I should have titled this post “How to make a pumpkin pie while trying to induce vomiting in a dog who has eaten Bad Things.”
It started the day before Thanksgiving when Phoenix did some un-authorized snacking in the field west of the house. By the time I realized what he was doing, he was happily chomping away at some unidentified substance.
One of Phoenix’s life rules is “Eat fast. If the human catches you eating something you think is Good but they think is Bad, eat faster.” He was eating like there was no tomorrow when I finally put a stop to his fun. I really couldn’t tell exactly WHAT he had been eating but thought it might be the mummified remains of a dead raccoon he had discovered earlier.
Phoenix has the constitution of a goat and didn’t seem any worse for the wear so I put him in his crate and went to work.
I took the afternoon off from work that day and went to train. We were about two blocks from the building when Phoenix threw up in his crate. His crate is directly behind the driver’s seat so this was the equivalent of throwing up on my shoulder. Fortunately, all emissions were contained to his crate but OH DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN THE STENCH WAS INCREDIBLE.
I hit all four power windows and wondered what the odds were that he could projectile vomit right out the window. He didn’t. He kept it neatly in his crate, thus keeping the stink inside the van.
Of course I was in the wrong lane, with no access to a handy parking lot and with heavy late afternoon traffic, a fast lane change was impossible. In the meantime, Phoenix had quit upchucking and was now happily recycling his yummy tossed cookies. The only good thing about this was that the stomach-clenching stink went away.
Two blocks later, I whipped into the building parking lot, parked, jumped out, threw open R2’s back door and yanked open Phoenix’s crate just in time to see him swallow and lick his lips. Every bit of the eye-watering, reeking toxic substance was gone.
No. Wait. There was a little chunk of something peeking out from under his crate pad. I grabbed it. It was small and white and hard and sort of . . . boney? Bone? Raccoon pieces? Well, whatever.
We had a really good training session and headed home. We were a couple of miles from our house when Phoenix vomited again. OH DEAR LORD IN HEAVEN IT WASN’T GETTING ANY BETTER SMELLING. True to form, he had it all cleaned up by the time I pulled into the garage, except, again, a little piece of white stuff . . . semi hard . . . not really bone . . . oh sh*t, it was a piece of corn cob.
Suddenly it was very clear what Phoenix had been eating that morning – manure that fell off of tractor tires coming out of the cattle yard. Manure that contained stuff that came out of cattle that ate silage. Silage is made from chopped up corn, the whole plant – kernel, leaves, stalks, cobs. My dog had a gut full of corn silage, deliciously side-dressed with steer poop.
In all my years with dogs, I’ve never had to deliberately make one vomit. They all seemed to do it just fine on their own, usually when I didn’t want them to. Now that I needed one of them to barf, I had no idea how to make it happen. I had a vague notion of doing something with hydrogen peroxide but wasn’t clear on details.
I called several friends and thankfully, Michele had nothing better to do the night before Thanksgiving than consult her reference book for inducing vomiting in dogs by using hydrogen peroxide. I dosed Phoenix with 1 tablespoon (he took it well, just looked annoyed) and set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes, since this seemed to be the timeframe for expected results.
Did I mention I had to make a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving at my mom’s the next day?
Tentatively, I got out all the pie-making stuff, keeping an eye on Phoenix. No way did I want anything coming out of him in the house.
I was half way through measuring the sugar when Phoenix gave me The Look. You know, THE LOOK.
I abandoned the sugar and sprinted to open doors, then followed him around the yard in the dark with a flashlight.
False alarm. He pooped. Sloppy, goopy poop that amazingly, matched the scent he had barfed in his crate in R2. Big surprise.
Back in the house. Back to the pie. Crap. How much sugar had I measured out? I poured it back in the canister and started over. Martha Stewart would not have approved.
It’s a good thing pumpkin pie only has limited ingredients because I was alternating between measuring with more trips outdoors in response to Malinois eye rolls and posturing.
These yielded more pooping. No barfing. Stuff was coming out of him but not from the end I expected. The 15 minute window for the hydrogen peroxide came and went without the desired results.
I finally got all the pie ingredients assembled. By that point, I wasn’t sure if I’d doubled one ingredient and left another out entirely. By that point, I didn’t care, either. I stuck the pie in the oven, set the timer and looked at Phoenix. He looked distraught. Outside we went again.
We’d been outside, sniffing leaves, walking around, visiting the cat, peeing, having another poop and looking for squirrels in the dark when I suddenly realized CRAP! The pie cooked at a high temp for only 15 minutes, then the oven temp needed to be turned down. Sprinted back to the house. Oh, good, there’s still 3 minutes on the timer. No. Wait. That’s 3 seconds. But that’s fine. Just fine. Turn the oven down. Pie is fine. I am fine. Dog is fine. Well, dog is probably not fine.
What next? Dishes. I can wash the dishes. Thought about dosing Phoenix with another hit of hydrogen peroxide. Thought about calling the emergency clinic. Thought about driving back to Iowa City. Discussed location of dead raccoon near edge of field vs. location of recently killed possum by hoop building with the Farmer. Why couldn't my dog have acted like a CARNIVORE and eaten one of them instead of indigestible cellulose? Thought about keeping hermit crabs as pets.
At that point, Phoenix stood up, stuck out his tongue, roached his back and began vomiting clear down to his toenails. Typical Phoenix. When he decides to do something, he does it. There was no time to get him through 3 doors and outside.
I have no idea what the volume of an average dog’s stomach is but I’d say Phoenix had probably tripled it.
He vomited five times all over the kitchen floor, great big stinking gobs of greenish-blackish-whitish stuff, all swimming in a slimy green liquid.
The good thing was that I could finally see what he was tossing up AND I could keep him from eating it again.
The bad thing was, you guessed it, steer manure mixed with canine stomach acid does not improve with time. The wonderful aroma of cinnamon and cloves wafting from the oven were no match for the huge wadded clumps of corn and corn husks plus an absolutely staggering amount of corn cob pieces.
Now, 24 hours later, the little beast seems fine and totally unconcerned. No more vomiting, his appetite is good and stools are returning to normal. I’ll be watching him closely in the coming days. Anything out of the normal and we’re off to the vet.
Hope you all had a wonderful and uneventful Thanksgiving with dogs who only eat appropriate amounts of appropriate things