accessible pile or basket of laundry.
Secondly, make sure that your dog has a nutritious and well-rounded diet.
Some dogs may eat foreign objects with a desire to fill a deficiency in their diet. Ensuring your dog is well-fed will prevent them from unnecessary and dangerous habits.
Stimulation not boredom
Also, make sure that your dog gets enough stimulation.
Golden Retrievers are in the Top 5 of most intelligent breeds in the dog world. Smart breeds need activities that make them think, including activities such as:
- Searching out objects
- Opening or getting into places
- Learning and obeying commands.
When they do not receive this kind of stimulation, they act out in a destructive manner as they search for things to do.
It is vital to train your dog if your dog shows signs of any kind of destructive or unhealthy behavior.
- Use positive reinforcements such as learning to drop and leave objects and learning to redirect their focus from one item to another.
A small accident by an excited and careless Golden Retriever can lead to some serious risks and consequences.
That’s why it is always essential for dog owners to monitor their dogs and look for any abnormal signs or behaviors.
When in doubt, always contact your veterinarian with any questions and concerns.
How long can a sock stay in a dog’s stomach?
Food and foreign objects like a sock can stay in a dog’s stomach for more than five hours. It depends on the size of the item and the dog’s size in relation to that object.
My dog ate a sock and has diarrhea
Vomiting and diarrhea can take place 7-8 hours after a dog has ingested a foreign object. This happens as the object passes through to the end of the small intestine.
Can a dog poop out a sock?
Yes, and that’s a good thing. It’s best for the sock to be out than in!
My dog ate a sock and can’t poop
If your dog doesn’t appear to be in pain and hasn’t pooped out the sock 2 days after ingesting it, take your dog to the vet.
My dog ate a sock but is acting normal
In this situation, you should wait for your dog to vomit or poop out the sock. If a few days pass, and your dog is still acting normal, take him to the vet for advice. It’s not advisable to leave any foreign object like a sock inside your dog for days.
My dog ate a sock, how long to pass?
It should take 48 hours.
More About Golden Retrievers
Golden Retrievers make great outdoor companions. Have a read of the other articles we’ve written about this dog breed:
- Exercise limits for a Golden Retriever puppy
- Playing catch: why do Goldies have trouble?
- More than one: types and colors of Goldens