Signs & Symptoms of Intestinal Blockage in a Dog

Written by cate burnette
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Signs & Symptoms of Intestinal Blockage in a Dog
Balls swallowed by large dogs cause blockages that can kill your pet. (dog image by Michael Korecki from

A dog explores its environment by putting objects in its mouth, feeling textures and tasting new experiences. Allowing your pet to chew on balls, socks, coins and other small items often results in the article becoming lodged in the animal's stomach or intestinal tract causing intense distress, warns Dr. Race Foster of A blocked dog typically requires a veterinary diagnosis involving barium radiographs and immediate surgical intervention to restore it to health. Learning what signs and symptoms of obstruction to watch for in your pet can save your dog's life.

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Vomiting or Drooling

When a foreign body becomes lodged in your dog's stomach or intestines, food cannot pass through the system and any food eaten by the dog gets vomited out. Blockage in the small intestine causes projectile vomiting while obstructions lower down in the large intestine result in dark brown, stool-smelling vomit, report the veterinarians of the VetInfo website. The dog may experience excessive drooling caused by nausea and/or saliva that cannot be swallowed.

Weight Loss, Loss of Appetite & Abnormal Bowel Movements

When a dog cannot eat over an extended period of time, weight loss becomes inevitable. The dog weakens and becomes lethargic. They begin to refuse food (a condition known as anorexia), become dehydrated and suffer from diarrhoea or a total lack of bowel movements, reports the PetMD website.

Pain & Distention

Intestinal blockage causes dogs to experience abdominal swelling with gas and fluids in the stomach. This distension may or may not be related to bloating and twisting of the gut called gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), a serious, painful condition that leads to death without immediate veterinary surgical intervention. The dog's intestines can thicken and roll in on themselves; veterinarians call this condition intussusception. Any untreated intestinal obstruction can cause the painful death of an affected dog within three weeks, advises the Merck Veterinary Manual.

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