Alfa the 1 year old Yorkshire Terrier is a glutton

Alfa is a rescue dog: Julie took her in from the Wicklow SPCA a few months ago. She has settled well into Julie’s home, apart from one complication: she is a little glutton, and she keeps eating things that are dangerous for her. There have now been four occasions where she has needed the canine equivalent of having her stomach pumped out to save her life.

Alfa steals food

The first episode happened when some food had been left on the kitchen table. Alfa jumped up and scoffed the lot, and worse than that, she managed to swallow a sharp-ended plastic fork at the same time. Julie took her to the vet, and some discussion was needed to decide what to do. If the fork was left, there was a high chance that it could pierce her intestines. But if she was forced to vomit, the fork could cause damage on the way back up. In the end, she was fed some bulky food, then given an injection to cause her to vomit: the fork was brought up with no damage being caused, and all was well.

Next, she stole some meat that had been left on a counter, which included two large metal clips. These were so large that they were almost certain to cause an intestinal obstruction that would require radical surgery to save her life. This time it was at the weekend, and Julie took her into the emergency vet. Once again, she was given an injection to induce vomiting, and she successfully regurgitated the dangerous pieces of metal.

On the third occasion, Alfa managed to swallow something poisonous. Julie is involved in the marketing of special Christian-themed Easter Eggs, and there were a few eggs left after Easter. Julie had just started to eat one, when she had to leave the room for a few minutes. Alfa didn’t waste time: she jumped up onto the table and gobbled down the egg. Julie’s other dog, Riley, seemed to know that this was the wrong thing to do, and she rushed out after Julie, nuzzling her and harassing her to get her to come back to the kitchen. Julie didn’t know which dog had eaten the chocolate, so this time the vet gave both dogs the injection to cause vomiting. As it happened, Riley was innocent: when they were sick, the contents of the dogs’ stomachs showed that Alfa was the one who had eaten all the chocolate. It was just as well that she had been given the injection: if no action had been taken, she had eaten enough chocolate to cause fatal poisoning.

alfa raided the bin

The most recent occasion was also unusual. This time Alfa raided the bin, eating the plastic film and metal clips that coats the dog “sausage” that Julie feeds her pets. Julie was afraid this might get stuck inside her, so again, I gave the injection to induce sickness. To our surprise, the metal clips were the least of our worries: Alfa regurgitated a long sock-like piece of fabric that would definitely have caused her intestines to become tangled up and obstructed if it had not been brought back up. Julie didn’t know that Alfa had swallowed this, but it turned out to be a real blessing that she had decided to have her stomach emptied, as the consequences would otherwise have been far more complicated.

Julie has learned her lesson now: her home has to have everything out of dog reach. She – and Alfa – have had enough of those vomit-inducing injections.


  • Some dogs are prone to eating the wrong things
  • An injection to cause vomiting is the equivalent of having a dog’s stomach pumped out
  • Stomach-emptying is far better than doing nothing and needing surgery later

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