Dogs can sometimes eat things that they should not ingest. This is one of the concerns that all dog owners have on a regular basis. From sticks to toys that are not edible, dogs can sometimes decide to eat things that might cause them to have digestive troubles.
If your dog has eaten sand, you might be worried about whether or not they need to see the vet right away. Sand can be very hard for your dog to pass, and there are situations when this can be a life-threatening emergency. Many people are not aware that dogs can be harmed by eating sand, but this is something that is very tough for dogs to digest, and it can cause a whole host of other issues, such as impactions and torsions in the GI tract.
What Kinds of Care Do Dogs That Have Eaten Sand Require?
The amount of sand that your dog has ingested helps determine what treatment will be needed. Dogs that have eaten only a very small amount of sand might just need to be observed for a few days to be sure that they are not going to struggle with complications related to eating it. For dogs who have eaten a larger amount of sand, there are more aggressive treatments that will likely be necessary.
If your pet has eaten a moderate amount of sand, your vet will want to take X-rays to see if the sand is causing impactions of blockages in the bowel or the stomach. Pets that do not have blockages forming will need to be given subcutaneous or IV fluids and might be given anti-nausea medications and pain medications. Pets that need fluids will be kept in the animal hospital overnight in most cases to be observed in case complications develop.
Dogs that have eaten a lot of sand and are not responding to these treatments or pets that have blockages that have formed will need surgery. This procedure will remove the sand from the gut and check for tears in the bowel and intestines or damage to the stomach. Pets that have to have surgery will need to stay in the animal hospital for a few days at least to be monitored closely. There are many possible complications that can arise due to ingesting sand, and any abdominal surgery can bring its own risks with it.
How Do I Keep my Dog from Eating Sand?
If you love to take your pet with you to the beach or another sandy location, you will need to consider some ways to prevent them from eating sand as they play. You should avoid taking toys with you to the beach if your dog is prone to rolling the toy or dropping it and picking it up over and over again. You should also be sure that you bring water with you and a collapsible dog bowl so that your dog can rinse sand out of their mouth by drinking.
Make sure that your pet does not dig holes in the sand and that they are not ingesting salt water in large quantities. Pets can ingest far more sand and a lot more sodium than you might think at the beach, so keeping them from being exposed to these risks requires some planning in advance of your trip to the beach.
How Do I Know If My Dog Ate Sand at the Beach?
If you are not sure that your dog ate sand at the beach, there are some clinical symptoms that you can keep an eye out for after you have returned home. These symptoms can appear within a few hours of your beach trip or might not show up for a few days.
The common signs that your pet has ingested a lot of sand at the beach are:
- Not being willing to lie down
- Abdominal distension
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Straining to defecate
If your dog has also ingested a lot of salt water, they might show signs of confusion and have pale gums. These dogs could also collapse or pant very heavily without producing much saliva. These are early warning signs of heatstroke or distress from being too dehydrated and are medical emergencies. Don’t hesitate to call an emergency vet if you think that your pet might be getting a sand impaction or if you think they are severely dehydrated.
For pet owners who suspect that their pet has ingested a lot of sand and who are not sure what to do, it can be a good idea to reach out to your vet. Getting some advice about what to do in these situations can help you decide if you should take your pet in to see the vet or wait a few hours to see what happens. Many veterinarians can get your dog in to have some imaging done and to be examined so that you can have peace of mind about their well-being after a trip to the beach.
Dogs Should Never Eat a Lot of Sand
If you love to take your dog to the beach, just be sure that you are paying attention to how much they are digging, playing with toys, or drinking salt water. These different activities can all lead to your pet becoming dangerously dehydrated, and they will be at risk for sand impaction. Both dehydration and impactions are life-threatening health conditions that require a trip to the vet right away.
Make sure that you bring a water bowl and some water to the beach for your pet, and rinse off their toys frequently so that they do not become caked with sand. Pay attention to your pet’s overall behavior to judge if they are ingesting too much sand or drinking salt water. Being able to keep your pet from doing either of these things will make it much less likely that they will ever suffer from a sand impaction.
Do you need to talk with a vet about your dog eating sand? Call Country Club Animal Hospital at (305) 663-3300 today!