HEALTH & CARE

My Dog Ate A Sock: Helping Your Dog Get Over This Little Mistake

Dog with sock
Wyatt Robinson
Written by Wyatt Robinson

Life is never the same again once you get a dog. Each and every day holds the potential for another surprise and another thing to think about. Even though most surprises are pleasant, making you feel unconditionally loved, there are a few mishaps that can turn up from nowhere.

It might come as a surprise to you but you should know what to do and what to expect if you run with your dog into a vet’s office yelling “my dog ate a sock!”.

Mitigating the situation before it escalades

So your dog ate a sock; it’s not the end of the world, it’s not that big of a deal… yet. There are quite a few ways in which you can go about it however, before we get to that, you should first of all try and diffuse the situation.

Dogs can have some weird tastes and most of the things that are so common that we don’t even think about in our day-to-day life, are new and exciting for them. As a result of that, some dogs can and indeed will take a more gourmand approach to these things, and every now and again will ingest something that they should not.

If a dog swallowed a sock, depending on the sock type and the size of your dog as well as the overall health of his or her digestive system, the outcomes can vary drastically. With that in mind, the last thing you want to do is alarm your dog and make him or her agitated.

Mitigating the situation before it escalades

So first and foremost, calm down, compose yourself and take a small breather to figure out what to do. Scold the dog, let him or her know that what he or she did was wrong and that it should not be done again in the future. However don’t freak out, otherwise you will freak the dog out as well and the last thing that you want to have on your hands in this situation is a panicked dog.

With that in mind, there are 3 main ways in which you can go about dealing with this situation and cause the dog to no longer have a sock in his or her system.

  1. The natural way
  2. The surgical way
  3. The forced regurgitation way

These can and might work, however it is mostly dependent on the time that has passed since the sock has been ingested. Seeing that a sock is not digestible, there is no actual way to hope for it to actually have a benefit for your dog.

The natural way

The natural way is pretty much what it sounds like, simply wait for the sock to pass through the dog’s system and be eliminated naturally. The process can be sped up with laxatives.

This is for when the sock has been ingested quite some time before you found out. However it was a small sock, probably made out of hemp so it is not exactly toxic, and there are next to no chances of clumping up. It goes without saying that out of the 3 methods that you can adopt for this situation this one is by far the less invasive and the least stressful.

The natural way

Do remember though that the sock will put a bit of strain on your dog’s body as it passes through him or her, so you can expect some moodiness, lack of cooperation and generally bad temper until the sock has passed.

Another thing that we should touch upon here is the usage of laxatives in this situation. It is more than likely that your pooch is at least a medium sized dog, and so the amount of food that he or she eats is rather significant. With that in mind, you can imagine how much food goes into the dogs stomach, and if you were to force it to pass through rapidly, like with a laxative, there are chances that the sock itself would be caught up in all the tumbling and all the matter flowing through and around it in such a way that it might clump up and actually clog the intestines of the dog.

This is a very dangerous situation to be in, and the last thing that you want to do is have to put your pet through surgery, so it is advised to consult a vet before resorting to laxatives in this situation.

The surgical way

This one is more or less self-explanatory. The dog is operated on and the sock removed directly from the stomach or intestines. The thing is with dogs, they don’t really handle surgery as well as we do, simply because of the way in which they walk, on all 4 legs.

That being said, their entire body is more or less used for movement, not just the lower parts like in our case. That, coupled with the fact that dogs tend to get fidgety quite often more or less constitutes a plausible recipe for disaster. This is why dogs need a lot of care and attention, as well as a lot of restraints after surgery so that they don’t pop their stitches.

The surgical way

Another reason for which this is not the preferred option for these kinds of situations is the fact that it is very invasive, not only making the dog face possible infections, side effects or complications, but also the experience in or itself will probably scar the dog for life, making him or her detest going to the vet in the future.

One last note that can be made here is the fact that this method is also costly. This is not about the actual financial cost but rather the fact that it is costly on the body of the dog in question. The aftermath of such an intervention will weaken the dog quite a bit, not to mention the fact that most of his or her organs, particularly the liver, will go into overdrive in order to try and keep the body itself safe, which is why there will be a period of tie after the intervention in which your dog will have to get some treatment and medication to help with the healing, which in turn stresses the body a bit as well.

The forced regurgitation way

This one is by far the most commonly used, however it is quite risky, and if you are not careful you might end up hurting the poor dog. First, you must understand that it is a good idea to use this way if and only if the sock has been ingested right before you realized what was going on.

This is because this way it has the least chance of causing long term damage or actually starts being digested through the digestive tract.

In essence, you will be making your dog throw up, and the means of doing this are quite varied, mostly depending on the dog.

Strong word of warning though, if you have any hesitations, simply don’t do it and opt for one of the other 2 ways of dealing with the problem, because there is quite a big choking hazard involved, especially on the return trip up the esophagus and out the mouth. A dog’s throat is not exactly something you can reach into with your hand to pull it out.

But before we get to that point we must first figure out a way to make your dog blow chunks.

Two fingers down the throat

This is the most common way of inducing vomiting in humans and it works quite well with dogs as well. However, there is one small problem to solve while doing this: you still have to put your hand in a mouth full of teeth, and naturally the dog will try and resist you every single step of the way.

Two fingers down the throat

At certain points, the dog might even try and bite you in order to make you stop prodding down his or her throat. You can simply keep the mouth open by force and get someone to help you by forcing the mouth to stay open while you induce the sensation of vomiting.

A very disgusting thing

Just like us, dogs are disgusted by a few certain things, almost to the point of vomiting, and in fact if you become persistent with it, besides annoying the dog, you will actually make him or her vomit.

You will have to know what disgusts your dog beforehand though, because the same things that disgust us sometimes excite the dogs themselves or make them interested in that particular thing.

Vomiting solutions

There are quite a few products out there that can usually be found in vet and pet pharmacies that will make your dog throw up.

Dog vomiting

They are quite unpleasant to use and to be honest they will make you feel kind of bad for the dog, especially after he or she is done vomiting and then looks at you with a pair of big brown doggie eyes.

Making the call

Ultimately, the decision will still remain yours, and the course of action will be set by you. However, do keep in mind that there might be unexpected and unforeseen consequences along the way.

The best thing that you can do in these situations is to go see a vet, talk to him or her and figure out something together. Also, something that should be common sense by now: get your dog’s stomach x-rayed to see what is going on in there as well as the orientation of the sock in order to see if the dog has a chance to eliminate it naturally, barf it out or if they should start prepping for doggy surgery.

Regardless, this is not the first nor will it be the last case of a dog eating a sock, and generally dogs don’t die as a result of this. They might suffer from some indigestion, get very gassy, maybe even have a bit of constipation for a few days, however chances are your dog is not in any immediate danger.

There is also the off chance that the sock itself gets tangled up either in the stomach or the intestines, in which case the dog needs to be operated upon immediately. Still, this is generally the case with dog breeds like the Great Dane, which have a more twisty and disproportionate digestive system.

Great Dane eat all this socks

In the end, it is better to be safe than sorry, and even though it will take time, even though it will cost money, even though both you and your dog will have to sacrifice a bit of comfort in order to do so, go to the veterinarian. Nothing will take them by surprise and chances are that no matter what problem you bring to them, they will be able to help both you and your dog in some manner as to solve it.

In conclusion, if your dog ate a sock, you will have to remain calm, plan out a course of action and then consult a vet in order to see if hat course of action is the right one before going about it.

Don’t worry though, if your dog managed to swallow that sock, chances are that after you have solved this problem, he or she will find many other things to swallow and eat. So there is no use getting worked up over this use at the moment.

Remember that even though you will have to go to some lengths in order to fix this issue, your dog will appreciate and love you for it in the long run.

About the author
Wyatt Robinson
Wyatt Robinson

Wyatt Robinson had a great 25-years career as a veterinarian in United Kingdom. He used to be a member of British Veterinary Association and worked in 3 pet hospitals in London and Manchester. He is shining when he sees his pets healthy and full of energy and it is his duty to help other dog owners to keep their best friends full of life.

  • Hilary Reddy

    Oh, my. This is one of my worst nightmare since my Golden loves to take hold of our socks! Thanks for this article. I have to show this to my hubby!

  • Therese Smithson

    What to do when a Shi tzu swallowed her tiny socks? My friend is facing this problem so she gave the dog 2 tbsp of hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. By the way, that didn’t work. However, she vomited all the socks the next morning. Is there a better way to induce vomiting? Should my friend have taken her dog to the vet immediately?

  • CyndyPrinceton

    My neighbor’s 12 lb dog just ate one of the infant’s tiny sock and seemed ok. I read that it could cause a blockage in the intestines so does this count as a medical emergency? Should the dog be induced to vomit by a vet? Our neighbor’s financial condition is not that good so probably a home remedy of some sort can be done?

    • You can try the classic hydrogen peroxide solution to help induce vomiting. This can be safely done several times. However, if the dog exhibits physiologic (missing the usual bowel routine) behavioral changes like feeling of discomfort or pain even to the slightest, then you should have a visit to your vet.

  • The hydrogen peroxide method is the least agitating household method that is commonly used so far. However, the idea of sending the dog to the vet should always be the top option.

  • Glad that this article helped you prevent future instances. Let hubby know of the consequences as well to make sure your Golden is always safe.

  • Kim

    My standard poodle ate a sock and vomited it up but now 2 days later we r still having vomiting? Is this normal? He is eating, although not as much, and still drinking?

    • Wyatt Robinson

      Hi, Kim, is he still having the vomiting episodes? If not, he may have expectorated the sock already. However, if the symptoms are not improving at all, I would recommend a quick assessment with the vet. Poodles have floating stomachs as part of their normal anatomy, and a sock can cause digestive blockage.

  • Mark Onyango Ojuok

    Surgery should always be the last option, quick response is key so as soon as you find out, try to get the dog to vomit.

    • Wyatt Robinson

      As much as possible, inducing the dog to vomit should be the first objective especially when you saw the particular instance that it ate the sock. Surgery is the last option, I agree.

  • Katie

    My 2 yr old German shepherd swallowed a sock last night. He actually is scheduled to be neureted tomorrow, should I have them do surgery on stomach to remove the sock?

    • Wyatt Robinson

      The veterinarian can determine if there is an immediate need for the sock removal. If emetic solutions can do the job, then there’s no need to do a stomach surgery.

  • Aakarsh

    Hi
    My 2 months old Labrador dog swallowed a sock like 10 minutes ago and I am worried
    So what should I do?

  • Aakarsh

    Hi
    My 2 months old Labrador dog just swallowed a sock like 15 minutes ago and I am worried
    So, what should I do?

  • Madison Sindle

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/de3d5aeab13af1fe8d8333ed00d5cf7429574d581a752ae77256c5d478969864.jpg My 3-month old German Shepard swallowed a sock last night. Immediately I tried the 2-fingers down the throat method and it did not work at all. Because she is so small and the sock was quite large (My husband’s) I knew it would be clogged in her system and most likely have to have surgery. I started reading up on other ideas. I decided to go with using 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (I did not like the idea but it was my last option… I did not want her to be in pain). I used half the amount recommended and Diluted it in her water. She threw the sock up within 5 minutes after that and has acted, ate, and drank perfectly fine since then. I am very thankful and lucky.

  • Verley

    My 4 month old Goldendoodle ate an adult size sock about 24 hours ago. He has had 3 regular bowel movements since but no sock. He’s eating, drinking and playing as he normally does. At what point should I give up hope of him passing it naturally and call the vet?

    • Courtney Anne Pizzo

      Calling the vet is never a bad idea if you’re unsure or nervous. If it were my vet, though, they would just say to wait unless there were any abnormal signs, like lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting, bloody stools… When my dog eats a non-food item, it takes longer to pass than his regular food items do :) At LEAST a few days, sometimes weeks.

  • RyLee

    My Great Dane is obsessed with socks. Even when I believe I have them all out of reach and or sight she seems to find one every now and then. I used to blame it on the dryer for missing socks but now I know that isn’t always the case.😖😖

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