When we got a new puppy about six weeks ago, we heeded the new puppy recommendations very carefully for several weeks. Bingo was a real spitfire, playing with our older dog, Molly. We found out very quickly that Bingo followed Molly’s lead most of the time and she was doing much of his training. This turned out to be a beautiful thing because Molly was a ‘perfect’ dog in the house. Potty trained, obeyed her commands …. and NEVER chewed on anything but her toys.
As the weeks passed, we got less and less strict about watching Bingo every second of the day. He potty trained quickly and for the most part chewed on toys …. however, his favorite non-toy item was cardboard boxes and paper towels, which didn’t really cause us very much alarm and mostly only made a mess.
Bingo and Molly love to play fight. Molly is only two years old and has plenty of puppy spunk in her still! When they fight, they make all kinds of crazy noises. But last week when they were wrestling, two rooms away from me, I heard a noise that sounded more like distress than play fighting. I yelled for them to settle down, and started my way into the family room. As I approached I started to rush when the sound of distress remained constant.
When I got there. Molly was spinning in circles, unable to control her bowel or bladder. When I got up close, I realized she had an electrical cord in her mouth, I tried to calm her and get her to let go of the cord, but her muscles were spasmed and tightly clamped on the cord. Thankfully I had a moment of clarity and pulled the cord out of the wall. Immediately the cord fell out and she ran to the
door. I let her outside and she ran around our large yard. She did about 50 laps in the few minutes we were outside. I sat on the ground waiting, for her to come to me. Bingo sat calmly next to me. I dare say, I think he was as frightened as I was. Finally she dashed past me and into the house. She was panting frantically and looked, well, strung out. She parked herself under my desk in my office and wouldn’t let me approach her.
I called the veterinarian’s office and while I was on hold she finally calmed a little and let me pet her, but wouldn’t let me near her mouth. When the veterinarian’s office finally got back on the line, they asked me a few questions and told me to bring her in immediately. Molly started to calm quite a bit.. .. and so did I. They took us in right away and the veterinarian tech started examining her. To be honest I felt ashamed and frightened. I told her – my dogs have NEVER chewed on an electrical cord before. The tech smiled and said, and “I bet she won’t ever do it again!” She put me at ease by sharing a story about her dog doing the same thing once after having owner the pup for 5 years.
When the veterinarian came in she checked all her vitals and although her heart beat was a tad high, her vitals were good. The veterinarian explained though, that they would need to check her potassium and electrolyte levels, because when dog is electrocuted, it can effect these components of the blood, and if it is skewed, can cause organ damage and even death. She said that even if the dog appears ‘fine’, their potassium and electrolytes can be off. If that was the case, they’d need to keep her overnight for continuous IV fluids. The good news was that it would be totally treatable.
It took three people to hold her down, but the veterinarian finally got a look at the inside of Molly’s mouth, and found a black mark across the bottom of her mouth, and some minor first degree burns on her lips.
After waiting [what felt like] forever, the veterinarian came back with the good news that her blood work looked good. But I had one more thing to watch for. An electrocution can cause fluid to build up in the lungs. She said if it was going to happen to her, it would happen in the next 24 hours. I needed to watch for labored breathing and if I heard it, bring her to an animal ER immediately.
I thanked he doctor effusively, and asked, “Do you see a lot of this around the holidays?” (Even though I hadn’t even started my holiday decorating yet!) She said, “Yes, we do see this quite a bit, but even more so, we see dogs and cats that have swallowed glass or hooks from ornaments.”
“I guess I’ll be doing wooden ornaments this year?”
“Hang them with ribbon,” she said, “we use ribbon in our house.”