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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16106
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My lab mix dog ate clumping cat litter on Thursday and is acting

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My lab mix dog ate clumping cat litter on Thursday and is acting very lethargic today. She was very active this morning, even going for a long walk. This afternoon, she became lethargic and was refusing food. She had a bm this evening but since then has been straining to poop. I fed her hamburger and rice and she gobbled that right up. I can tell she's uncomfortable. I'm not sure if she's constipated or if it's something more serious. Can you help?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 5 years ago.

Hello, I am sorry to hear about Moxy.
Clumping cat litter can cause lots of irritation to the gastrointestinal tract. If she has eaten enough it can even lead to an intestinal impaction. Usually however those dogs are vomiting, have a tense painful belly and sometimes a fever. The cat stool she found in the box probably isn't helping her stomach either.
Because she is still eating something and not vomiting we can try some things at home.
To ease nausea and stomach irritation you can give her acid reducers either:
1) Pepcid-ac (famotidine) at one 10mg tab per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 12 hours

2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at one 10mg tab per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 24 hours.
Both are quite safe and can be used for several days if need be.

I do recommend you feed a bland diet of 1/2 boiled hamburger (or chicken), all fats and juices drained off mixed with 1/2 boiled, plain white rice. Feed several small meals a day.

I also recommend adding 2 tablespoons of canned pumpkin (not pie filing, just pumpkin) to each meal and feeding several small meals a day rather than one or two large meals as the more often she eats the more her gastrointestinal tract is stimulated to move.
I also recommend adding water or low salt beef or chicken broth to meals. The better hydrated she is the better chance she has of passing the irritant.
However if she is vomiting, is refusing to eat, has a tense painful belly or is running a fever (more than 104F) then she is likely beyond home care and needs emergency care this weekend.
Let me know if you have further questions.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
She did vomit on Thrusday afternoon after she ingested the littler, but has not vomited since. Her belly doesn't seem to be swollen and I did give her some chicken broth mixed with water to keep her hidrated. Is this acceptable? I'm worried she'll become dehidrated.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for the reply.
I'm glad to hear that she only vomited once and that her belly isn't tense or painful.
Chicken broth mixed with water is fine to give her. I agree that dehydration is a concern so the more she drinks the better.
Let me know if you have any further questions.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for all your help. One last thing, do you know around how long something like this would take to pass? How long should I wait before I seek vet attention? If she continues to eat and drink and does not vomit, is that a good sign this could fix itself? If not what is the treatment course for something like this? Thanks again!

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 5 years ago.
You are very welcome.
Unfortunately sand type material can take a while to pass. In some cases it sits in the intestines for a long period of time as it is so fine it sits in cracks and crevices but as long as she is eating and drinking, not vomiting and feeling better we can give her time to pass it.
If she actually gets an obstruction (vomiting, painful belly, refusing to eat) then surgery will be needed to remove the obstruction.
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