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Published: Jan 25, 2012

If your pet swallows a foreign body—especially something that may be toxic—immediately contact a local veterinary hospital. The pet health professionals will be able to instruct you further on what needs to be done.

Not everything a cat or dog may swallow is poisonous, but non-toxic items may still create health issues. For instance, a larger object might get lodged in the digestive system and create a partial or complete blockage. If you notice vomiting or diarrhea in cats or dogs, this could be a clinical sign they've ingested a foreign body, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. Other clinical signs they may exhibit include abdominal pain or tenderness, lethargy, difficulty defecating and loss of appetite.

Many smaller foreign objects are able to easily pass through the digestive system without much fuss, but if something gets stuck on the way it could be life-threatening and in some cases, surgery may be needed for the safe removal of whatever your pet swallowed. If the object is small and non-toxic, you may only need to keep a watchful eye on your pet for a day or two, however, toxic or large items may require immediate medical attention.  A veterinary professional will help you determine the best course of action if your pet eats something it shouldn’t have.