Top 10 Things Dogs Shouldn’t Eat, but Do

I saw an article this morning by Dr. Chris Duke, a veterinarian at Bienville Animal Medical Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, that talked about the top 10 things dogs eat, but shouldn’t. It was kind of interesting, but none all to surprising. Here’s his top ten list:

No. 10: Sticks. You bet. They splinter, poke and tear up a gut at times. In my experience, it’s not just the stick, but the peritonitis which may result from the “poke.”

No. 9: Hair ties and hair ribbons. Yes, girls smell better. So do their accessories. Dogs can’t help but like picking these attractive things up and chewing/swallowing them.

No. 8: Bones. We have a lot of barbecues and cookouts around here. Most people know to keep chicken and turkey bones away from pets, but, yes, pork, venison and beef bones can sometimes cause trouble in the intestines of dogs. The best rule? No bones at all.

No. 7: Corn Cobs. Yes, just had one week before last. Funny how they’ll go down an esophagus but get caught in an intestine.

No. 6: Chew Toys. This is unfortunate because these are marketed for dogs to chew on for either dental care or entertainment purposes. I have even seen dentrifice-purposed rope toys in dogs wrap themselves around the intestine, causing strangulation of the bowel in segments once the rope “unwinds.”

No. 5: Balls. Racquetballs, tennis balls, toy rubber balls, yes, I’ve seen them caught in the throat, esophagus, stomach and intestine in my practice life. The good news? At least they light up well on the x-rays.

No. 4: Rocks. Rocks in solitary form or an amalgamation of small rocks together can really clog up the works in an intestine. Why do dogs in particular eat rocks? Do they need minerals? Are they that bored or that hungry? All I know is, they do. The good news diagnostically is that, like bones and balls, these are easily spotted on x-rays.

No. 3: Panty hose. What a fetish! Nylons have an interesting texture. Whether it’s that texture or the scent, we’ve seen our share of these, both wadded up and acting as linear foreign bodies. Some women tell me that we’ve removed some of these weeks after they thought the hose were missing. A testament to malleability, I guess.

No. 2: Briefs/Panties. Equal time for men’s underwear here. I’m talking about tighty-whities in most cases, but, they’re tinted a different color by the time we remove them. As far as women’s panties go, I remember a day last year when Dr. Palermo performed a side-by side intestinal surgery the same time I did one on another dog.

And No. 1? Socks. That’s so common, it’s not surprising. Foot odor is very attractive to dogs, and socks get thrown loosely on the floor, particularly by men. I remember a time when I was at the Auburn University veterinary school when a dog had a monogrammed sock removed from its intestine. When the surgeon called the woman who owned the dog after surgery, her first question was “what are the initials?” Her second question was, “Can I come and get that sock so someone else doesn’t see it?” Yikes, don’t want to get in the middle of that one.

There you have it, so the next time you just throw your socks on the floor, remember that you might have to have the vet take them out of your dog later! Now you have no excuses for not putting all the dirty laundry in the hamper!


11 thoughts on “Top 10 Things Dogs Shouldn’t Eat, but Do

  1. hmmm, my dog has eaten shoes, eyeglasses (magnifiers, not the glass), cardboard, grass, towels, wood, as well as other tasty treats… am surprised these are not on the list, along with other dog’s feces…

  2. ittybittyblog says:

    I have to laugh at the automatically generated related posts. The second one “What Owen Will Eat, Pt. 2” is about my 13 month old son, not a dog:)

  3. Paul Dralle says:

    I understand the veracity behind the list but what can you give a dog to chew and have for toys? MY bassets and my standard poodle love their toys and to chew. Doggies snacks just are not enough.

  4. Lissa says:


    There are a lot of highly durable chew toys that you can use, such as Kongs and Nylabones. The kong toys allow you to stuff them with goodies — dog biscuits, peanutbutter, etc. You can also get some tirebiter toys, these are also highly durable.

    Whenever they are playing with any kind of chew toy or eating a treat, you should supervise them, this will prevent them from ingesting pieces of broken toys. It is also important to inspect their toys on a regular basis and to throw away any worn or broken toys.


  5. Dogs have a natural instinct to chew. It’s hard to prevent it. But the best thing to do is to be sure the chew toys you offer are safe! I didn’t realize that dogs could eat them. So supervision is definitely a must!

  6. Des says:

    What bones is good for my mini dashund? I have heard some chew bones are good for them. What is the best bone for her, ” Mattie”. She will be 3 next month.

    Thanks alot,

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