Chew Toy Kills Reader's Dog

LeAnn writes:

On Friday, November 16, 2007, my dog, Catfish, died. Catfish died from ingesting a toy I bought her from the Dollar Tree. This was a dog toy by “Paws N Claws”, called a “Chase and Fetch Chew Toy”. It was a plastic boomerang distributed by Greenbrier International Inc. from Chesapeake, Virginia.

Here is an account of how things happened…

When I purchased this boomerang, there was no label on it. Catfish enjoyed this toy, so when it got old, I bought another, and later, a third one. None of these toys had any labels on them. I noticed that Catfish chewed off pieces of the toy, but did not think she was ingesting those pieces. I would find lots of parts of the toy chewed up laying around the house. She had obviously discarded them. I would pick them up and throw them away.

On Thursday, November 8, 2007, I woke up to my dog crying. I got up, and there was vomit everywhere. Some of the piles of vomit had blood in them. The vomit was a deep brown liquid. I called my vet and was told not to feed her for 24 hours. I did that. She was constantly shaking badly, and would hide under tables and chairs. The next day, Catfish was still sick. She was no longer vomiting, but she would not drink any water, was not interested in eating, and was still shaking and hiding. She just seemed really ill, so I called the vet again. The vet suggested feeding her some white rice and boneless, skinless chicken breast. I cooked these things, but Catfish did not want it. During the course of the day, I got her to eat a tiny bit of it. That evening, she threw it all up. I made an appointment for the next day, Saturday, at the vet. That day, the vet pulled some pieces of the plastic boomerang from Catfish’s rectum. We all hoped that that was the answer. However, Catfish continued to shake terribly, and still refused to eat and drink. Monday morning, I took Catfish back to the vet. The vet was able to pull another piece of this toy from her rectum. These pieces of toy were extremely sharp and pointy. I knew that these were parts of the boomerang, because of the color, texture, and the fact that all of her other toys were intact. The vet had me purchase some items for Catfish- a nutrition paste, and another paste intended to lubricate the digestive track making it easier for defecation. However, Catfish remained ill. She was still refusing to eat, and I had to force water into her mouth with a syringe. An appointment was made for Thursday the 15th for exploratory surgery. The vet opened Catfish’s intestines and stomach. Lots of the toy was found. Parts of her stomach were necrotic, and the vet sutured them. There was a massive amount of scar tissue on Catfish’s insides. The vet recommended that I leave Catfish with her until at least Saturday, however Catfish did not make it that long. The vet took Catfish home with her that evening, but on Friday morning she died. The doctor said the toy may have been toxic and gotten in her bloodstream, however, the death may have been due to the extreme scar tissue.

We buried Catfish Friday morning.

I have all of my receipts from the vet, as well as a bag full of the toy that was in my dog’s stomach. I have since been back to the Dollar Tree to purchase an identical toy. I mentioned that the toys that I purchased had no labels on them- This time, I dug through the toys thinking that surely there must be a label stating who made the toy, etc. After tossing aside 5 boomerangs with no label, I finally found 1 with a label. It is a piece of paper that easily slides off. While this paper did have a warning about supervising your dog while it plays with any toy, this warning was not provided to me when I purchased not only 1, but all 3 boomerangs.

I bought Catfish this toy because I wanted her to be happy. I wanted her to play and have fun. I never ever thought that I was killing my dog. If I had not bought this toy, my dog would be with me today.

Catfish was an excellent dog. A few months ago, a man tried to break into my apartment, but was scared off by Catfish. Less than a week later, that man was arrested for breaking into another apartment and sexually assaulting a woman. That is one example of how Catfish was everything you could want from a dog.

Unfortunately, to find out whether or not the toy is toxic would take way more money than I have to spend. I paid a great deal of money trying to make my dog well. No amount of money will ever comfort me. However- someone should pay for the death of my best friend. No other dog or dog owner should ever go through this. I want these toys taken off the shelves of every store. And I’d like for everyone involved in the selling of this toy to know how devastated and crushed I am by the loss of my poor dog.

Thanks for your time,
LeAnn Waters

Your story literally brought tears to my eyes. I’m truly sorry for your loss, and thank you for sharing your painful story. We hope you also send a copy of this letter to Dollar Tree and Greenbier.

Please don’t buy your pets cheap plastic toys from dollar discount stores. If they’re gnawing toys into shards, it’s possible for those shards to get lodged in your pet’s digestive track and possibly kill them.

Comments

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  1. Hoss says:

    What a terrible situation. I am not very impressed with this vet though. Does he not own an xray machine?

  2. Shred says:

    this is really sad. i’ve noticed those dog toys at the dollar store and have never bought them because i assume the worst about dollar store products. nonetheless, the manufacturers and the dollar store should be held accountable since the woman was buying something clearly marked as safe for dogs.

    leanne, people can be really cruel in the comments section of the consumerist. if you’re reading these and if anyone says anything nasty in the comments that follow, please don’t take it personally. i’m so sorry for your loss. i’m going to go give both of my dogs great big hugs now.

  3. SOhp101 says:

    Great, now I’ll sound heartless again…

    If you have a toy that literally falls apart into pieces, why would buy the exact same toy again for your dog?? I don’t even own a dog and I know not to give them toys that can break apart.

  4. Rachacha says:

    Ben, your suggestion for notifying the CPSC unfortunately will not do any good. CPSC only has jurisdiction over toys intended for children (and while Catfish felt like a child to LeAnn, the government feels differently). No federal agency that I am aware of regulates toys for pets.

    Out of curiosity, do we know the length of time that transpired between when the first toy was purchased and when Catfish passed?

  5. RottNDude says:

    I have a dog (obviously, given my handle), who I love very much so I am a bit torn between offering my condolences and wondering why, 1. your vet sucks so badly, and 2. why you accepted their telephone diagnosis and let the issue slide for so long.

    Had this been my dog, he would have been at the Animal ER the moment I saw any blood at all.

    Your dog is not human and unfortuately cannot easily vocalize their state of being. As the highly intelligent being who is tasked with their care, it is your job to be observant and err on the side of caution. This is an essential part of owning an animal.

    If YOU were puking blood and in visible pain, would you let your doctor tell you “oh, just don’t eat for 24 hours”?

  6. Crazytree says:

    I am extra paranoid with all my dog’s toys, this would not be very fun to go through.

  7. ryan_h says:

    man, I really hope that you can feel better, there is nothing worse than a tragedy like this.

    like was previously mentioned, why did the vet wait so long to do Xrays? I have a little boston terrier that ate an entire nylabone puppy bone he squirled away recently, and one night while taking a poo, I noticed that he wasnt able to finish – some of it had gotten caught up with some string and wouldnt come out, poor guy, it was hanging out of his butt! lucky for us, he passed it an hour later. this was saturday night, and we made a vet apointment for monday at 8am. our vet was going to take Xrays right away, if it wasnt for the fact that he has been eating and drinking and had absoutly no irregular bowels all day sunday.

  8. EmilyK says:

    I had a similar situation with one of my dogs approximately two years ago, but he lived, no doubt due to very competent vets that were open over the Thanksgiving weekend. I want to point out to readers that the danger is not just in plastic toys. In my dog’s case, he managed to ingest a large portion of bone from a cooked marrow bone. The bone was indigestible and he had similar symptoms to the dog in the story above. The vet was able to resolve this over several days with IV fluids, enemas, and eventually using anesthesia and pressing on the abdomen. The next stop was surgery like the reader post.

    Please, don’t leave your dog unattended with toys or bones of any sort. Sharp bits or even too much matter can get stuck in their intestines. These situations can go from normal to really sick or dead so fast.

  9. iEddie says:

    Greenbrier makes shoddy products. And the only products I’ve bought from them are their binders. Just. Plain. Crap.

    I no longer shop at dollar stores.

  10. bradym80 says:

    I am happy to see that this story made it onto consumerist. I suggested to the poster of this article that she share her story with the world. After hearing what happened I feared for my own dog. Of all the toys I have bought for my dog, the majority of them fall apart easily, have suspicious paint on them and NO LABEL!

    Considering that there was almost no fall out regarding the chinese wheat gluten in pet food, I hope stories like this to raise awareness that pets are victims of poor business practices, just like humans.

    Does anyone else have a story similar to this?

  11. hobear23 says:

    I’m a vet tech, and I too was wondering why your vet did not take xrays?
    Never, ever, ever! give your dog something that falls apart in pieces. Go for toys like Kongs that are durable, or SUPERVISE them with less durable toys.
    My heart goes out to the OP, and I’m very sorry for your loss.

  12. morganlh85 says:

    That is so sad. As a pet parent myself I can totally empathize with the poster. I hope something is done about this soon.

  13. Mr. Gunn says:

    It’s not leanne’s fault her dog died, but it’s not really the company’s fault either, is it?

  14. cashmerewhore says:

    LeAnn — I’m sorry for your loss. I lost a kitty recently to stupid gift packing ribbon that he found around the house. My theory is (even though he eventually got the ribbon up) was that there was some tear somewhere in his lower digestive tract (intestines) and he developed sepsis. Our vet did exploratory surgery a week after he first came to them (I started at an emergency vet, and took him into my regular vet the very next day). He stopped breathing after the surgery.

    Unfortunately animals have a different gag reflex than we do, it may not have been your dog’s intention to eat the toy, but rather that it made it so far back in her mouth that muscle contractions sent it down and not back out.

    Because of my dog, no pet in my household can have unsupervised toys, my dog will eat cat toys….

  15. cashmerewhore says:

    @hobear23:

    I thought the same thing about the xrays. The toy is definitely solid enough that it would show up on film, especially if there was a blockage somewhere. I’m also concerned the vet didn’t insist she bring her in sooner than they did.

  16. shadowkin says:

    Just a note – Greenbrier International is just a manufacturining corp/company for Dollar Tree. It’s ‘Company Headquarters’ is listed as being at the same address as Dollar Tree’s HQ/Distribution center.

  17. bohemian says:

    I worked at a vet tech for about ten years. In reading the story all I could think of was what is up with this veterinarian!?!
    They should have been taking xrays at the first visit. They are not invasive or that expensive. If a dog is already vomiting up fresh and old blood (the brown stuff) it is clearly more than just some GI irritation.
    The fact that they waited an entire week to do exploratory is mindboggling. The suggestions of nutrition paste, or some rice and chicken sounded like they didn’t take it seriously. Xrays are usually used to rule out serious issues early on. I feel horrible for the person who had to go through all of this.
    As for the toys, there was a toy called “greenies” that did something similar. They broke off easily and were swallowed but could not be digested and caused the exact same kind of fatal obstructions.
    Greenies are back selling their fatal dog toys after taking them off the market for about 6 months. Our local grocery store put them on closeout sale after the recall was announced. Dog toys are buyer beware. I used to have a dog that would eat anything non-food. Kong toys have a good reputation, nylabones also do. Some of the better pet stores also carry other brands that have been designed to hold up or break down if swallowed. Those that do will have information on the packaging about why or how they are safe.

    I guess my $.02 if you get a new dog, buy some well known brands of toys and get a new vet.

  18. scoosdad says:

    LeAnn, I feel for you and your loss.

    One of my two dogs (he’s a lhasa apso/yorkie mix, about 12 lbs) ate something this spring that I had always thought was safe, and nearly died. He was chewing on one of those ‘sticks’ that are made of rawhide. They’re about the size of a fat pencil and are widely sold. He’d been chewing on those since he was a puppy, and at 8 years of age he’d loggged a lot of time chewing on them without incident.

    Apparently this time he managed to swallow a piece that was nearly intact and about a third of the length of the stick. In his stomach, the stick unwound (it’s made with narrow strips of rawhide that’s tightly wound like a barber pole, and then it’s baked and dried). When it was unwound, on the xray it looked like a flower that had opened up. And there it sat, obstructing his stomach and the entrance to his intestines. It got into his intestines before they could operate, and took nearly a week to slowly make its way through him. In the meantime he was very sick and vomiting and bleeding slightly internally. With a lot of help, he finally ‘passed’ the remainder of the rawhide, and it was still pretty huge. My vet watched him closely during the whole ordeal and was ready to go in and operate if necessary.

    Bottom line is, unless your dog is much much bigger than the rawhide he chews and you are absolutely sure that he can safely chew it up and pass it through him, that even something as widely marketed as being a safe chew can kill. If you’re not sure, take the rawhide your dog chews and put it in a bowl of water overnight to see how much it expands. My vet was astonished to see how huge it got when exposed to a little moisture.

  19. Copper says:

    I’m so sorry to hear what happened, it’s always awful to lose a pet. I hope something good comes out of your story, whether it’s just knowing that other pet owners will be more careful.

    My dog chews up everything. We’ve bought him a lot of soft toys with squeakers because he loves them so much (the squeaker boggles his mind), but when he starts to rip them up, we take them away. We gave him an old baseball hat and he’s just about torn that up. He’s not that big on Kong toys or any kind of rubber…he likes soft so we’ll just have to keep watching him close. It’s necessary anyway because he’s such a stinker…tries to steal anything and everything he can reach that looks like fun, including ketchup packets.

  20. Catperson says:

    LeAnn, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I know how hard it is to lose a pet – I lost a cat this summer. I’m not sure if you want to hear this right now, but I agree with other posters and think you should consider finding another vet if you decide to get another dog. I can’t understand why the vet told you to do some of the things they did.

  21. kittenfoo says:

    What a sad story. Now I’m second guessing the times I bought those rawhide sticks, and other toys I got for my dogs. One of my dogs has a small stuffed animal. He carries it around, but doesn’t try to chew it up or tear it apart. Does anyone know if this is safe? Losing a pet is so, so hard, particularly because of something like this. I’m so sorry, LeAnn.

  22. sauceistheboss says:

    I never trusted those dollar store dog items.

  23. Womblebug says:

    @kittenfoo: The stuffed animal should be okay, IF you keep a close eye on it and take it away if it gets shredded. If it has small plastic parts (eyes, nose) they are not safe as they can easily be chewed off. Common sense, really; if he’s not destroying it, he should be fine.

    Thin vinyl toys, rawhide, rope toys, stuffed animal toys, toys with squeakers, all of these can cause GI problems if swallowed. If your dog is an active chewer, the Kong toys are excellent (especially filled with a little peanut butter or squeez cheese). With ANY dog toy, if your dog can bite pieces off it, take it away. I had a foster dog swallow a stuffed animal skin whole – I had to chase him around and dose him with ipecac until it came back.

    And yeah, this vet is incompetent. I don’t know if you’d have any kind of a civil case against him; that kind of thing is hard to prove in court. My rott once exhibited similar symptoms – vomiting, lethargy. I took her to the emergency vet, where she started vomiting blood. Instead of paying the emergency vet fees, we drove three hours in the middle of the night to take her to the closest university vet clinic. She fortunately was fine, but there is no way in hell I’d allow a vet to tell me to try to feed a dog with those symptoms.

    I am so, so sorry for your loss. =/

  24. Tough lesson learned at the cost of a loved family member. Even when I goto PETSMART/PETCO etc these days I try to scan the source of the toys and chews I buy. The poison train from China doesn’t just whack kids, it gets our pets too.

  25. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    I’m sorry for your loss as well :(

    I don’t trust dollar store pet supplies because you have no idea whether any of these things have been tested or where in China the toys come from. At least if it’s a major US distributor, they have something at stake if something turns out to be dangerous..but the dollar stores..who knows where things come from and whether or not they’ve been safety tested.

    I’m also wondering too what the heck was up with your vet? If sharp pieces of toy obviously passed through the lower GI tract and your dog was still obviously in pain, I would say he should have taken X-rays as well.

  26. funkadelica says:

    That really is a sad and tragic story. Not so much because of LeAnn’s loss, but because of the ignorant people who were responsible for taking care of this poor animal. Rather than lamenting and wailing about how the toy killed the dog, let’s place the blame where it really lies and point to the owner who didn’t care that her dog was shredding these toys, and the vet who apparently knows less than your average couch potato who watches ER.

    In addition to warning against cheap plastic toys, perhaps one should also be warning about negligent medical “professionals” whose advise sounds (even to the untrained ear) like HORSE SHIT.

    How very, very sad.

  27. maztec says:

    I feel sorry for you. However, a little common sense goes a long ways. Sanitizing our society of all the “fears” has really removed all the common sense that used to be, well, common.

  28. overbysara says:

    @SOhp101: yeah…

    and…
    this is a TOTALLY sad story and I’m so sorry this happened.

    but… While this paper did have a warning about supervising your dog while it plays with any toy, this warning was not provided to me…

    I dunno… how about a judgement call? this is why they put crazy labels on certain things. like “do not eat” on a shampoo bottle or something. so people can’t say, “but you didn’t tell me not to eat it! how would I have known!”

  29. MystiMel says:

    @Rachacha: …. What if you give your kid dog toys? ;)

  30. yahonza says:

    Very sad. I have a dog myself, and I feel awful when I hear stories like that.

    In response to some comments here, I have bought supposedly high quality toys from PetSmart that didn’t last five minutes.

    Also, its damn near impossible to stop your dog from ingesting harmful things, especially when they are young. I am always amazed (and disgusted) at the things that pass through my dog’s digestive tract. Just taking the dog for a walk, she will scarf up twigs or anything els that she has a mind to.

  31. Buckler says:

    According to Dollar Tree’s website, this is the person responsible for the “pet products” division, should you choose to contact them:

    Mark Russell
    General Merchandise Manager
    mrussell@dollartree.com

    Hope this helps.

  32. I am not a vet, and I am the proudly owned by 6+ cats and one tenacious Australian Shepard.

    I say that, because I know I will get some flack for this comment.

    OK, I don’t know if everything you stated in your post was the actual things that happened and also terminology. The Dr. said that the tissue was necrotic, and just sutured? Necrotic tissue will lead to sepsis, which poisons anything from the inside. I’m not sure if the toy was toxic, or if it was from this necrotic tissue pumping toxins into an already weak system. Since you had gotten three other toys, I think the toxicity would have shown up sooner. I live on a horse farm, and have learned that finding one vet to argue against another in court is a tough thing indeed. I don’t think there is much recourse in that way.

    Now I don’t know if you have ever bought any other toys for your dog. I’m wagering a guess that you have seen at least some warning on some product that says to monitor the dogs play. Even Kongs(which they use at the nearby Six Flags:GA with the tigers they have on display) have warnings on the despite their very durable nature. I’m not sure if the company, or even the toy is really at fault for the tragedy that happened. I had my dog get into a package of light bulbs and literally chew 7+ of them until the ground was just covered in fingernail sized bits of glass. I found no marks on him, but did find one bit of glass with a speck of blood on it. While he came out ok, I wouldn’t expect GE to be responsible for any injuries, or for them to pull the item off the shelfs. It was my own fault for putting these items in his path, and I have made sure since then that anything he shreds or chews gets promptly thrown out. The only toy I ever leave him alone with is a Kong filled with treats, because he stopped trying to bite through them right away, and instead licks them clean.

    So, yes, I extend my apoligies for your loss. I don’t think you were the cause of your dogs early death. Take solace in the fact that you tried to get help for him after he became ill, and did everything YOU could. From what you have written, I believe the vet could have shown more diligence. I hope you are again blessed with the companionship of another animal in your life. Just remember one thing. Nothing is completely indestructible. Like kids, you need to monitor and inspect toys for any damage. And also like kids, you have to watch them because anything could end up in their mouths.

  33. mthrndr says:

    This is sad, but GITEMSTEVEDAVE is right. Why, why, WHY would you give your dog a hard plastic toy with no label? This is indigestable and will destroy its intestinal tract, as you saw. I’m actually surprised the toy did have a warning originally. If you’re shopping at the dollar store, don’t expect safe, quality items.

  34. nardo218 says:

    How awful. I’m sometimes a little loose with the rule about never letting a dog play with a broken toy (but he loves it so much!) but I won’t be ever again.

  35. TangDrinker says:

    I’m so sorry about this. We had a similar issue with our dog when she was 5 months old – and it was a piece of greenie. Nothing showed up on the Xray, but the exploratory surgery found the culprit. After that incident, the only chewie we gave her was frozen, whole, beef soup bones (that and home made stuffed animals).

    I hope all pet owners can learn from your tragic experience and I hope you’re able to find peace in Catfish’s memory.

  36. LAGirl says:

    so, so sad. as i pet owner, i really feel for you and i’m so sorry for your loss. but…

    i don’t understand why the vet didn’t instruct you to IMMEDIATELY take the dog to an emergency clinic? i think the vet was negligent in not ordering xrays and/or surgery right away.

    when my dog was a few months old, she suddenly started vomiting and refused to eat. i called the vet and they said to take her to the animal hospital asap. the hospital did x-rays immediately and found some sort of blockage. they weren’t sure what it was, but they kept her overnight and tried to flush it out by giving her lots of fluids. they said if this didn’t work, they would have to open her up + remove it. luckily, whatever it was passed and she was fine.

  37. Bast says:

    As a pet owner, I would have been immediately concerned that my vet didn’t want me to bring my animal in to be examined. I believe I would have taken my dog to someone else, someone who was willing to look at my pet in person. You can’t diagnose things over the phone, I don’t think. Not really.

  38. synergy says:

    It’s sad the dog died, but I agree with the handful other people willing to say it: when it fell apart into ingestible pieces why did this person buy it again and again? I’m sorry, but fool me once shame on you, fool me twice… fool me three times?!

  39. Antediluvian says:

    I think another valuable lesson here is that Dollar Stores are filled with CRAP.

    Sometimes that crap is DANGEROUS.

    Hindsight, especially around the death of a beloved pet, is crystal clear. The story by the OP suggests the danger was not so obvious at the time.

    Our cats love those little powder puff crinkly metallic toys (1″-2″ in diameter, soft puffballs), but a friend’s cat’s intestinal tract was blocked by one. After surgery to remove it, he’s fine, but it was scary, and all those items are gone from his house. But it’s not an item you’d associate with problems, and they’re sold in Petco, Petsmart, etc.

    Warning labels or not, the other lesson for us to take away here is be careful with your pets’ toys.

    I’m gonna go hug my cats now.

  40. Antediluvian says:

    Also, learn the emergency / after-hours animal hospitals in the area. We’re fortunate here in Boston to have Angell Memorial Hospital, run by the MSPCA. Our local vet directs us to someone else a few towns over, but Angell is nice to have as an option.

  41. RISwampyankee says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. There is nothing sadder than burying a pet who has died before his/her time. Folks here are quick to condemn the Dollar Tree–and they’re right to a point–but let’s not forget that the toxic Chinese wheat gluten was found in both budget and high-end pet foods. The lesson we can all take away from this and other pet poisonings is that we pet owners are on our own. We have to assume that the products we buy may very well be toxic to our animal companions.

    On second thought, maybe we should extend that assumption to everything we humans consume.

  42. It’s a digestive TRACT, not a digestive “track.”

  43. SoCalGNX says:

    Sorry about your pet loss. I would not feed my kids anything from the dollar store so the same could be said of my pets.
    I have a dobie that could kill any toy I got him until we discovered the kong type of toys. Since then, we have a boston terrorist who can even destroy those. So its now dog cookies only.

  44. ConRoo says:

    I truly feel for you having gone through such a painful loss. I have always had big dogs who could eat anything and remain unscathed until adopting a toy poodle named “Bear”. I want you to know how your story has made me think about one one the toys she likes to gnaw on. It is a yellow whiffle ball from a toy set I bought at WalMart. “Bear” likes to chew that thing to pieces. Because of your story I have thrown that toy away. You have most likely saved her from possible death. Thank you, and may God bless the life of “Catfish.”

  45. ConRoo says:

    @segfault: Oh, how insensitive, The spelling police felt compelled to comment on a spelling error in this heart-wrenching story.

  46. ChiefFamilyOfficer says:

    This is so sad. And precisely why I would never give my children toys from the dollar store (we have no pets … yet). You have to assume the worst about what you’re getting.

  47. cryrevolution says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. I have a 2yr old pug named Beetlejuice & I have to admit, I’ve bought him a stuffed toy from the Dollar Store. We also buy him PetSmart toys and Petco toys. I don’t buy him anything hard, as Pug jaws tend to be abnormally strong and can chew through just about anything. He would easily demolish a hard toy in a day. As soon as the stuffed toy starts to tear, its time for the trash. I can understand how you didn’t see this coming-Catfish had been chewed these toys before. All I can say in return is to constantly supervise your pets & what they play with. Not only watch your pet, but also examine the toy on a regular basis, making sure no small pieces are coming off. Everything my Beetle chews has to be soft, and has no small pieces. Again, sorry for your loss. BTW, Catfish is an awesome name for a dog. Just had to add that in there.

  48. cryrevolution says:

    @cryrevolution: *had chewed, not had been chewed.

  49. Bodgy says:

    I have sympathy over the loss of your pet however you are not entirely without blame. The dog kept destroying the item and you kept buying it. Not exactly a good dog owner. If you get another pet, and you should not given this situation, find a competent vet.

  50. Klink says:

    @Hossofcourse: Yeah, because plastic TOTALLY shows up an X-Rays.

  51. @Klink: Actually, I think plastic would show up on an xray. It might not be distinct, but I’m sure it would show up on the xray as an area of higher mass. I don’t know if there are any nuke techs out there who could back me up, but I’d welcome the correct info.

  52. sophistiKate says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: I went to radiography (x-ray tech) school. I didn’t finish the program, but I was attentive while there, and I’m pretty sure plastic can show up in an x-ray. It depends on where in the body it is (whether concealed by bone, mainly) and how much radiation is used. For example, an x-ray of a human abdomen uses much less radiation than a human chest, so less radiopaque things (like plastic or normally more often of interest in abdominal x-rays organs) would show up better than more radiopaque things (like bone).

    I found this image of an abdominal x-ray showing plastic. You can see that it is faint but visible:
    [www.biomedcentral.com]

  53. paco says:

    Sorry for your loss.

    I worry about a related problem with my border collie–except it isn’t with dog toys. He won’t touch pet toys, but my daughter’s Polly Pockets, Barbies, and so forth are of great interest to him.

    Good luck.

  54. stephenjames716 says:

    sorry for your loss.

  55. KJones says:

    I don’t want to be callous, but why would anyone buy a chew toy for a dog that was not leather or some sort of hide? It’s much more durable and if the dog’s teeth did chew off pieces, they won’t be lethal. Leather also has a “flavour” that many dogs seem to like.

    It’s too late for the unfortunate pet owner, but that would be my advice to other owners (unless leather isn’t safe…).

  56. meeroom says:

    I also don’t want to sound mean, because I know how hard it is to lose a pet, but the responsibility for Catfish’s death seems to lie squarely on the owner’s shoulders. If Catfish had chewed up bits of plastic previously, why on earth would you buy the dog another one? I had a cat I loved dearly. I let her out, she got hit by a car. I’m not blaming the driver, the maker of the car, or the town for having roads, it was my fault. Accept some personal responsibility for this and learn from your mistakes.

  57. UpsetPanda says:

    @KJones: Do tennis balls count? I know a lot of pet owners buy their dogs extra large ‘doggie’ tennis balls.

    I’m terribly sorry for your loss, and I love that your dog’s name was Catfish. Vet screwed up, you should take that up with whoever can deal with that properly. Certification board, perhaps?

  58. @KJones: You have to be careful with leathers and hides due to processing procedures in different countries. Some still use poisonous chemicals, and this can stay on to the final product. What you let you pet play with should be based mostly on how they treat each toy. Some dogs will not chew a certain toy, but will chew others. I have many toys that I will let my dog play with when I am watching him/around, like his firehose squeaky, and his rope bone. But I always inspect them, and never let him play unattended. The only item I will leave him with unattended is his Kong, which is filled w/peanut butter, and he will lick the peanut butter out for hours.

  59. lestat730 says:

    Having a dog of my own who means the world to me, I really sympathize with LeAnn. Reading this story makes me really sad, Losing a loved pet is never easy and my heart goes out to you. I think it would be a good idea to pursue this in whatever way you can in an effort to prevent others from experiencing the same thing. Sometimes all we can do is try to find some good within the bad..

  60. Catperson says:

    I just have to chime in again because I am saddened and angered by some of the posts here suggesting that this is LeAnn’s fault. We all do the best we can with the information we have at the time. Before any signs of Catfish’s illness showed up, it sounds like LeAnn found bits of the toy around the house – enough to make her think that the dog was tearing the toy apart but not ingesting pieces. It sounds like she just wanted to keep giving her dog a toy she enjoyed. Furthermore, it’s not her fault for simply following her vet’s directions. The manufacturer of the toy should not be making a chew toy out of material that is so prone to splintering with the potential to do internal damage to an animal, and the vet should be able to give credible advice to trusting pet owners who call in with problems. Anyone on this board who suggests otherwise is not only wrong, but also cruel and inconsiderate.

  61. Observer2121 says:

    I’m sorry but this is most definately LeAnns fault. I would never buy a plastic toy for my dog once I saw that it had torn the first one to pieces. Any dog owner knows that dogs will swallor anything given the chance. I’m sorry for her grief but the one who should pay is her.

    A dog is similar to a baby, if you saw your child tearing its toy into bite size pieces would you go out and buy another one? I am sick of irresponsible owners trying to blame everyone but themselves for their own stupidity. The first clue should have been that she is buying her beloved pet a toy from Dollar Store, that’s the same type of store that sold humans poisonous toothpaste. She even said when she purchased the first Boomerang it had no label, would you buy canned food with no label? People claim to love their dogs so much and think of them as part of the family but then buy them cheap toys from a dollar store with no label. You get what you pay for.

    And since when is a Boomerang an appropriate toy for a dog? Give it a raw hide bone or a ball or something, what the hell would it do with a Bommerang other that chew it up and swallow it?

    It’s your fault LeAnn, take responsibility!!

  62. StormyBkln says:

    I hate to sound paranoid, but NEVER give your dogs rawhide to play with. They can chew off pieces of the toy, and it can cause a blockage. It’s scary what people think they can give their dogs, but really shouldn’t. You really shouldn’t let your dogs play with tennis balls, since they can wear down their teeth. Plastic toys are bad too, since they can break and the dogs can swallow them.
    Best bet, get a Kong or similar toy. Take the toys away from your dog when you’re not watching them. Trust me, take the toys away during the day while you’re at work, and more likely than not your dog is going to plop down on the couch and sleep. Also, keep an eye on the toys. If they’re starting to look in poor shape, get rid of them. Sharp pieces? Broken pieces? Frayed? Time for a new toy. You wouldn’t be cheap with a toy for your child, don’t be cheap with a toy for your pet (same goes for cat toys).
    Also, home remedy for wood/glass/bone splinters:
    Bread, or even better, cotton, soaked in gravy or water. The bread or cotton will catch all the pieces too small to appear on an xray, and it makes it easier to pass without tearing up the lining of the intestines. I prefer bread, since I am afraid cotton will cause a blockage. I know this, because my dogs will eat ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.

  63. MsCaliLady says:

    LET THE BUYER BEWARE in today’s world. I feel for all of you who have bought dog items only to have your pet feel pain and not pleasure from his/her new toy. Be very wary of Dollar stores. Most of the items are imported from China. I bought a glue gun for small project use. My grandson had just finished with it, when I picked it up. As I squeezed the trigger, the entire gun shorted out and shot sparks at my face…smoke billowed. I was so thankful that I held the glue gun at the moment. I raced down to the Dollar Store and told the manager. He offered a replacement glue gun! You get what you pay for when it comes to quality, which is fine. But you shouldn’t have to bargain for the safety of your family and pets.

  64. stephdjames says:

    I am glad that I read this article, I just got a puppy less than a week ago. I have never owned a dog. He was very playful the first couple of days. My son bought him some toys from the dollar tree, which also included the round disc thing. My dog started to act funny yesterday, very lethargic and wouldn’t eat or drink. I took him to the vet right away. Three vets later he is now having surgery to remove toy particles. I have learned an important lesson about dog toys and will monitor them more closely now. I am just sorry my puppy had to go through this. I am sorry to hear for your loss.