Dogs love to explore the world and play with anything they find interesting, including feathers! When it comes to eating and swallowing feathers, is there a problem? Let’s take a look.
Why Do Dogs Eat Feathers?
Dogs may choose to eat feathers for various reasons; it’s sometimes difficult to understand from a pet parent’s perspective. Some dogs may like the smell of the feather if it came from a dead bird. Other dogs may like the feel of feathers in their mouths. Why? Who knows for sure!
Can Swallowing Feathers Hurt my Dog?
Most of the time, swallowing a small feather or two (or may be 3-5) won’t cause a problem. This could be down feathers from a blanket or pillow, for instance. Even a larger feather should pass through your pup’s digestive system without any problem. However, if the feather has a long, sharp shaft (such as a goose feather), then this could cause a problem for your canine companion. The shaft of the feather is brittle, and if chewed, can splinter and become lodged in your fur baby’s throat. Or larger sharp pieces could become lodged in the intestines.
Most of the time the feather will pass on through your dog’s digestive system. You may notice feather pieces in your fur baby’s poop. Some dogs may vomit up the remnants of the feather.
My Dog Ate a Feather—What Now?
If you saw your dog eat a feather, and he’s not choking or vomiting, then he’s probably OK. On the other hand, if he is choking, then you may need to call the vet and take your dog to the clinic immediately. However, if the feather seems to have gone through with no problem, then watch your fur baby’s poop for the next 1-3 days and see if the feather’s passed or not. Watch for lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or drooling. Some dogs may also cough or have pain when drinking water. These are signs the feather could be lodged in your fur baby’s intestines, or it could have become lodged in this throat and he can’t get it out.
If you notice these symptoms, call the vet as soon as possible and ask for their advice on how to handle the situation. They may want you to bring your dog in for an exam, to see if the feather’s causing a blocking in the intestines or is stuck in your pup’s throat. Treatment will depend on what the vet finds during the exam and lab tests and/or imaging such as x-rays. He may induce vomiting if the feather looks like it is still in your canine companion’s stomach. If the feather is causing a blockage, then your fur baby may require surgery.
We hope this guide helps you know what to do in case your fur baby eats a feather!