Help! My Dog Ate a Sock. What Should I Do?

You can’t help loving dogs; they are happy creatures full of energy and curiosity. With it comes a tendency to eat things they should not, such as socks. You get home after a long day and take off your socks; before you put them in the laundry bin, you cannot find one of them, only to see your dog trying to swallow something.

Sometimes they dig the sock out of the laundry bin and swallow it just for fun. What is the best course of action when your pup eats a sock? Is it dangerous for them? Will they need medical intervention? Let’s find out.

Is It Dangerous for Dogs to Eat Socks?

Your furry friend should not eat socks; they are not digestible and can cause stomach issues. In some circumstances, however, your dog eating a sock may turn out to be nothing but a funny story to tell one day. This mostly happens when the sock is small.

The following can occur after a dog eats a sock:


The foreign object can get stuck at some point, stopping it from moving towards the gut. This causes a bowel obstruction or blockage that can be life-threatening. One way the blockage can affect your pup is by causing severe diarrhea and vomiting.

Continually vomiting or passing diarrhea will quickly dehydrate your dog, and because there is an obstruction, they will be unable to drink water to compensate for the loss. The bowel obstruction can also damage the gut, causing insufficient blood supply, tearing, or in some cases, fatal infection.

Pass It Through Vomiting or as Stool

One of two things will happen when your fur baby eats a sock; they will either throw it up or pass it. Socks and other indigestible items are referred to as foreign objects. These objects can cause pain when traveling through the stomach. They irritate the stomach lining, which can result in nausea, vomiting, retching, and loss of appetite.

Your pup can show these signs within 24 hours of swallowing the foreign object, although it might take longer, up to 5 days in some cases.

If they pass the sock naturally through stool, they will still be in severe pain. The sock will irritate the intestine’s lining as it passes through, causing diarrhea and pain as it passes through the gut.

The chances of your dog passing the foreign object as stool or vomit are slim. It largely depends on the dog size; larger dogs have a better chance to pass the sock than smaller dogs. It is also easier for smaller objects to be ejected than larger ones.

How to Tell If a Dog Ate a Foreign Object

If you were not around when your dog ate the sock, it might be hard for you to determine when they ate it. The best way to determine the size of the sock or if it was eaten is by observing their reaction. If they show signs of stomach upset, your vet might recommend an X-ray.

It will show any suspicious gut patterns that might point to a blockage. It can also show the sock itself, making it easy to determine the size. The downside to using the x-ray is that not all objects will show up, making it hard for the vet to interpret the reading correctly.

What to Do After Your Dog Eats a Sock

It is easy to panic when observing the consequences of your dog eating a sock, but you should keep cool. Assessing the situation opens you up to ways you can help your dog.

Contact your vet as soon as possible to get the best advice; the earlier you enlist their help, the less painful the consequences for your fur baby.

You must follow these four easy steps once you notice your dog ate a sock.

1. Remove Similar Objects

Because dogs are not that great at thinking, they might also try to reach for the next sock to eat it, fast action is required to prevent this. Remove the sock or similar objects and put them out of their reach; if the place is too cluttered, lock your dog away until you have removed the objects.

If they already have another item in their mouth, use treats and a stern voice to coerce them into dropping it. Reward them for listening to you and check whether there is anything else in their mouth, such as stuck pieces of fabric.

2. Find Out More About the Sock

Try to find out the size of the sock eaten and when it occurred. Knowing this can help the vet find the best treatment option for dealing with the foreign object.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What kind of socks did they eat?
  • Was it one sock or several?
  • How long ago was the sock eaten, and how long was the dog left unattended?

Knowing the answers to these questions and more information regarding the incident improves your pup’s chances of getting the sock out in the best way possible.

3. Inform Your Vet

Alert your vet as soon as possible about the incident, even before you know everything about it. This gets the vet in from the beginning, and they will help you find the best way to navigate the situation. Early involvement ensures your dog gets the best outcome.

Be prepared to answer more questions regarding the incident, such as your pooch’s current behavior and questions regarding anything they had eaten before or after eating the sock.

4. Follow Their Advice

You might be tempted to forcefully pull the sock from your dog’s throat, especially if you can see bits of fabric at the back of the throat. You may also want to induce vomiting, but waiting for your vet’s advice is better.

They might tell you what to do over the phone, come to your house, or request you visit the clinic. You must follow their instructions before and after seeing them to the letter to ensure everything goes right.

Despite your best intentions, don’t try managing the situation alone. You will be putting your dog at more risk, which can result in an even worse outcome.

How to Make Your Dog Vomit the Sock

If your dog ate the sock within the past 4 hours, your vet could give them an injection to induce vomiting. The injection is quite strong and will force the sock out. Doing this early on prevents any irritation in the digestive tract.

You mustn’t try doing this at home unless your vet clears you. Most home remedies are not reliable and are extremely dangerous. A poorly executed home remedy can result in more harm than the sock ingestion itself.

What If They Don’t Vomit?

Sometimes, it can be hard to force the sock out through vomiting, especially if it was eaten more than 4 hours ago. If this is the case for you, your vet might recommend monitoring the situation for further developments.

They will make that decision after carefully assessing the situation and weighing the risks to ensure waiting will not cause more harm. They might recommend feeding your dog bulky and slimy food like pasta. The food will wrap itself around the foreign object and guide it safely through the digestive tract.

Your dog might pass the sock on their own, without any additional help, but that is not always the case. A large dog that ate a small sock has better chances of passing it on its own, but it is not guaranteed.

The vet might also suggest surgery to remove the sock if they conclude that the dog cannot pass it, especially for bigger foreign objects. It is the only way to unblock your pup’s intestines. The surgery will be done before blood supply is lost to the gut or the sock tears the intestines.

The vet will administer anesthesia before removing the sock to ensure your dog doesn’t harm itself during the surgery. They can also check the stomach for other foreign objects and any gut damage, removing part of the gut if there is too much damage.

Bottom Line

Your dog might eat a sock out of sheer curiosity. While it is stressful, you must keep calm and let your vet know about the incident. Follow their advice on handling the situation and let them in on essential details such as how long ago it occurred, the size of the sock eaten, and any symptoms you have observed.

With quick and expert action, your furry friend will make a full recovery within two weeks. If they required intensive surgery, the recovery period might be longer.

Some dogs are known to lose their lives from complications caused by bowel obstruction and damage to the gut. Therefore, fast action after the incident is necessary to prevent further damage. Follow your vet’s rules closely before and after treatment to improve your furry friend’s chances of survival.

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