Dogs Eat More Than Homework: Mishaps Often Behind Dog Illnesses


Sep 27, 2011, 09:00 ET from Kroger

CINCINNATI, Sept. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- After turning the house upside down in search of her diamond earrings, Deb and Merrell Wreden glanced down at their 2-year-old Jack Russell Terrier and wondered simultaneously the same cringe-inducing thought: "Could Lola have swallowed them?" After all, it wasn't the first time their otherwise lovable pooch had treated various household items as her own personal buffet.

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A quick trip to the vet confirmed their suspicions, and the dreaded waiting game was on.  Two days later, the earrings were back in place, albeit with a little less luster than before.

The Wredens – and Lola – were lucky. As thousands of pet owners find out each year, left to their own devices, many dogs will eat just about anything.

"Not a week goes by where I don't see at least one dog that has eaten something it shouldn't have," says Dr. Jennifer Coates, a Colorado-based veterinarian and author.  "Whether it's from eating people food, gobbling up something disgusting or dangerous on a walk, such as poisonous plants, or chewing on a household item, dogs can get quite sick, and the cost of treatment – sometimes including surgery – can quickly climb."

According to Dr. Coates, some of the more expensive digestive afflictions to treat, which are seen on a regular basis, are:

  • Pancreatitis. Dogs can get pancreatitis by eating inappropriate foods from the table – fat drippings from meat, chicken skin or other greasy, high-fat scraps are most commonly to blame. Symptoms can range from a tummy ache to vomiting and diarrhea, and severe cases can even be fatal.  Sometimes, pancreatitis develops when there is no identifiable cause. Cost of treatment: averages $535
  • Foreign bodies. Puppies, in particular, are apt to consume anything lying around the house – a tennis ball, a child's rubber duck, an empty plastic soda bottle, etc. It can happen to even the most responsible pet parents, and many times surgery is required to remove the item. Cost of treatment: surgery averages $1,800
  • Medications. Whether it is a medicine prescribed for Lassie – heartworm pills are tasty, and dogs will polish off the entire package when given the chance – or drugs meant for a human family member where Fido chewed through the bottle, overdoses require fast action and can mean several days of hospitalization.  Cost of treatment: averages $610
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Some dogs – both young and old – have persistent digestive problems without a history of eating what they shouldn't, and those diagnosed with IBD typically require lifelong treatment, including a special diet and medicines.  Cost of treatment: averages $540


Given how common digestive afflictions are in dogs, Dr. Coates recommends that owners consider pet insurance.

"Ideally, the focus should be on 'how do I get my dog better,' and not 'can we afford this treatment?'" Dr. Coates said. "Let's face it, our dogs are not perfect, which is often one of the things we love about them. When they have eaten something that is making them sick, pet owners with pet insurance are not going to feel the bite of a costly vet bill."

Pet insurance plans, such as those offered through KPF Insurance Services LLC, an affiliate of The Kroger Company, and underwritten by American Alternative Insurance Corporation, start at less than $10 per month and can provide pet owners with peace of mind when illness or injury occurs.  

About Kroger and Pet Insurance

One of the nation's most popular retailers of pet foods, pet medicines and other pet-related products, Kroger helps provide for the care of its customers' four-legged family members. KPF Insurance Services LLC, an affiliate of The Kroger Co., has partnered with PetFirst Healthcare to offer pet insurance underwritten by American Alternative Insurance Corporation.

More information is available at    

About Kroger

Kroger, the nation's largest traditional grocery retailer, employs more than 338,000 associates who serve customers in 2,439 supermarkets and multi- department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. The company also operates 788 convenience stores, 361 fine jewelry stores, 1,046 supermarket fuel centers and 40 food processing plants in the U.S. Kroger, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, focuses its charitable efforts on supporting hunger relief, health and wellness initiatives, and local organizations in the communities it serves. For more information about Kroger, please visit