Animals Eat the Craziest Things!

Golf balls retrieved from Zeus’s stomach

Every year Veterinary Practice News (VPN) holds its, “They Ate What?” Contest. Here’s how it works. Veterinarians submit X-rays of patients who have eaten highly inappropriate things along with photos of the foreign matter once it’s been removed. The VPN editorial staff judges the submissions for originality. The prizes- $1,500 for first place, $1,000 for second place, and $500 for third place- are sponsored by Trupanion pet insurance.

This year’s grand prizewinner was Dr. Gordon Schumucker of Lisbon Veterinary Clinic in Lisbon, Ohio. His patient Zeus, a one-year-old Doberman Pinscher, was examined because of vomiting. An X-ray revealed 20 round, foreign objects within the dog’s stomach. During surgery 20 golf balls were retrieved. Zeus was reported to have access to a driving range.

Second place went to Dr. Mike Jones of Woodland West Animal Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He removed the end of a fishing pole from the esophagus and stomach of a ten-week-old puppy. Yikes!

The third place winner was Dr. Theresa Taylor of Cherryville Animal Hospital in Cherryville, North Carolina. She examined a six-month-old Labrador Retriever because of vomiting and lethargy. Her X-rays revealed a metallic foreign body within the dog’s bowel. At the time of surgery, she discovered that this youngster had eaten a door hinge. After surgery, it’s reported that the mouthy puppy attempted to eat the wrap securing his intravenous catheter along with the plastic line connected to his intravenous fluids. Why do I think this puppy is in store for a lifetime of surgeries?

Some of the other reported foreign bodies included an animal’s collar, a studded belt, coins, a rock, a spoon, and a large bunch of hair ties. All of the stories had happy endings with one exception. After a python was “away from the house” for a week or so its owner requested an X-ray to determine what his pet ingested while MIA. The X-ray revealed a bejeweled collar within the snake’s intestinal tract. It turns out that a neighbor’s Siamese kitty disappeared right around that same time. It was reported that the snake owner fessed up and purchased another cat for his neighbor.

If you’d like to view photos of all of the X-rays, take a look at the VPN article. VPN is hosting a People’s Choice X-ray contest. If you‘d like to vote do so by the end of this month. The winning veterinarian will receive $500.

What’s the craziest thing your pet ever ate?

Best wishes,

Nancy Kay, DVM

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health.   There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at,, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

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7 Comments on “Animals Eat the Craziest Things!

  1. One day, dachshund Lala coughed; we saw a small piece of string hanging from her mouth. I pulled the string, and pulled it, and pulled it, but the string kept coming. She had swallowed a kite-string that was perhaps 5 ft. long.

    Once the string was removed, she stopped coughing. How does anyone swallow 5 ft of string?

  2. It was a clients dog. He throw up during a training class. The owner freaked out “what is it! Its a slug!” I calmly grabbed poop bag and picked up the sport sock! I said they could take it home and launder it they declined.

  3. Oh my DOG! These are insane objects! But we can relate, unfortunately. Here’s what our Wyatt has eaten in his 6 years:

    – The entire bottle of Rescue Remedy (and no, he didn’t calm down)
    – Loaf of fresh french bread
    – One entire bag of calming treats (ditto, they didn’t calm him, just made his GI system explode)
    – A sneaker
    – A chunk of our dog crate cover
    – A road flare from a car emergency kit
    – One doorknob
    – Half of a leg of denim shorts
    – An entire dog treat/training bag, along with the belt
    – Two wash cloths
    – and finally, the doozy that cost over $5,000 to retrieve…one hand towel!

    Thank DOG for pet health insurance!

  4. Call me a prude, but IMHO there is something a bit off about having a contest to see what is the craziest things an animal has ingested and then giving the veterinarian a prize for it!

    Will the winner of the prize deduct their monetary winnings from the bill they gave to the person who has to pay it and the animal who had to suffer? Contests like this may be a form of brief levity in an otherwise serious profession, but it just seems to minimize the actual discomfort or even death that an animal may undergo.Viewing x-rays of items that these poor animals have ingested just seems to be along the line of the shock television and internet shows. I’m sure others will disagree and I respect that. This is just not something I care to view for any reason.

  5. Thanks for sharing! I’m glad there is a place where you can see the pictures because some of those are really hard to believe. Many years ago I had a standard poodle who ate the foam rubber out of a chair cushion. I watched her for several days until I could see that it was coming out the other end OK. We still laugh about the way it sort of re-expanded and popped out. Over her lifetime she had two surgeries to remove a man’s tie and a grooming apron. Wish we could know what they are thinking……

  6. My usually intelligent Border Collie once ate a small, never used (no food on it) SOS pad.

  7. We had a miniature poodle who loved to eat things made out of rubber/latex. She’d eat balloons, or pieces after kids birthday parties, but the worst was a size 8 surgeon’s glove. We discovered it when we could see the tip of one glove finger protruding from her anus. We slowly pulled out the glove, fully in tact.