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Shih Tzu got his first bone and loved it, but...

TeresaK

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Nov 29, 2021
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FYI, I'm new to the group and am learning much here! I hesitantly gave my Shih Tzu a ham bone for the first time last evening. He loved it. I was his hero for the evening. However, I noticed that an approximately 1/2"X1/2" had disappeared alarmingly suddenly. I'm pretty sure he swallowed it, although I didn't see it happen. Today just before noon, he started throwing up. He pooped around 12:30pm. No bone was in it. He threw up approximately 12 times and quit around 3:00pm. He ate his supper tonight and seems normal so far. No throwing up. I'm quite worried that he has a blockage. I'm looking for suggestions on what to do if he should continue being sick. If he does continue to be sick, I think I will have to take him to the vet tomorrow, which very likely could end up in surgery. How long do I let him safely throw up/dehydrate and work his way through this? I'm praying all is well with him now though and he'll be fine, but we shall see.
 

Dr. Jeff

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Hi Teresa-

Thanks for making your first post.

I’m sorry to hear about your pup’s vomiting.:(🤮

This amount of vomiting is very concerning.

Anytime there is this much vomiting, the first thing to do is remove the water.

If the vomiting persists then a vet exam and trip to the ER is best.

However, vomiting and other symptoms are best interpreted in context to help you decide when to see your vet (or go to the ER).

How’s his BEAM now?

Lets ssee what @Dr. Jean and @GinnyW say about what happened.
 

GinnyW

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I'd want to know exactly what sort of bone, size, shape, and very importantly if this was a "cooked" (smoked) ham bone. These are not appropriate food for a number of reasons.

If he continues retching without producing the bone, or seems otherwise uncomfortable, he does need to go to the vet. An xray can locate it and determine whether he can pass it, toss it, or if it should be surgically removed. This is a major surgery but not usually dangerous or tricky IF one knows where to look.

However you get to the other side of this, we need to discuss how and what to feed in the future.
 

Dr. Jeff

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Great question Ginny!

I automatically presumed it was a raw bone.
 

TeresaK

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Nov 29, 2021
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Here's a picture of a bigger version of the ham bone (cooked and smoked). He slept well, hasn't thrown up again, ate breakfast. Seems normal. I'm hoping the vet can get him in for an x-ray.

20220113_105343.jpg
 

Dr. Jean

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That kind of vomiting can indicate a high blockage, which requires urgent vet care, including x-rays and IV fluids (to make up for what he's spewing!). If the bone is blocking the pylorus, it may be removable by endoscopy. But if it's really wedged in there or has moved into the duodenum, then surgery may be necessary.

Please keep us posted!!
 

TeresaK

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I called my vet and told them everything. They were happy to know he's eating and acting normally. Said thay it would take 3 to 5 days to pass and to call if I notice he's not well. He pooped a decent amount again today, but he acted like he wanted to poop more.
 

GinnyW

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Okay, and... No cooked, smoked, processed, soaked, shaped, or otherwise altered bone is appropriate dog food. The only bones they should ever have are raw, with meat and associated sinew and gristle, in appropriate sizes for the dog, completely consumable but should take some work. The bone should be fed in rough proportion with softer food, but that softer stuff can be meat attached to the bone. A minimum percentage might be roughly 10-15% bone to meat; maximum up to 50% or a bit more. Your dog's stool texture and amount will be your guide. As long as they chomp the bone up there will not be an issue they can't handle. Bony food should be given in pieces larger than the dog's mouth; there are numerous cases of bones getting stuck sideways.
Never give "ring" bones - cross slices of femur. They can easily jam sideways or even around the lower jaw. ALWAYS watch your dog with bones; don't hover, but just keep an eye on them. Learn their habits and eating styles.
Some folks give large knuckles. I'd watch very closely; parts of these are nice chewy cartilage, but there is also tooth-breaking hard bone. Actually, I just wouldn't feed them:)

Now, edible and lovely: chicken, any part. Turkey wingtips, back, keel bone, and any part you can keep an eye on that has meat and bone. I'm careful with long shank bones and big drumstick knuckles, but my dog is relatively large and powerful. For a Shihtzu consider rabbit, pork ribs, lamb ribs, alpaca, larger oxtail segments, whole sardines or mackeral, as food items. Small ribs should be fed in slabs of two or three. Bigger bones like whole beef ribs can be given to smaller dogs as recreation - but watch them!

Golden rule: Know thy dog. Watch them eat. If you have doubts, don't give it. Nothing processed; no sauces, marinades, or cooked. If stools are hard, knock down the bone percentage. Too big is way safer than too small. Give them time to eat, figuring out how to attack, enjoying the meal. If something is going sideways (literally?) get in there and TRADE for something else.

It looks as though you've dodged a bullet. Now you can relax and have fun feeding:)
 

Dr. Jeff

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Thanks for the great discussion everyone and for the feeding tips Ginny!🙏

Yay!!😍

Teresa, this was a great example of how important your vet care decisions can be and making them based on the risk:benefit.

On the one hand is the the HUGE benefit of helping your pup have a happy life including eating species appropriate foods (like raw bones as Ginny described).

Then there is the risk that may be associated with anything we do. One personal example from the '80s was one of my early cases with an obstruction. It was in a cat who only ate Friskies canned food yet still ended up needing surgery. (a big piece of the "food" was stuck)

However, I now know that this cat (and others that have obstructed from pieces of kibble, rocks, etc.) was internally imbalanced which predisposed him to the problem.

Your pup's body on the other hand, had the vitality and energy to do its job!

Maintaining that super happiness and continuing to raise the cellular energy which his body needs to work properly is key.

Good job and keep up the great work (of helping him be happy)!!


 

FrancineR

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Jan 18, 2021
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Perhaps Ginny and Dr. Jean’s responses might benefit a lot of new and old members if posted as a discussion on feeding any kinds of bones to a dog?
 

Dr. Jeff

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Yes! I was think along the same lines.

A great start for a raw bona feeding FAQ. And there's:

 

Betty

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Jul 29, 2017
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Great bone chewing info. My pup likes antlers. Are these good options?
 

GinnyW

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Ummm....this seems to be a topic with many answers. One of Dr. Jeff's favorite answers seems appropriate here: "It depends...".
I don't feed them, as my breed has big powerful jaws, and they typically don't get all involved with chewing anyway. I found some useful perspectives by searching; here's one:


and

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/are-antlers-safe-dogs/

...I don't take anything the AKC says too seriously, but this is a useful commentary. So, I wouldn't, but you may, very successfully. A smaller dog may be safe and content gently nursing an antler, where a large and intent fellow may get into trouble. Teeth vary in density, too, and what breaks a fang may not damage a molar.

The answer to this, as with so many other aspects of raw feeding, is to "know thy dog". I'd be interested in others' experiences, too.
 

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