Plastic Ingestion in a Dog: Grocery Bag Is Not An Open Buffet—What Was In JD's Vomit

Would you think there was a benefit to examining your dog’s vomit?

While I agree that the gross factor is high, yes, I always examine my dog’s vomit. It can go a long way in helping me figure out why they threw up.

Plastic Ingestion in a Dog: Grocery Bag Is Not An Open Buffet—What Was In JD's Vomit
Me? I know nothing about that.

JD’s story

At about five in the morning, I was woken up by hubby rushing JD to the yard. When I asked what was happening, I was told that JD was trying to throw up.

As a good dog mom, after JD came back in, I went into the yard to look for and examine the puke.

I was looking for chunks of wood because that’s what I’d typically find under circumstances such as these. There were none.

Chicken that is not a chicken

There was nothing overly suspicious, other than what at first appeared to be undigested strips of chicken meat. At least that’s what it kind of looked and felt like. When I tried to pull them apart, though, they wouldn’t, which didn’t make any sense. I bagged the puke and went back inside, reporting my strange findings.

Hubby comes clean

“I think I know what it is,” said hubby sheepishly.

“Huh? What do you think it is?” I asked.
“I think those are pieces of plastic,” hubby replied.

That would explain why it was so strong that it couldn’t be pulled apart. It would not explain when and where JD got the opportunity to munch on any. When I asked, hubby was reluctant to tell me. Eventually, he came clean.

Self-served

JD ate a package of beef kidney on the way from the store. 

Including the plastic it was wrapped in. At least he left the tray and the sheet they put at the bottom.

“Wait a minute, you brought home the organ meats two days ago,” I turned to hubby.
“Yeah. I figured I’d rather not tell you not to worry you.”

Well, that was potentially thoughtful, because I do worry about things a lot. Or hubby just didn’t want the guys to get in trouble with mom.

No harm done?

Later that morning JD ate his breakfast and overall seemed fine.

The whole gang left to spend another day at the horse farm. As I was left alone in the house, I got thinking and went to look for poop. I was so focused on the vomit earlier, it didn’t occur to me but now it did. There was no morning poop in the yard.

That was slightly suspicious.

JD is quite a pooping machine and poops every morning. However, I decided not to panic just yet.

Unfortunately, when they are at the farm, it is quite hard to keep track of the dogs’ elimination. Sometimes they do it during the morning walk, but sometimes they don’t. Hubby didn’t see JD poop during the day, which didn’t really give much information to go on. I was hoping in the evening we’ll see some poop.

But we didn’t.

None in the evening and none before bed. Now I was getting nervous. Did some of the plastic make it through and caused a blockage? How much did he actually eat and how much came out the front end?

How much plastic remained in the system?

It was time to dissect the vomit.

I started pulling out the strips of plastic and washing them. It looked like hardly any. When I started straightening the little pieces out, though, it turned out being quite a bit. That was hopeful. How much plastic was on the package and how does it compare with what we got?

So we unwrapped a different kidney, laid the saran wrap out and started matching our pieces. It was quite a bit but it seemed there was still enough missing.

How much does the saran wrap shrink exposed to stomach juices for two days?

The texture was harder and seemed thicker. But could we rule out a good amount of it missing conclusively? And why still no poop? Could it be he had diarrhea during the day and there is nothing left to come out? Or is there something stuck?

I decided to put JD on a fast, in case he did need some further diagnostics or intervention the next day.

Plastic can do some pretty nasty things.

All is well

Finally, in the morning, JD pooped and it was normal and healthy.

Next time, man, if you’re gonna steal food, at least take it out of the package first!

Related articles:
Why Examine Your Dog’s Vomit?
What’s In the Vomit? 

Further reading:
Different Types of Dog Vomit, and What They Indicate

Categories: ConditionsForeign bodiesReal-life StoriesSymptomsVomiting

Tags: :

Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

Share your thoughts