Dogs absolutely love to play tug of war. The toy of choice for many dogs and people who love to play this game is a twisted rope toy. They come in all sizes and a variety of designs for all kinds of tugging and tossing fun. What you may not realize is that they can be fatally damaging to your dog when swallowed as one woman painfully discovered recently with her beloved Golden Retriever, Sam.
What Started as Fun Play Ended in Tragedy
Indria Tuckler purchased some rope toys from retailer Home Goods for her two Goldens. She felt that they looked well made and sturdy and would not be destroyed easily by her dogs. The very same day she brought them home, though, she found the toys unraveled and ripped apart so she collected the pieces and discarded them in the trash.
Sam, her 14 month old pup, became sick. She was vomiting, had diarrhea, was drinking tons of water, and didn’t want to eat. These are common symptoms when your dog has ingested something foreign or toxic. Concerned, Tuckler took her to their vet to be examined. She told the vet about the rope toy and although x-rays were performed they were inconclusive. Ropes are difficult to see in x-ray images. The only course of action to be taken was emergency surgery.
During the procedure, the vet removed 3 feet of rope that had become entangled in her intestines as well as 14 inches of intestines that had been torn in the process of her body attempting to pass the rope. Sam survived the surgery, but heartbreakingly, she died 2 days later. She’d become septic and was bleeding from her intestines to her stomach. There was nothing anyone could do to save her.
What Happens When a Dog Eats a Rope Toy
The problem with rope toys lies in strands being swallowed. Germantown Vet Clinic reports that rope is just about the most dangerous object your dog can swallow. The strands of rope can extend from the stomach on one end and well into the intestines on the other end. As the body works to move this foreign object through the digestive system, the intestines cinches up, the rope acting like a drawstring on a pair of pants. This is not only extremely painful for the dog but also very dangerous. The rope rips and tears the intestine walls, causing sometimes irreparable damage. Surgery is the only option and as Tuckler learned, there is no guarantee of recovery.
Toy Safety Tips
Although there is no guarantee that your dog will be completely safe with any toy, there are some things to bear in mind that improve safety. No dog toy is indestructible, and we recommend allowing your dog to play in short sessions, which extends the life of toys, and keeps the dog most engaged and interested. Do not allow your dog to gnaw on the toy for extended periods of time.
Material choice is important. Our AgriChew toy is made from tough, yet flexible TPU material (Thermoplastic polyurethane) that is pet-safe and non-toxic. The BetterBall is crafted with durable, pet-safe, non-toxic EVA foam. The Destroy-a-Saurus is made from biodegradable non-toxic woven hemp and its limbs re-attach for extra playtime.
As a part of our Project Play™ program for every toy you purchase for your dog, a toy will be donated to a shelter dog in need.
Spread the word about the dangers of rope toys. Share this post with other dog lovers. Let Sam and her family’s painful experience help save the life of another.
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