We thought we had a lot of experience with malamutes swallowing unusual things: Taiga has swallowed whole large bones, wood sticks (large enough to make a campfire), ripped toys, etc. – and they always came out one way or another without getting acquainted with intestinal obstruction. We probably were just really lucky.
Our little guy – Yuki – just had an abdominal exploratory surgery due to an intestinal obstruction. We’ve felt that such day will come, as he behaves more like a beaver than a sophisticated malamute, but never thought it will happen at such young age. He’s just 4,5 months old!
We knew something is wrong when one day he started vomiting. After a few rounds a lot of previously eaten stuff came out and we actually thought that everything will be ok. But no – after supper he started whining and crying, vomited again and it was clear that he has an obstruction. After a 24h observation, various scans, medicines and intravenous fluids it was clear that this thing will not move anywhere by itself and that our little Yuki will have to have a surgery. It was probably one of the hardest decisions to make, but was a right one – the surgery went well and the doctors could not believe what they found there: a full size toy bear!
Prior to the operation we couldn’t come up with anything he has eaten which could cause an obstruction, but the funny part was that we had literally no idea where that bear came from! The doctors said that it could be there for max. 2 days, but he was always in our sight during that time! So the mystery was left unsolved…
Anyway, he is now in his fifth day after surgery, has an appetite of an elephant (we try not to use the word ‘bear’ anymore), is getting more and more energetic and receiving 24/7 supervision. We thank all our friends for their best wishes to Yuki!
Avoiding intestinal obstruction
Believe us when we say – malamutes will eat everything on their path. Everything! They are polar dogs and everything looks like prey or a nice thing to chew upon/swallow. Therefore you have to embrace the role of human supervisor and think carefully what toys are considered safe for malamutes.
In our experience, Taiga was pretty much ok with rope toys. She would tear them apart someday, but was not crazy about actually swallowing the rope treads. Yuki is crazy about swallowing everything and anything, so rope toys are now hidden deep in the closet.
So after a lot of consideration we’ve left only extremely hard rubber toys available for playing (such as Kong Ball, Extreme Original, Stuff-a-Ball, etc.) and Elk antlers for chewing (these are very long lasting and very healthy for dogs).
We are yet to find a safe stuffed toy option, but will test a few of them and will post an update as soon as we’ll find a malamute worthy one 🙂