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October 15, 2008

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Bourjaily: My Dog Ate the _________?

When you have dogs, you spend a lot of time cleaning up after them. In the process, you learn more about their dietary habits than you ever wanted to know. For instance, I can tell you that Jed loves to eat foam earplugs even though I’ve never actually seen him with one in his mouth.

It could be worse. The earplugs pass through his system intact, and the day-glo foam stands out like little beacons in the backyard, making it easy to spot the messes for clean up.

Ike, my old dog, has a nose for chocolate. A few years ago my mom sent each of my boys a pound of chocolate coins for Christmas. She neglected to tell us what was in the boxes, so on Christmas Eve we put them under the tree with the other gifts. We came home after midnight mass to find Ike had torn open both packages, carefully unwrapped every single coin, and eaten them all.

Chocolate is supposedly deadly poison to dogs, I dialed my vet’s emergency number and woke the doctor on call at 1:30 Christmas morning. She was very nice, considering. She asked me what kind of chocolate it was – milk (not so bad) or dark (very bad)  – did some calculations and told me two pounds of milk chocolate was nowhere near the lethal dose for a 62-pound setter, although it might be enough to make a 10 pound Chihuahua very sick. To play it safe, she told me give him some hydrogen peroxide to make him throw it back up. (Hydrogen peroxide, I learned that night, works like a charm if you want to induce vomiting in dogs.)

Ike is infamous at my house for devouring the entire double batch of pepperoni balls my wife had made for a school function. Next day’s hunt he turned in one of the best performances of his life on roosters, although he had to stop frequently to expel pepperoni. Pam was not amused when I suggested she make pepperoni balls for Ike before every hunt.

I am forever amazed at what dogs can and will eat, so that’s today’s topic: “My dog at the _____.”


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During the first year of a Labs life they can be the most destructive animal on earth. When our first lab was about 8 months old we tied her in the garage because of chewing issues in the house. Even so she managed to eat most of a golf bag and an old couch with down pillows. We found her in the middle of a pile of feathers with her ears back, the tip of her tail wagging and a "I didn't do it" look on her face. The next 12 years of her life were spent eating everything organic in sight especially green tomatoes out of the garden but thankfully no more couches.

Mike in Kansas

When we first got my chocolate lab my wife found it completely necessary to have the 70lb dog in the house. For the first month or so she was perfect....that is until she figured out that she has a particular fondness for coffee grounds. After picking up the contents of the garbage bin a few times she learned to cope with her "habit" outside.


I must say this has been the most entertaining thread here in a long time. DEP will have to resort to more photos of the comely Ms. Cuthbert to counter!

Point out the words "Guaranteed Indestructible" on a package to any self-respecting Lab and watch the contents and the packaging be reduced to a pile of worthless scrap! I have learned this the hard way over the last 6 months! 'Indestructible, Chew Proof' harnesses; poof - faster than Gomer Pyle can say "Shazam!" they were proven very distructible! Well Go-ollee! And she looks so damned innocent afterwards too! Hi-ho, hi-ho it's off to Petco I go...

Dr. Ralph

Even though my Yellow Lab "Blondie" is only four months old, every pair of flip flops my wife owns are gone... a very expensive cell phone I bought my daughter for Christmas gone... the cat poop in the litter box gone... my sons cell phone charger gone... the 5.1 Dolby
digital Surround Sound cables gone... wooden handles on kitchen knives she pulled out of the sink gone... my last issue of Field & Stream gone... although she did have the presence of mind to rip Obama's head off and leave the picture of McCain! At least she has a firm grasp on the realities of politics.

Jim in Mo.

Now tell me, curious minds want to know, how did a four month old dog get into the kitchen sink?
As far as cat poop, its a dog thing and you can't change it.


Dogs will eat almost anything when they are young and growing. I swear they are part billy goat!

Josh F.

My buddies dog ate a trebble hook with bread for catfish on it!!! He survived, only to eat rat poison a year later. He didn't make it through that one. Poor doggy.

Alex Pernice the fly rod winner

I used to have a German Shepperd and he decided that the last 6 inches of my st Croix fly rod looked like a steak. He was possessed and I heard some quiet crunching sounds. Later, he also decided that a Rio fly line tastes like chicken and sucked that down.
that was fun to take out...he eventually died, he got hit by a car and had to be put down.

Jim in Mo.

I believe Purina still has their headquarters here. In south STL county they have a nice little farm for the public to enjoy. I've attended competions from the water dogs to the obstacle course dogs. Who teaches those dogs all that stuff?
On this blog I guess it should be 'who can unteach a dog'.

Del in KS

Dr. Ralph,

Blondy is probably growing new teeth. Consider dropping by Wally World and buy the pup some heavy duty rawhide chews. That and a muzzle for when you can't watch her should help with the household damage.

Jim in Mo.

I thought about recommending a muzzle but then I thought people would think thats cruel. Maybe it is, I don't know if a dog can drink that way. But another alternative is an indoor kennel cage. I used to think that wasn't right but vets say a properly sized kennel is actually comforting to the dog. Sort of like a home within a home.


We kennel Brownie in the house and she readily goes in at bed time, somewhat less readily when it is a consequence for accidents or chewing the wrong things. Her kennel is her spot though and I believe that she does truly feel comfortable there.

Dr. Ralph

It's a tooth thing... I've been through it before but my last Lab "Midnight" lived 16 years and I had forgotten how bad it was. Her top teeth have come in but the ones on the bottom are really small and really sharp. I was feeling them last night (okay she was chewing on my hand) and just about pulled one out it was so loose.

If you really want some horror stories I can tell you about the things my five children have destroyed... plus Blondie never asks for money or talks back.

Del in KS


I've used the cage and a muzzle and they both work. The dog has no trouble drinking with a muzzle. Just need to take it off at feed time. The cage is great for housetraining after an accident pup goes in the box until you think it's about time for a potty break. They hate to poop in the box. If they do leave it in there with them for a while. Then take him outside to "his" place to poop. Give praise and a treat when he does. In a few days it will be like clockwork and a smart pup like Bunny will ask to go out by barking.

Dr. Ralph

You're right Del... that's what we did with Blondie. Put her in an airport travel cage and they absolutely will not poop in it. They will wake you up barking their heads off when they have to go and in a week they are trained and out of the cage!

Edward J. Palumbo

Our 39-lb mixed-breed mutt passed away at age 15 and that vacuum was noticeable. My wife and son adopted a dachshund, a lovable critter, but not the brightest crayon in the box. We have a candy dish for guests, and I assumed my son was devouring the candy. No, the dachshund found the path to the dish, and I opened the door to see the ankle-biter gobbling the M&M candies from the dish. I called the vet, who asked the appropriate questions, and it appears the fistful of M&Ms was not enough to pose a threat. I have learned to put that dish well out of reach of any anmal without wings. Our pets eventually train us well, don't they?


my old beagle mickey used to eat eveything he could (or couldn't) fit in his mouth but the worst by far was a 1 lb bag of rat poison but the vet gave him sum peroxide and he survived to eat another day


my old beagle mickey used to eat eveything he could (or couldn't) fit in his mouth but the worst by far was a 1 lb bag of rat poison but the vet gave him sum peroxide and he survived to eat another day

Jim in Mo.

Josh, how the hell did you get that dog to the vet in time and how did you know what it ate? Oh well the dogs alive. Just thinking, you must have some rats, live on a farm with grain bins?
BTW, beagles are one tough dog to train, I've tried and they can give you the most pitiful look on their face in the world.


My Black lab is 6 years old. She's calmed down considerably and does not eat nearly as many things as she used, yet approximately 2 weeks ago she managed to devour 1/3 of our shower curtain. She still loves to eat diaper wipes (had her to the vet a month ago due to an intestinal blockage from this). She also loves stockings, socks, tissues, etc. Cleaning up the back yard is always an adventure.


...forgot to mention my Lab loves cigarette butts. My wife and I dont smoke, but our lab finds any butts within a square mile when we take her for a walk. Also, had a dachsund when I was a kid. My mother had an unopened 5 pound bag of chocolate chips in the cabinet. Somehow, while we were gone, the dog got into the cabinet and ate at least 3 pounds of them. She was sick for about 24 hours but ended up being ok.

Dan in Idaho

Please Phil, you're a nice guy and a good writer, but this blog is supposed to be about guns, not dogs***.



How many more words can be written about the 30-06, 338, Remington 1100's and Browning, etc...to ad nausia?

Blogging about hunting dogs is a nice break from the re-written.


My Friend's bull mastiff chewed then ends off of all of the 12 foot two by fours that he was using to frame the house he was building. He chewed almost 6 inches off of almost 30 of them.

Dr. Ralph

To a man who hunts with shotguns like Phil, talking about dog's eating habits is as important and pertinent as what kind of game one hunts or what kind of shell one uses. It's gear for the hunt... you might as well question why Dave talks about game animals or Merwin talks about rods and reels.

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