The Dangers of Dog Toys with Squeakers

Categories: Dog Safety, Stories from Our Trainers
By Laura Yurchak

Dogs tend to love toys with squeakers. All I have to do to  get my dogs attention is grab a toy and start squeaking it. I went crazy buying toys for Harley and Lucy, my two dogs, this past Christmas. Almost all of them made some kind of noise. The cheaper toys tear apart but the high rated Tuffy toys from VIP tend to stay together for quite a while. I broke down and bought them a fox that I knew wouldn’t last too long. Within a few days, Harley and Lucy had the head off and stuffing all over. It looked like it snowed in the front room. My rule for the toys that will tear apart easy is that I must be home to pick up the mess as soon as they make it. That particular day I was distracted by a phone call  so the mess was on the floor longer than usual. I laughed as I picked up the stuffing letting the dogs play with the remaining part of the unstuffed toy.

A day or so later my Harley became very sick. His gagging woke me that Friday night. He made it outside before vomiting. It was so dark out; I couldn’t find what came up. We both went back to bed getting no sleep due to Harley’s restlessness. He would lay by my legs whining at times, stretching and moving constantly. He started gagging again. We dashed out the door just as he vomited again. I still couldn’t see what he was bringing up. I thought he might be sick from his food or something he ate in the yard. He settled down next to me and we both fell asleep for a little while.

Morning came. Harley wasn’t himself but seemed better. He ate most of his breakfast and trotted around a bit outside. I found that he vomited up a squeaker from a toy. I couldn’t believe that he swallowed such a big round thing without it getting stuck in his throat. I thought back wondering if this was a squeaker from that darn fox. It must have been. It was the start of the new Saturday morning training classes so I counted on my husband George to watch him. By the time I got home from work Harley was in bad shape. He couldn’t get comfortable, whining, stretching, and constantly moving around. I called the emergency number of my veterinary office. Dr. Brewer told me that he most likely still had something in  him that was working its way out. Since a squeaker already came out, he thought it might be some of the stuffing from the toy that balled up inside him. He put Harley on pain meds explaining that he would be in pain as it worked its way out. Worried about him bloating, I got my essential oils out and rubbed some Di-Gize on his belly. I know that dogs can die from bloat so I wasn’t going to let him out of my sight until this was over.

The pain pill kicked in on Saturday night and he was able to relax. He would stretch and whine at times and then close his eyes for a while. It was another sleepless night for me but Harley rested much better than the night before. Thank you pain pill! Sunday morning he seemed hungry so I gave him a little breakfast. He ate some of it but not all. Anyone  that knows Harley knows he would never leave food behind. Still very concerned, I took him outside watching his every move. Finally, he pooped; just what I was waiting for. I ran over to see if any foreign objects came out and there it was; another squeaker! I couldn’t believe it. Harley quickly became himself again.

Dogs experience a lot of the world through their mouth. Supervision and management is needed to keep our pets as safe as possible. In this case, I should have picked up the toy’s stuffing as soon as the toy was ripped apart. Be aware and be prepared.