What strange things has your dog eaten?
April 21, 2021 6:27 AM   Subscribe

I am dog proofing my house for a trial foster-to-adopt with a goofball dog (no pictures yet but I will add one in the comments after he arrives to pay my tax.) This is a relatively untrained (due to inexperienced owner) but much-loved 9 month old beagle/retriever/shepherd mix. Please share with me your tales of chewy puppy/adolescent destruction so that I can remove those things from our living space and coach my kids.

I have had a rescue before and raised guide puppies so I'm okay on the big training stuff (if we keep him we'll also hire a pro), but it has been a long time since I personally experienced the puppy phase.

Bonus ask: Any amaaaaazing new toys or devices that have come on the market in the last, oh, 10 years? We have a Kong at the ready.

(I know about couches and drywall. :))
posted by warriorqueen to Pets & Animals (87 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Read up about xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in gums, candy, toothpaste and some types of peanut butter. It's highly toxic, more so than chocolate. A few small pieces of Ice Breakers gum will kill a dog.
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:31 AM on April 21, 2021 [14 favorites]

Best answer: When my dog was a puppy he went through a toiletries phase. Chapsticks and lotion.
He also ate his way through several crayons and a box of markers. (He pulled the markers apart, chewed on the juicy ink insides, and ate the nibs. Did not eat the plastic thankfully.)

The best toy for a puppy is an empty disposable water bottle (remove the cap and the little plastic ring) shoved inside a knotted off tube sock.
posted by phunniemee at 6:37 AM on April 21, 2021 [11 favorites]

Best answer: My dog Murphy was obsessed with the smell and taste of US paper money. Anything that held cash money (bag, wallet, etc) had to be put up high or else he would snuffle out the bills and take them. It was costly.
posted by kimberussell at 6:41 AM on April 21, 2021 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Definitely hide your candy and chocolate as suggested. Also all of your other human food. Train yourself and the kids to never leave food on a low table. Make sure all of the trash cans in your house have good lids. Start working with the pup on "leave it" as soon as it's practical. Get a stash of bones or bully sticks so you can redirect the chewing impulse to something appropriate.

Things your puppy may think are fun to destroy:
Carpets (like some puppies will literally shred them to bits)
Cardboard (stolen from the recycling bin)
Shoes (stolen off the floor, get a shoe rack if you don't have one)
His own dog bed (this is always fun right? I know of no solution)
Charging cables and cords (tie these up out of reach)
Underwear (stolen off the floor in the night)
Used tissues (stolen from everywhere why)
Used maxi pads and tampons (stolen from the trash)

This is just a short list. I have no words for how disgusting and creative dogs can be.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 6:42 AM on April 21, 2021 [7 favorites]

Best answer: My mum's beagle was incredibly quick about stealing food. She managed to eat a 4 pack of raw chicken breast in the blink of an eye. Mum brought groceries in, and she put away a bag of milk, and the chicken was gone.
She was crafty too. So if groceries were on table out of her reach, you had to make sure all the chairs were tucked into.

She also managed to get a 3 pack of frozen chicken breast that was left in the sink to thaw.

She didn't go for anything except food though
posted by Ftsqg at 6:53 AM on April 21, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: An entire wheel of brie.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:53 AM on April 21, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: The first time our family dog went to a dog groomer, they sent him home with a ribbon tied around his neck and when Mom got him home, within five minutes he'd run and hid behind a chair or something, managed to get the ribbon off, and ate it. Fortunately it passed through him with ease (although Dad had to perform a somewhat icky task the following morning, about which my Dad invoked the phrase "poop on a rope"); there have been other dogs who eat string/rope/stuff like this who haven't been so lucky, because that can get tangled in their guts.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:54 AM on April 21, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: When Luce was a puppy, we lived in a house with a little pond in the backyard. She would chase and eat the frogs. There is nothing, NOTHING worse than the smell of a frog that has gone through a dog's digestive system. NOTHING.

One day she tore apart a vinyl record: she ate most of the sleeve and broke the record itself into about a dozen pieces. She sat there proudly wagging her tail and smiling at me while I frantically tried to put the record back together to make she that she didn't ingest any of the pieces. (She didn't).

She also ate a few bars of soap.
posted by Gray Duck at 6:58 AM on April 21, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: And: I've spent many $$$ on toys over her lifetime. Her favorite? Whenever a large fly gets into the house, she will watch it intently, following it from room to room, and try to eat it. That, and sticks.

Also: when she would disembowel a stuffed squeaky toy to the point of me needing to throw it out, I'd stuff it into an old knee-high sock and tie it off. It is now a sock toy: still fluffy, still squeaky, but now it can be whipped around and thrown with great speed.
posted by Gray Duck at 7:01 AM on April 21, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: My dog really likes a category that seems to be "hard plastic with some give" - he loves to chew caps to markers or toothpaste tubes, Barbie pets, Barbie shoes, weird little plastic figurines (Hatchimals?). The kind of thing that is easy to miss when you're eight and picking up in a hurry.
posted by SeedStitch at 7:14 AM on April 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: All my dogs are rescues, and many of them grew up eating garbage. For a time whenever I left the house one would seek out and and destroy whatever piece of paper at dog level I had most recently touched. Other things: a plastic bottle of Beano. Street pizza. Cow poop. A remnant of a marijuana joint someone left on the sidewalk. Chicken bones left in a park after tailgating. Bright blue candy that a squirrel had fished out of a trash can, taken up into a tree in our backyard, and then dropped. A Trader Joe's holiday sampler pack of single origin chocolate. Sticks. Stinkhorn mushrooms. Food wrappers. Paper towels and bags with small amounts of food residue. Buds that fall off our silver maple tree when it's windy in the spring. It's maple bud season right now, and the dog farts are noxious.
posted by deludingmyself at 7:16 AM on April 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Dogs will eat anything they fancy this can include things like rocks. Had a dog eat a bunch of tums once.

You got to watch your dog and figure out what he is interested in. Had a dog with an unreasonable interest in the legs of a wood table, shoes are fairly common, sometimes particular clothes or smells(like his where his favorite person sleeps) or he might not be much of a chewer at all and prefer to dig holes in the back yard. It is really variable.
posted by AlexiaSky at 7:24 AM on April 21, 2021

Best answer: Oh, I forgot. My Rupert dog was a beagle/basset. My husband bought me chocolate for Christmas, wrapped it and stuck it high up in the tree. The tree was tied down so it wouldn't fall. The dog climbed the tree, got the chocolate, and the only evidence was a few dropped ornaments and the wrapping paper on the ground.

They really are crafty brats.
posted by Ftsqg at 7:24 AM on April 21, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Our retriever has always been pretty good about not getting into stuff—he’s not the smartest but somehow knows what is and is not meant to be eaten—but he straight up swallowed a rock from our backyard when he was about 8 months old. It was a round river rock, about the size of a walnut; I wouldn’t have even known until he yakked it up what I think was a few minutes later. I was obviously horrified and didn’t want a repeat, so I took another rock, sprayed it with some of that bitter apple spray you can get at the pet store, and gave it to him. He promptly spit it out and I’ve never seen him pick up another rock in the years since. So that stuff may be something you want to keep on hand if you need to do some aversion training.
posted by lovableiago at 7:30 AM on April 21, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: When I was a kid, one of our dogs chowed down on a little tube of food coloring. His poops were a festive blue for days.
The worst thing my current pups have gotten into was a box of spaghetti which we found all over the house.
posted by rouftop at 7:30 AM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Socks, underwear (especially if freshly worn!), a racoon-tail toy, aluminum foil, a tennis ball (chewed into several pieces first), leaves from a house plant. We look at him sometimes wondering what in the world he's thinking trying to eat that.
posted by Patapsco Mike at 7:30 AM on April 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: When I was a teenager, our vizsla apparently decided that my college student brother was not sponge-worthy.
posted by wellred at 7:30 AM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Anything that goes in a human mouth - most particularly, mouth guards from sports or night guards you wear to prevent grinding. Even if they are up high and in a room that is closed and you don't think the dog can open doors. (yes, she can).

Similarly, anything that has lived for any significant amount of time on your person: bandaids, gauze, medication patches.

Sticks of butter.

Again with the closed bedroom door: be careful if you have pills/vitamins in a pillminder. It's shaky and sounds fun and acts like a puzzle toy.

Also, depending on where you live and how Brood X's emergence will be where you are: cicadas. I have one dog who thinks they are the best combo toy/treat ever. A few are an ok crunchy protein source, but some dogs will overdo it and get a stomach upset.

Good toys: my pups love the Zippy Paws toys that are are toys within a toy, like a hedgehog den, or a pinata full of stuffed "candy." Similar to the suggestion above, they make a series of toys that are plush whiskey/beer/wine bottles and the "stuffing" is a water bottle, with a specialized squeaker cap. They velcro shut so the water bottle can be replaced as necessary. The sock will work fine, but these are hilarious to the humans.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 7:31 AM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: These are great, please keep them coming if so inclined. :)

The Xylitol tip is really great and fortunately I am allergic but I have reminded my kids as they occasionally do bring gum home, especially in the non-Covid times. I had forgotten the underwear! Just put my hamper in the closet. And I now remember why all our garbage cans are behind childproof locks.
posted by warriorqueen at 7:34 AM on April 21, 2021

Best answer: Used cat litter
An entire stick of butter including the wrapper
Cotton Swabs
Menstrual Pads
Plastic used to wrap new furniture
Her own vomit
posted by Aranquis at 7:36 AM on April 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

Also, a coworker's dog recently chewed up her over-ear headphones. Which reminds me that my dearly departed Best Dog used to love to eat foam earplugs, but only if they'd been in our ears, and used tissues. My friend's dog is also obsessed with bathroom trash, especially if it contains menstrual product trash. Dogs: they love us but they're super gross!
posted by deludingmyself at 7:40 AM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Also mini blinds. In a panic, she both broke and chewed up several slats.
posted by Aranquis at 7:43 AM on April 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: We had a hound who was super-mouthy and always chewed. The plastic used for milk jugs is not very hard, so we'd get milk in smaller sizes, rinse well, and put kibble in. The vet said this was okay. He was also not bright at all, so for him, getting to the food was a puzzle. Also, kongs. As with kids, put toys away, out of sight, and cycle them to reduce boredom.

He ate part of the backseat of the car.
posted by theora55 at 7:46 AM on April 21, 2021

Best answer: She wasn’t eating them, thank goodness because they are toxic, but our puppy stole every used dryer sheet she could. She also loved to shred anything paper, her goal was to reduce all documents to quarter sized pieces.
posted by lepus at 7:46 AM on April 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'll never forget the Christmas our two Dobermans became intrigued with the old-fashioned decorations on the Christmas tree.

You haven't lived until you've seen dog turds cocooned in swirls of silver tensil,
posted by zenpop at 7:47 AM on April 21, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding foam earplugs.

Also remote controls and video game controllers. I think they smell like us from being in our hands and that’s what’s appealing.

posted by misskaz at 7:51 AM on April 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My childhood dog ate butter by the stick (because Mom stored it on the countertop, sometimes covered but often not).
You haven't lived until you've seen dog turds cocooned in swirls of silver tensil.
The same dog also raided the garbage, and one time ate the twine that had been used to truss up a roast. Accidentally seeing the look on her face as she stared at me over her shoulder while pooping it out has stayed with me for, oh, most of forty years since. Gag.

Same dog: also ate bees and bricks.

Actually, the only thing I ever saw her spit out was slices of lemon that had been grilled atop a big piece of fish (walleye, maybe).

Yesterday the orthodontist told us that dogs (and cats!) love to chew up retainers -- which are very expensive.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:18 AM on April 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding dental night guards. Our dog went into our guest room and dig into a guest’s suitcase to pull out and chew up a $400 night guard.
posted by rustcellar at 8:29 AM on April 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Drywall. I know a dog that managed to kick and gnaw their way through drywall to get out of a room. He was fine after, though. And white happy about it
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:31 AM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: When our beloved late dog was an awful puppy, the worst of what he ate (besides yeah, the furniture) was stuff we set on the coffee table even only for an unguarded moment: remotes, eyeglasses, a Palm Pilot, coasters, books, pens, mail, headphones of any kind. What he didn't eat, he knocked over either trying to eat it or by wagging his tail. Eventually we just stopped using a coffee table.

And any surface they can get to is similarly problematic. Nightstands, end tables, depending on size at least some if not all of the kitchen and bathroom counters (bathrooms at least, if everybody remembers, can be kept closed but I suggest moving the trash cans into a cabinet or up on top of something until you're sure that's a habit everyone will keep, even if the cans are lidded) and dining table. Fireplace hearths, bookshelves below whatever their stretch height is. Laundry baskets especially with underwear in them - put up high or shut in a closet/bathroom.

I think the slowest lesson I learned was leaving stuff on the bed. My adopted-older dogs were pretty good about not messing with a book or my purse or other non-food item tossed on the bed (and my cats trained me out of ever putting clean laundry there already) but I lost a few books to puppies, and would have probably lost at least one phone if it had been modern day. Before these puppies I had a greyhound who figured out by accident one time that pillows are full of THE most delightful stuff you can remove one tiny bite at a time for hours, so for 20 years I have double-cased my pillows or used zipped allergy cases under the outer pillowcase. I also learned to mend any seam weaknesses in comforters or use a duvet.

So I suggest puppyproofing by height, just decide nothing mobile gets kept below waist level or however high they're likely to be able to stretch. We found that books fairly tightly inserted in a bookshelf weren't too much of a problem, and good sturdy storage bins with snap- or latch-on lids are okay. If you have a kitchen you can barricade/gate them out of, just do that - dogs don't need to be in the kitchen anyway. But make a habit of pushing anything interesting to the back of the counter anyway, or put it in cabinets/drawers.

Just start from the beginning with a SimpleHuman step-lid trash can, or Target's version of it. Our dogs grew up with no real urgent interest in trash (one dog is a shredder so we raise up our office trash cans to keep her out, but she has no idea she could knock them over) or knocking over trash cans because they just never knew that was possible. Every once in a while a dog comes along clever enough to figure out the step (usually by accident - and usually it only matters with Danes or Wolfhounds or other dogs big/leggy enough to accidentally step on it AND be able to hold it open and reap the rewards inside), if you think that's a danger you can turn the can to be out of the primary walking path where it's a little awkward for a dog to be but a person can still stick a foot.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:33 AM on April 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Also my one of my sister's dogs likes to steal dirty underwear from the hamper and hoard it for later running though the house with when guests are present. Not harmful, but sometimes awkward with people you don't know well.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:33 AM on April 21, 2021 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Eyeglasses--my dog found and destroyed 2 pairs, at different times. The optometrist said this is fairly common. It is also expensive.
posted by librosegretti at 8:34 AM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Oh, one more: THE GATES.

Our dog was a farm dog, and when we brought her home into the city, she liked to see who was going by out front, and in the alley, and in the side yards. But we had a six-foot fence around the yard, so she would grab a gate and pullll it open, then let go and jam her face into the gap while it slammed shut on her head. She was happy: she could see out! So then she would run to the other gate, do the same thing, and shuttle back and forth.

My dad cut a hole in the alley fence and bolted a sheet of plexiglass there for her to look out, but that wasn't enough. After years of her chewing the gates to pieces (despite mixtures of Vaseline & hot peppers), my dad replaced one gate with chain link while the other was covered with a mat of close steel mesh.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:43 AM on April 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Many of the above, plus:

The strap from a pair of tevas (chomped right through)
Nylon leashes (same)
Every corner of every couch cushion
Goose poop at the park

She grew out of most chewing but she still loves goose poop, so we avoid all parks frequented by ducks and geese.

Years ago I chased her after she lunged for a fallen ice cube and she still thinks ice cubes are delicious and forbidden. I’ll drop ice “on accident” sometimes so she can feel the sudden rush of thrill and danger between her naps.
posted by mochapickle at 8:44 AM on April 21, 2021 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Also: I think a really useful puppy supply is ex-pen/playpen panels and/or a freestanding gate.

As some trainers will tell you: if your dog gets into something they shouldn't, smack yourself with a rolled-up newspaper. You are responsible, you are the pack leader, and you decide where a dog gets to be. Physically modify the environment to save them from themselves, if you need to. I recommend using the freestanding gate to prevent them bolting out the front door before they ever learn that's a thing. That's training them to stop and wait from day one, and eventually they will be big enough to start actually training that as a command, but if they never get a chance to do it they will be safer and easier to train.

The playpen panels will work for a long time for blocking doorways, keeping them out of weird spaces like a fireplace (or where the christmas tree is), away from houseplants, away from windows that provide too many stranger-barking opportunities (I wish I'd known/thought about this when mine were young, they had a real problem and I didn't think about ways to make it stop being a problem), out of the kitchen. Those panels de-couple so you can use one or two where needed. Puppies often suffer short-term fixations on stuff like licking power strips or chewing on a low windowsill, or before housebreaking is complete you need to keep them in a specific room or out of the new favorite piddle place, and you just need to disrupt it for a few weeks and they move on.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:45 AM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: One more very specific suggestion: if you have any older books which use glue made from horses, put them out of reach, otherwise some dogs may chew the spines off one after another. It is apparently quite tasty or alluring to them.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:46 AM on April 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Power cords
Speaker wire
Dog beds
Remote controls
Media players
Various papers
A student's ungraded exam (I treated what was missing as correct)
That Which Is Within Reach And Fits In The Mouth

For people reading this later who are curious about baby puppies, add:
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:49 AM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Also Apple in ear headphones (not the wires thankfully). Went all the way through.
posted by rustcellar at 8:59 AM on April 21, 2021

Best answer: A chocolate lab:
Two ski boots (from 2 different pairs)
Cat poop (AKA Tootsie Rolls)
Butter from the counter.
A very nice purse. But kindly removed the money and credit cards.
An entire deboned turkey
Dog bed
All the throw cushions

But we loved her anyway.
posted by Pablo MacWilliams at 9:02 AM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Read up about xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in gums, candy, toothpaste and some types of peanut butter.

And cough drops, crackers, cereal - all kinds of things that aren't even labeled sugar-free.

Almost all of the crazy things our rescue dogs have eaten have been covered here, except:
  • the dog who ate half a sandwich out of my hand before I even noticed it
  • the very big dog who could get the compost container out of the kitchen sink and spread it around the house
  • same dog who ate a pound of baklava off the counter
  • same dog who ate a 5 lb bag of dog food off the top of the microwave
  • a different dog who could open cabinets and canisters and ate a pound of dry oatmeal
  • a different dog who stole a bottle of shampoo from the tub, and chewed it up in our bed

posted by See you tomorrow, saguaro at 9:02 AM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Half a quiche, very neatly. (She never got anything else that far back on the counter, so I don’t know how she did it.)

At first I blamed roommates. She would have gotten away with it, if not for the single crumb of egg on her nose.
posted by tchemgrrl at 9:10 AM on April 21, 2021 [6 favorites]

Best answer: My Mom's dog learned to open the fridge...
posted by SandiBeech at 9:14 AM on April 21, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: There is nothing my dog won't eat if he is home alone, except alliums and citrus fruits. I don't know if you use a crate? It isn't normal here, so for ages I had to take hime with me to work and leave him in the car if at all possible (so not in summer). At about two years old he mostly lost interest in furniture and other inedible things but our cushions still get mangled every now and then. We buy cheap cushions in IKEA. He has never been able to not chew up a toy within 24 hours.

So, we mostly have closed cupboards or drawers below counter-height. He will get onto the counters in the kitchen if he thinks he is alone, so if there is anything on the counter (fruit or veg or whatever), we put chairs in front of the counter so he can't get at it. I've recently seen him jump up onto our garden table where I had spread seeds for the birds in the hope he wouldn't steal them. He stole them. He knows he is not allowed, and never does it if we are there.

The worst thing is if I forget a bag of flour on the counter, then he will take it carefully into the living room, jump up on to the couch and start spreading flour all over the place from that higher vantage point. When the flour is almost everywhere, he will try to lick it up, but that makes the flour stick like glue, specially to the textiles. I haven't seen this, obviously, just deduced it from the result. He really seems to enjoy that.
posted by mumimor at 9:19 AM on April 21, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I follow someone who rescues golden retrievers, and some of the weirder things said dogs have eaten:
-a Brillo pad that had traces of cheese on it after being used to wash dishes
-ant traps
-steel rebar
-most of a bag of raw potatoes
-a dead, rotting fish from the ocean
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:37 AM on April 21, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Holy moly, needs more cowbell, I bow to those Goldens!
posted by wenestvedt at 9:43 AM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Just go back from the vet ER after mine ate (destroyed) a steel wool brillo pad with the soap. He's been trying to get them for months and we "babyproofed" the cupboard, but he finally succeeded. He's also a big fan of masks, kleenex and any paper. His favorite things are things that will shred.
posted by biscuits at 9:52 AM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I have a ten week old puppy right now, and honestly the answer over here is “everything.” If it’s within his vicinity, he will try chewing it/eating it. Some of his faves:

-his own poop
-any and all food
-paper (including money)
-my robe
-hair ties

The solution has been a comical number of chew toys scattered about the room he is allowed in, and vigilance that absolutely nothing else is on the floor/low tables.

Congrats! They are a ton of fun which makes up for the puppy destructive energy.
posted by nancynickerson at 10:26 AM on April 21, 2021

Best answer: A few more notes:

1. I feed Luce, a German Shepherd mix, milk-bones that are sized for small dogs. She still loves them and considers a Chihuahua-portioned treat to be amazing. She doesn't know that they come in large sizes so she doesn't wonder why she's not getting the Big Dog treats. And I save money and can give her tiny treats more often.

2. We used to have a fridge with a water dispenser on the door. Luce figured out how to use her nose to make water come out, so we had to disconnect the hose. No more fridge water for anybody.
posted by Gray Duck at 10:38 AM on April 21, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: A wool glove and about a third of its mate.

I don't know how new they are but these chewable toothpaste sticks genuinely work well and from my prior experiences with dog ownership I'd concluded that all such things were over-hyped breath fresheners at best.
posted by teremala at 10:46 AM on April 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In the yard: mangos would fall from the trees to the ground and ferment. My dog would eat them and get drunk. But it wasn't like he had to drive anywhere, so, whatever.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:53 AM on April 21, 2021 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Cookbooks, the older the better.
posted by MichelleinMD at 11:15 AM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Mine tried to eat literally everything that fit in her mouth including rocks, metal chair legs, the couch, the cabinets, the wall corners, etc. One thing we forgot to put away that got completely shredded was a really nice fatigue mat.

Keep in mind if you have a particularly destructive pup there's only so much you can remove from a room - crating alternated with constant supervision was the only way to keep my dog safe until she stopped teething (not an issue for you) and also learned which things were off-limits to chew (which may take some time if no training has happened yet). My dog's top two breeds are retriever and shepherd too, and both breeds are known for being really mouthy pups (not sure about beagles though).
posted by randomnity at 11:22 AM on April 21, 2021

Best answer: Used kleenex is a prized delicacy in my dog's eyes, to the point that he will be very sneaky about grabbing them if you turn your back.

I don't know if my dog loves to eat my hair or if I just shed so much that it happens by accident, but if I had a dollar for every time I've pulled a strand of my hair out of his butthole I'd be a millionaire.
posted by cakelite at 11:27 AM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Oh and for your bonus Q, various types of enrichment toys have become popular alternatives to the classic kong and will really help especially for smart/energetic dogs. Some that we like a lot are lickimats, feeding puzzles, an IQ ball and hollee rollers.
posted by randomnity at 11:31 AM on April 21, 2021

Best answer: A beagle mix I had as a kid used to try to eat cigarette butts he'd find on the ground during walks. We also caught him chewing on tinfoil.

A friend had a black lab mix and provided him with a cardboard box situated under a table and against a wall as a private hangout. Over the course of a few weeks the dog quietly chewed through the side of the box and ate a huge hole out of the plaster wall.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 11:45 AM on April 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Vicodins, or percosets -- I forget which. Apparently the kind we had back in 2003 had a sweet coating that our new adorable cattle dog found irresistible. Had a happy ending; she just licked the pills but didn't swallow any, but it was an anxious/terrifying six hours.

(we don't leave these things lying around as a matter of course, but we were on the back end of a move when we adopted poor sweet Midge and things were higgeldy-piggledy in boxes everywhere, much to her belushi-an delight)
posted by Sauce Trough at 12:04 PM on April 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: A German shepherd we had when I was a kid was banished to the garage temporarily while my parents had company over. When they went to get him out they found he had eaten the seat off of one of our bikes.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 12:25 PM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: While I was reading the stories here, my dog took the bread knife into the dining room and licked it clean. I think one of the kids must have left it on the counter after making a sandwich. Alternatively, he went onto the counter and first took two pieces of toast off the toaster, and then the knife for extras. This is our new very pretty French bread knife after he demolished the previous one. Luckily he doesn't chew the handle much now (he has just turned 8), he just licks the very sharp blade. He does this a lot, and has never hurt himself, not even as a puppy.

I'm sitting in my bedroom, working and procrastinating by reading MetaFIlter posts, and sometimes he takes that as if I am not home, which does make some sense. I haven't seen the "kid", a six feet tall young man, but I think he is in his room with the door closed, which also counts as "not home" in dog rules.
posted by mumimor at 12:27 PM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Our non-puppy dog likes crayons. It leads to very colorful poops.
posted by kellygrape at 12:47 PM on April 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Sally, our *terrier of indeterminate origin* was our 3rd adoptee and was the reason we bought a Simple Human garbage can. She also liked to somehow get the breadbags off the counter and eat the contents. She also had broken teeth from eating rocks, before we adopted her.
posted by sarajane at 12:53 PM on April 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Stuffing! Chair, couch, pillow, mattress, dog bed - anything with stuffing. If she could find or make a hole big enough to fit her snoot into, it was game on. My chair had a small rip from the cats clawing it, and in just a few hours, she had turned it into a puppy-sized hole, crawled in, and ripped all the foam out of the sides of the chair.

Weed! I was walking her in a field and she pounced and swallowed before I knew it. She became very dizzy and lost bladder control. Then she tried to stagger around to see what was getting all over her back feet. 12 hours later, I had a thoroughly hydrated puppy that still smelled like pee, and a large vet bill that said "marijuana toxicity." The vet said some of the stinkier types of weed really appeal to dogs.
posted by SamanthaK at 12:56 PM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Things I have surgically removed from dogs' stomachs: watches, 6 golf balls (dog dad worked at driving range), entire box of staples (why?!), skewer, engagement ring, batteries (AA and D, same dog), disposable razor, bath mat, underwear, rubber duck, corn cob, popsicle sticks.

Things that passed through but I swear I don't know how they did it: 6" metal skewer, multiple strings of Mardi Gras beads, pantyhose.

Veterinary Practice News has a great "They Ate What?!" contest every year
posted by SinAesthetic at 1:23 PM on April 21, 2021 [11 favorites]

Best answer: For things eaten: The bottom of wood cabinets in the kitchen.

For toys, if you’re on Facebook, there’s a great group on there called Canine Enrichment with lots of ideas. If you’re not, common recommendations are snuffle mats, Kong Wobbler (different than a regular Kong), and lickimats.
posted by hellogoodbye at 1:39 PM on April 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I don't own a dog, but I did watch a lot of Bondi Vet. :D

Some of the objects included:

Pieces of a hearing aid

Macadamia nuts (which are toxic to dogs)

Blood pressure meds

Toxic mushrooms

Table spoon

Here's SASH vets (Australia) webpage about "weirdest stuff our vets had seen dogs swallow" and the companion video
posted by kschang at 2:01 PM on April 21, 2021

Best answer: Many common puppy- and dog-targets have already been mentioned, but some horrifying highlights from my three:

--insects, particularly memorably a bumblebee and a cicada (it was... still buzzing *shudders*)
--wooden dollhouse furniture
--Barbie shoes
--library books (yes older, rare, library books :( )
--a stuffed pillow shaped like the Blue's clues dog (after doing unmentionable things to it first, she tore its throat out and left its innards everywhere)
--emery boards, oh, man, you could NOT leave those anywhere my previous dog could find them, used, unused, didn't matter, she loved them
--packing peanuts (both the styrofoam kind and the "edible" ones)
--a Tylenol (pet poison control is not free, btw, and the vet WILL make you call them in order to help with things like this) --> Be so, so careful with medications! Don't open medications where they can drop into dog-reach, because they're so small they will be *gone* before you can say 'drop it'.
--napkins (EVERYONE'S FAVORITE! it's the only thing our current dog will get into while we're gone; easy to remember to remove food from reach, but I often forget that napkins are delicious human food-flavor shreddable goodness)
posted by lysimache at 2:21 PM on April 21, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Have not seen this yet on the thread -- I might have missed it, and if so, I'm sorry for the repeat but: it's important to know that Raisins and grapes can be very toxic to dogs. I had no idea about this and wound up in the pet ER, where my dog had to have her kidneys flushed out, for multiple days of fear and a significant expense I hadn't counted on, because I was oblivious about a plate of raisin cookies.
My dog also has eaten glass twice: once when she chased a round Christmas ornament that had fallen and rolled, thinking it was a normal ball, and chomped into it with an immediate look of chagrin; and once when she knocked the cat's china dish off the high ledge where the cat had to be fed to keep the dog from stealing it, and ate the whole mess, shards, Friskies and all. In both cases of eating glass, the home remedy (told to me by my vet) was literally a vaseline sandwich.
Yes dogs also will happily eat vaseline.
posted by nantucket at 2:29 PM on April 21, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: +1 to underwear and leather goods. Our little troublemaker had surgical-level trouble with both of those (separate incidents, not leather underwear.) It was the heavy threads in a vintage briefcase that killed her in the end -- they did bad things to her insides.

to lighten things: speaking of dogs and underwear, my mom and dad, self-proclaimed dog training experts, had a lovely sleepy fluffy bichon whose game was to find underwear and parade around the house with it. My parents would make a gigantic fuss over him when he did -- and especially when he did it to Mrs. Sauce, when we were guests in their house. He had a sweet racket going, he knew how to command instant playtime from them. Respect to a player; I never figured out how to get that from them.
posted by Sauce Trough at 3:07 PM on April 21, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: oh, just remembered another one:

Exercise bands, the kind of big rubbery-smelling elastic you get from physical therapists. Our cattle dog ate one of those, and it came out, but it needed help ... delivering.

All I can say is that Mrs. Sauce was a goddamnn hero in that parking lot on that afternoon.

Our little sweetie ate a lot of bad things, her life would fill an entire They Ate What? contest year, so I'll probably remember more later.
posted by Sauce Trough at 3:12 PM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: We had a big rescue lab mix, and she would:

- Eat the wooden handles off of steak knives (which we had kept on the counter in one of those knife blocks)
- Chew through the wooden gate (this was like a big 8 ft tall privacy fence type gate) until she could escape out of the backyard

She also learned how to open the fridge. You can imagine how that went.

We had a basset hound who was a master at getting things off the counter. He got a whole chicken, plate of brownies, several sticks of butter...

We had a golden/lab mix who ate the carpet, part of our steps, several pillows, a nice winter coat...

More comically, we currently have a Great Pyrenees who is obsessed with carrying very tiny things in her mouth. So a 100 lb dog who will pick up a small hair tie and carry it around. Or the very tiny plastic lid off a disposable eye wash.

Basically, the answer is that anything is fair game. We've invested in a lot of those child proof cabinet locks, although to be fair, it's mainly because the cat is really good at opening the cabinets. But we also use one of them on the garbage can, as an extra back up.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:38 PM on April 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

My SiL has a puppy right now, and she is quite proud that the little thing hasn't chewed anything yet -- but I guess the house is calf-deep in toys, so the dog is never bored.
posted by wenestvedt at 4:58 PM on April 21, 2021

Best answer: Low tables are not the only hazard. We had a dachshund that jumped onto a dining room chair (pushed in!), wriggled his way onto the table itself, and proceeded to help himself to a partial box of hand-pulled taffy. He was fine, but a lot of peanut butter was involved in getting the candy out of his fur.

We pulled the chairs away from the table after that.
posted by lesser weasel at 7:22 PM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I've got one Frenchie that has now:

-Consumed most of a custom Crate and Barrel upholstered chair. He's attempted to start in on the matching twin chair and couch - we have them covered in blankets.

-Is suspiciously fond of gel pens and mechanical pencils. The gel pens can be gone in less than 10 seconds if you're not careful.

-Is able to pull items off the kitchen countertops to make them fall, so he can eat them. He's gotten several sandwiches by grabbing the edge of paper towels and nabbed more than a couple of loaves of bread or hotdog rolls. His larger Frenchie sibling managed to steal a 1/2lb of salami and take off with it in his mouth after watching Harvey's 'gifted' thieving abilities.

-Steals straws from your drinks and then tries to knock the drink over so he can get it. He's a sugar addict, so he will go for milkshakes and iced tea first.

-Broken into at least three kitchen cabinets to pull out raw potatoes, dog treats, jars of spices. We have either duct tape, rubber bands, or baby locks on all the bottom cabinets. This still doesn't stop him from pulling open the bottom drawers, but he's finally decided he's not interested in small bowls.

-Still sometimes steal underwear or socks, although that has stopped for the most part. However, human nail files are good for chewing.

-Always been *wicked fast* at climbing gates and rushing past you when he's determined.
posted by dancinglamb at 7:35 PM on April 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Our greyhound Fable chewed on the spines of books whenever it was stormy and he was nervous. He ate Dogs for Dummies, Edward Munch, and Edward Hooper.
posted by coevals at 8:38 PM on April 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: My brother-in-law's dog ate an entire loofah sponge, whole. And passed it in one piece.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:59 PM on April 21, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I used to babysit an English Setter who once ate a whole granola/energy bar with the wrapper still on. Also many socks, because I guess all the cool kids were doing it.
posted by armeowda at 10:32 PM on April 21, 2021

Best answer: Good morning dog lovers. I have been up at five and again at seven because the bag with five gourmet cinnamon pastries eaten Tuesday urgently needed to pass at those hours (paper bag was included in the meal).
We all wonder how he got to the bag, because it was carefully hidden behind lots of stuff. Security needs to be upgraded.

Also, at this point in my dog's life, I do not always call the vet. I know this is harsh, but I have discovered he is quite robust. Obviously, I didn't make this decision when he was a puppy, maybe after three years of insane choices on his side that turned out to go relatively well.
posted by mumimor at 12:28 AM on April 22, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: My late dog was a big fan of stealing towels from the bathroom and ripping them up, and taking the comforter off the bed for both chewing and nesting purposes (nothing better than a giant dog bed you can also gnaw on!). He had to be locked out of both rooms when he was home alone.
posted by snaw at 3:13 AM on April 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you so much everyone! The dog's current owner backed out but I will be saving this question for the next pup. And honestly, this thread made me laugh so hard.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:03 AM on April 22, 2021 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Consumption of the following by our late beagle required trips to the emergency vet, because he had impeccable timing and always ate The Things He Shouldn't Eat in the middle of the night or on weekends:

-entire container of garlic hummus (garlic is toxic to dogs)
-entire container of guacamole (avocado can be toxic to dogs; better safe than sorry)
-the little squeakers out of dog toys (on more than one occasion, because apparently neither the dogs nor the adults in the house learn from our mistakes)
-a long piece of fabric from a craft project (He was a smallish boy, we were worried it would get knotted around important internal organs - turned out he hadn't even eaten it, just hid it. Still paying that bill off.)
-entire roasted chicken stolen off the counter (it was small, and he ate/swallowed the bones too)

Other things he ate that didn't require a vet visit:
-expensive college textbook
-grass, which he would puke up on the living room carpet, even though the easier-to-clean kitchen tile was only steps away (We did call the vet; they assured us he'd be ok)
-half a jar of Vaseline, which made pooping much easier for a few days :)

I miss that boy, but I don't miss the late-night trips to the emergency vet...
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:11 AM on April 22, 2021 [4 favorites]

I sat a highly anxious dog who would utterly destroy remotes and computer mice. We think the residual hand oils were the reason. Had to stop keeping the remotes in a convenient place and hide them on a high shelf. It didn’t even matter if you were in the room - I was distracted by TV for ten minutes and reached for my cordless laptop mouse and it was gone and in her mouth.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:16 AM on April 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

My passport. I left it on the nightstand. I came back into my room, and the dog had gnawed off all four corners of the passport, and bitten holes straight through the cover, through the pages, all the way through the back cover. I'd only taken it out because I needed to send it to the Chinese consulate to get my residence permit. Rushing around Chicago to get a replacement emergency passport wasn't a lot of fun.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:55 PM on April 22, 2021 [3 favorites]

Half a bag of moth-infested bread flour out of the trash (which at the time was 10% of his weight)

A 16oz prime dry-aged ribeye resting on the counter. Within a second and a half.

About a gallon of couch or pillow stuffing; no idea which couch or pillow though (forensic evidence relies on makeup of puppy poops over the next day or two)
posted by kleinsteradikaleminderheit at 5:02 AM on April 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Because you asked for toy recommendations as well - we later discovered that same dog who ate the ribbon off from around his own neck after his first groomer visit was kept very satisfied by rawhide chew bones. He would fixate on them to the exclusion of all else and gnaw away at them, occasionally making little happy whines, until he had eaten the entire thing. We quickly learned to give him one first thing every Christmas before we began unwrapping gifts because otherwise he'd jump in and play with all the ribbon we were waving around; but give him a rawhide bone and he'd happily lay in the corner with it and work on it, completely oblivious, and he would finish up at about the time we were finishing bagging up the wrapping paper and bringing it to the trash.

The rawhide chew bones come in various sizes so you can pick a size suitable to the size of dog and length of needed distraction.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:58 AM on April 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Oh, I just remembered: my sister's dog learned to unzip backpacks and ate a container of tic-tacs (like, container and all). He also learned to open canisters and ate a pound of peanuts, and he ate a large quantity of wrapped Hershey's kisses and had sparkle poops for days.
posted by SeedStitch at 12:05 PM on April 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

oh yeah, another thing our little troublemaker ate: about two weeks' worth of her kibble, when she got at the full bag of it.

poor little girl, she was swollen up like a football but she recovered without vet care.

she also once ate an entire jumbo jar of fish-oil pills. The ASPCA poison control specialist we called laughed at us and refused to take payment for the call. She came out of that one okay too, but there was some looseness to contend with while she recovered.
posted by Sauce Trough at 1:11 PM on April 23, 2021

Current dog ate the earpiece portion of a hearing aid because, earwax. Thankfully not the whole thing; they're expensive.
posted by theora55 at 3:33 PM on April 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Late to the party but want to mention that dogs LOVE organic fertilizer containing fish and bone meal. It smells incredibly alluring and needs to be kept out of reach. It’s not generally toxic but if they eat too much it can cause intestinal blockage. My dogs still lick the floor a year later where some was accidentally spilled.
posted by q*ben at 2:10 PM on April 30, 2021 [2 favorites]

« Older How can I be a delightful and surprising aunt to a...   |   Small(ish) Food Processors Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.