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Tin Foil is Not a Food Group!

Okay, I call it “tin foil” even though it’s actually aluminum foil. And for pets, that crinkly, shiny stuff can be scary… or very attractive. Roll it into a ball, you’ve got a fun toy to bat around. Shake the sheet and it makes a noise! But leave used aluminum foil in a place where your pets can reach it and you might have a health emergency on your hands.

Case in point: my dog Moose (who has no sense of self-preservation!) recently ate the better part of a sheet of aluminum foil that had been used for roasting asparagus. It was covered in an apparently irresistable blend of olive oil, salt and pepper, and asparagus juices. So he pulled it out of the garbage bag and ate it.

I happened to be out of the house while this happened, but my roommate says he found shredded bits of aluminum foil. In this case, shredded is a good thing. If Moose had ingested the sheet in large chunks, it could have caused a blockage in his digestive tract! But thankfully, the shredded, delicious bits of foil passed through his system with relative ease.

And yes, we had glitterpoop. So I KNOW the aluminum foil is on the move.

All sorts of food-related garbage can be very tempting for pets — especially if they have easy access to the garbage can. Our garbage can has a locking lid, but our recycling bins are open at the top. We’re extra-careful about washing out empty cans and other recycling items so they aren’t a temptation to Moose and Lally. (And let’s be honest: Moose is much more of a scavenger than Lally is!)

Empty cans can be dangerous for two reasons: a pet could get cut on the open edge or get their head, snout, or paw stuck inside. Glass jars are also dangerous for the possibility of getting stuck. Paper bags, boxes, cartons, and wrappers may have the taste of food on them and be tempting to scavenging pets. Paper stuff might be less of a danger — it can be chewed into tiny bits like the aluminum foil was — but could still cause choking or blockages.

If you believe your pet has swallowed some non-food item, you want to watch out for signs of blockage. Your pet may experience vomiting or diarrhea (or both!). You may see your pet straining to vomit or poop, and they may lose interest in food — it’s hard to eat more when what’s already in there can’t move through the digestive tract!

Call your veterinarian’s office as soon as possible if you suspect a blockage; your vet will take x-rays to determine if there is a blockage and your pet may need surgery to correct the problem.

I’m very lucky that Moose shredded the foil as he was eating it! But once again, Moose has scared a few more gray hairs onto my head.