My dog ate part of my rug and now a string is hanging out of his rear end

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – Help! My dog ate part of my rug and now has a string hanging out of his rear end. He won’t let me touch him. What to do?


Kristen Logsdon


Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote that your dog ate part of a rug and now has a string hanging out his rear end. I’d recommend that you take him to your veterinarian.

The concern is this. The digestive tract (also called the gastrointestinal tract) is long. From the time a dog takes something in to his mouth – it travels down the esophagus (tube that takes food from the mouth to the stomach), can sit in the stomach, then goes through 3 portions of the small intestine, then finally into the large intestine. Then…it goes out the rectum. There are several feet of tubing here.

What we don’t know is where the sting is (that is how much is in there). If SOME of the string is still in the stomach and some has traveled down to the rectum – and it is still one long string (we call a linear foreign body) – it can cause a lot of damage. It can tear portions of the intestine between the two areas. Pulling on the string can be very dangerous.

If we knew that the string was ONLY in the large intestine close to the rectum, then the recommendation may be to give a big meal, an enema, lubrication and gently manipulate the string to see if it comes free (this is something I’d recommend only a veterinarian do).

If the string is throughout the gastrointestinal tract – then surgery may be required.

Call your local veterinarian for help.

An article that might be helpful to you is: Gastrointestinal Foreign Body in Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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