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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 15706
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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Our dog ate some styrofoam and has been throwing up? can i

Customer Question

our dog ate some styrofoam and has been throwing up? can i cure this issue with a laxative or cod liver oil
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

How long ago did he eat it?

Can he keep water down?

Are his gums pink or pale/white? Moist or sticky?

If you press on his belly, does he have any discomfort, tenderness, or tensing?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
he ate it on Friday after noon-
yes he keeps water down
his gums are pink
not more that usual
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
he has not passed the styrofoam, that we know of so far
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 months ago.

Thank you,

In regards ***** ***** question, if you wee one is vomiting, then treatment isn’t straightforward. This is because you cannot give either of those to a vomiting dog for fear that they aspirate it into their lungs when vomiting. Instead, you need to settle his stomach first. To do so, you can try treating with an OTC pet safe antacid like Pepcid (More Info/Dose @, Zantac (More Info/Dose @, or Tagamet (More Info/Dose Here @ Whichever you choose, we’d give this 20 minutes before offering food to allow absorption. Of course, do double check with your vet if he has a known health issues or is on any medications you haven't mentioned. Though if you give this and he cannot keep it down due to nausea that is usually a red flag that we need to bypass his mouth with injectable anti-vomiting medication from his vet before we can do anything else.

Though if you can soothe his stomach, then you can try supportive care. In regards ***** ***** care, monitoring is key at this stage. Therefore, for the next 24-48 hours, we'd want to make sure that his gut stays comfortable (which you can check by pressing on the belly to see if he has any tensing, discomfort, or pain). Furthermore, we want to monitor for restlessness, lethargy, vomiting with blood or coffee ground type material, inability to keep any food or water down, anorexia, pale gums, straining to pass feces or passage of black feces (digested blood). If we see any of these signs, then we'd have to assume its stuck and would want to have his vet feel his stomach +/- xray to make sure there is no risk of any form of obstruction.

Otherwise, while monitoring, we would want to put him on an easily digestible diet. Examples of this would be rice/pasta/boiled plain potato with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, or scrambled egg, meat baby food (as long as its free from garlic or onion powder). Whichever you choose, offer this as small frequent meals to keep his stomach settled. Furthermore, add a spoon of canned pumpkin (a good fiber source) +/- a dose of cat hair ball medication or laxatives (ie lactulose, food grade mineral oil, or Miralax) over the next few days to encourage this to slip through the GI and keep moving along. Just to note cod liver oil is too digestible to be of much use here. Of course, do note that if you use the GI lubricants, we can a bit more loose feces while they are being used (so don't be alarmed). With these supports we will hopefully keep this from getting caught and passed safely via his feces.

Overall, when dogs eat items like this, we do have obstruction concerns since they just cannot digest styrofoam Therefore, we want to start the above to help make sure this doesn’t get caught while watching for those other signs. Though if we see those aforementioned signs, we’d want him seen urgently. Otherwise, we’d hope to get this passing the other way and with our help we'd want to see this out the other end in the next 48 hours.

Just in case anything changes or he develops these above signs, and you do need your local ER vet, you can check HERE and @

All the best,

Dr. B.


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