If you had a dog long enough you know by now there is no limit to what a dog can eat, and for no apparent reason at all. Inedible items make no exception for dogs as long as it satisfies their chewing demands.
Maybe you come home and drop your things on the table for a minute and when you come back you find that your dog chewed up the wallet. The good news is that paper money won’t hurt your dog, but if your dog swallowed some coins you better call your veterinarian.
What should you do if your dog chewed your wallet?
First of all, consider how much of the wallet your dog ate and what was inside that was ingested by your pet. Dogs do not eat wallets because they want to, they usually chew part of it and may ingest something by mistake.
Paper money and cards don’t pose big risks, because your dog has most probably chewed them up well before eating them and these items are not toxic for your pooch. However, if you want peace of mind you should still call your vet for some advice.
If your dog ate zinc coins, they may need a check-up. Not only coins are more difficult to pass in the GI tract, but they can also be toxic for your dog. This situation can be considered an emergency because large ingestion of zinc can kill your dog.
Most dogs don’t reach these extremes and simply chew up a bit of leather from the wallet. Monitor your dog for unusual symptoms, but if they eat, drink and poop normally you can expect to see the remnants of their snack in the stools within the next few days.
Sometimes big chewers bring big troubles, like that Chow/Labrador mix that in 2011 swallowed ten 100$ bills from an envelope. When we’re talking about these numbers, owners want their money back on top of making sure their pooch is fine.
You can make a dog vomit the money by inducing vomiting through 3% hydrogen peroxide, however, it’s not recommended to do it at home because this compound could have bad side-effects on your dog’s GI tract and could also cause aspiration of the vomit.
If you absolutely need to get your money back, bring your dog to the veterinarian and let them handle the situation in a safe environment. Be aware that it’s unlikely the money will still be usable after they come out, but if they’re in decent conditions you could have them replaced.
What happens if a dog eats a wallet?
Most dogs don’t actually eat the wallet and often simply chew a small part of it, not enough to eat anything inside that could hurt them.
However, you should be on the lookout for symptoms of gastrointestinal blockage and zinc poisoning.
In a wallet, there are many things that could potentially lodge inside the stomach or intestines. Money, cards, pictures, coins, these are all things that in big amounts could cause troubles because they’re hard to pass.
Small dogs are at a disadvantage here because they just need a small amount of anything to experience a partial or complete blockage.
Keep an eye out for these common symptoms of gastrointestinal blockage in dogs:
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody stools
- Lack of appetite
If your dog chewed up money or any other thing that was in your wallet and is showing one or more of these symptoms, do not hesitate to bring them to the veterinarian or the nearest animal hospital.
Conditions that affect the GI tract should not be underestimated, because they can quickly turn for the worst and in rare cases may be lethal for your dog.
Coins poisoning is a real threat to your dog’s health. There have been cases of small dogs that died after eating just one penny. Luckily, there are also happy ending stories, like the Jack Russel that in March 2013 swallowed 111 coins and survived after surgery to remove the money.
The compound of pennies breaks down because of the stomach acids and releases zinc in the body due to the low pH of the stomach. Zinc is then transported to the main organs like the liver, kidneys, pancreas, and even the bones, taking the form of caustic zinc salts.
These salts can be irritating at best, and at worst they are corrosive to the tissues and the muscles. The gravity of the situation depends on different factors, such as:
- The number of coins ingested;
- Whether the stomach was empty or not;
- How long the coins remained in the stomach.
The last point is particularly important and is the reason why if your dog ate money you should bring them to the veterinarian without waiting for symptoms to show up.
Severe cases of zinc poisoning may provoke seizures, kidney failure, liver failure, and heart failure.
Recovery is possible if your dog was treated in time and the coins removed from the body as soon as possible. Within two hours from the accident, your veterinarian can simply induce vomiting and have your dog expel all the coins through the esophagus.
If more than two hours have already passed, the coins will need to be removed manually. However, before they can proceed with surgery, your dog will need to be hospitalized and stabilized with any means necessary.
These may include blood transfusion, IV fluids, and even oxygen aid if your dog has trouble breathing.
After your pet has been stabilized, the vet will proceed with surgery. Depending on the health status of your dog, the reaction to the surgery, and many other factors, the hospitalization may be extensive.
Dogs that have ingested small amounts of coins should recover quickly. However, in the case or large ingestions, a dog may have long-term effects like anemia, pancreatitis, and kidney or liver conditions.
How to stop a dog from chewing?
You cannot stop a dog from chewing, but you can redirect that energy and teach them what they’re allowed to chew on and whatnot.
All dogs are chewers, some more, some less. There are several reasons why dogs love chewing stuff so much:
- They use their mouth and nose to explore the world around them;
- It’s an enjoyable and pleasant pastime when they’re bored or anxious;
- It’s useful to keep teeth and gums healthy;
- They can strengthen their jaws by chewing on hard things.
Chewing is a natural part of your dog’s life, but when it turns into an unhealthy habit can become very expensive for you and very dangerous for your pet. In fact, some dogs may end up chewing on dangerous stuff like wires or poisonous plants.
Many dogs start having destructive behaviors because they feel bored, neglected, or anxious. This is usually due to separation anxiety, in fact, it is more common in dogs that are left alone for most of the day.
All you need to stop your dog from chewing is a little patience and some time to dedicate to your pooch every day. In the end, when you adopted your dog you wanted to make them your life companion, so it should be fair to do this much.
There are hundreds of dog chews on the market, but it’s not enough to fill the house with dog toys. You need to teach your dog how to play with them.
If you dedicate a few minutes every day to play with your dog and their toys, soon enough your dog will learn how to play with them even when you’re not home.
Every time you catch your dog eating something they shouldn’t, scare them with a loud sound and immediately provide a toy in replacement. Of course, if you notice your dog’s obsession for particular items, remove them from sight so your dog has no choice but to divert their attention.
Your dog doesn’t need many toys, they need the right toys for them. This may take a bit of time, money, trials, and errors, but when you find that handful of toys your dog prefers, simply rotate them so your dog doesn’t get tired of them.
A tired dog is a quiet dog. Your dog may have unhealthy chewing habits because they’re bored out of their mind.
Make sure they have more to do. Go on long walks in the morning, make them run a little, or ask someone to keep company to your dog while you’re away. You could hire a dog-sitter for a small walk during the day, for example.
Redirecting their energy will do wonders for their chewing habits, but will also help you keep your dog healthy for a long time.
When all else fails and it seems that your dog is a lost cause, you can ask a professional for help.
First of all, you should bring your dog to the veterinarian to see if their unhealthy chewing habits have other underlying causes, like pica.
If your dog is simply a rascal, there are professional animal trainers who help educate dogs to redirect their energies and correct their destructive behavior.
It may not come cheap, but think of all the money you’re saving by not allowing your dog to destroy your house!
Can you get your money back?
Good news: you can actually have your money replaced if you retrieve the originals!
The United States Treasury Department handles more than 30,000 requests per year related to damaged money and every year they spend more than 30 million dollars to replace them.
Luckily, paper money doesn’t get digested by dogs so it comes out as it is, if only much dirtier.
If you are brave enough to wear a pair of gloves and scavenge through your dog’s poop to retrieve what’s left of your money, you can clean them up at the best of your ability and send them to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, along with a letter where you explain your unfortunate accident.
Just like that, your chewed up money will be replaced with new ones that you could use on a new wallet, for example.