X-Ray of Thirteen Rocks in Our Labrador's Stomach!
My husband and I have a nice rock collection in a bag. There are grey ones, white ones and brown ones, in varying sizes and shapes. We didn’t have to pick them out ourselves. Our Labrador Retriever did it for us when he was six months old. After picking out which rocks he wanted, he decided to swallow the rocks..whole. Thirteen of them!
Before he ate the rocks, we noticed he liked to hang out on the other side of a small fish pond we had in our back yard. Our Labrador could be well hidden by the plants that surrounded the pond. But we didn’t worry, because before we brought him home from the breeder, we thoroughly scoped out the yard for anything he might enjoy eating. We remembered how much our first Labrador loved to chew on things he found. But frankly, it never occurred to us that this puppy might have an appetite for rocks.
Our Innocent Labrador at Eight Weeks Old..
Apparently, he wasn’t alone in his desire to eat weird things. In fact, four-legged creatures are not the only ones who crave things they aren’t supposed to eat. Humans do it, too. The desire to eat soil, rocks, or other things that are not supposed to be digested is called “pica.” In humans it can be caused by a vitamin deficiency. In animals it can also occur because of the absence of a nutritionally balanced diet. However, most of the time it is caused because the animal is bored.
Great You Tube Video of Labrador Puppies!
We knew something was wrong with him because he wouldn’t eat his food. You should never wait long before contacting a veterinarian when you have a pet that suddenly stops eating. We were so glad we took him to the vet right away. If we hadn’t, he would have died.
An x-ray confirmed that our Labrador had a belly full of rocks. The rocks were working their way down into his intestines, which could have very quickly led to an extremely painful and sudden death for him.
We had to take him to a surgeon for animals, because the procedure wasn’t something a standard veterinarian typically did. Even the veterinarian was amazed that our puppy had apparently swallowed numerous rocks whole. His teeth were perfect, so we knew he had not attempted to chew any of them. He wanted to swallow them.
The surgeon apparently had an audience as he cut open our Labrador’s stomach to retrieve the stones. The total count removed from his stomach was twelve. He had managed to throw one up before they did the surgery, bringing the total count he swallowed to thirteen!
They stitched him up after the surgery, and gave us instructions to keep him as quiet as possible for the next several weeks. This was really important, so his stitches could heal properly. Imagine trying to keep a six-month-old Labrador puppy from running around for several weeks!
After all of that, we realized we would not be able to keep him in the yard unattended. He was also walked at least twice a day to keep him from becoming bored. He still continued to find a rock or two, which was usually followed by my family chasing him around the yard in order to retrieve the rock in his mouth!
Our Labrador is now three years old. He is a sweet, loving dog. He continues to put things in his mouth, but it is getting better and he doesn’t seem to be interested in the rocks anymore. We still have the rocks retrieved from his stomach. The surgery to remove them was over $1500. At that price, our bag of rocks will continue to be a topic of conversation for years to come!
Books on Labrador Retrievers at Amazon!
moonlake from America on June 06, 2012:
Our daughter's dog ate rocks had to have surgery. Just recently a friend's dog ate a belt. We just had to have our 14 year old black lab put down. Voted up on your hub and shared.
Springboard from Wisconsin on April 06, 2010:
Amazing sometimes what a dog will ingest. Rocks??? Yikes.
vintage chic (author) on February 15, 2009:
Yes! Thank you, Rochelle. We go through a lot of tennis balls, too!
Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on February 15, 2009:
I have friend with a dog that has done the same thing two or three times. They have thoroughly searched their yard to rid it of rocks-- and make sure he has a tennis ball in his mouth when they go for a walk outside the yard.