View Full Version : House Sitting- Dog Question

Nov. 26, 2009, 08:09 PM
Hey Everyone,
I'm house sitting for my trainer right now and she has a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Starting last night he's been kind of constipated, and he had a couple (really small) accidents in the house last night.

On Monday he got up on the table while I was showering and ate a muffin wrapper (the paper kind, it was for a small muffin, not one of the gigantic ones). Do you think that has any relation? Any thoughts I what I should do?

If it was my dog I wouldn't be stressing so much, but this dog is basically their kid and they're WAY protective of him. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Nov. 26, 2009, 08:17 PM
oh the joys.
I housesat for two ridgebacks- for 2 weeks. The male got into the trash or fridge, and ate several string cheese sticks, plastic and all. I called their vet, and the vet assured me that he was such a large dog it would go through no problem, but to look for bloating or anything unusual. 2 days later he started throwing up, so I took both of them in, they were fine, but the vet assured me I did the right thing (she was friends with the owner of the dogs).
I also had another ancient, cancer ridden lab steal an unopened, solid dog food can from WAY back on the countertop (where the owner left it) and eat the whole thing- metal and all. Dog turned out to be fine as well.

Sometimes it's worth a phone call to the normal veterinarian to see what they say. Usually they don't mind, and most are good about letting you know if it's REALLY worth the time/expense to come into see them, or if it's just something to wait and see, or give him something you might have at home.

I wouldn't be too worried about the muffin paper, but I would definitely watch out about the constipation. Like I said, it's not a huge deal to get advice from the vet on the phone.

Iron Horse Farm
Nov. 26, 2009, 08:28 PM
Primary constipation is very very rare in healthy dogs.

A muffin wrapper should not be cause for concern, but if the dog is straining, it may be diarrhea not constipation - the feeling that they have to go even if only a tiny bit comes out.

Nov. 26, 2009, 09:24 PM
I used to work in a kennel and a lot of dogs had bowel issues from the stress of being somewhere different with different people. But we did have to record whenever we found anything out of the ordinary in their stool. A lot of them would chew up blankets from boredom and if we saw any blanket pieces we had to record it because it could cause impaction. A muffin wrapper shouldn't cause much problem-it's thin and "crushable." My advice is keep a close eye on him, especially when he goes outside. If he's still having problems, give his vet a call.

Nov. 26, 2009, 10:16 PM
Our old dog got into the halloween candy and ate about 8 peppermint patties, 9 100,000 grand bars and 3 or 4 boxes of hot tamales... She got pretty sick and had wrappers coming out of both ends. I brought her to the vet and they did an X-Ray to make sure she wasn't blocked up which she wasn't. They then told us to feed her cooked minute rice and cooked ground turkey for a few days and the bulk of it pushed the rest of the wrappers out.

Now when ever our dog has belly issues we switch them over to cooked rice and ground turkey - seems to always calm their belly pretty quick.

Good Luck! It is so stressful dealing with other people's pets!

Nov. 26, 2009, 10:17 PM
I have dogs vicariously through other people...meaning I dog sit alot. I used to housesit with a Rhodesian Ridgeback for years as well.

I don't think you have much to worry about with a muffin wrapper. If the dog doesn't know you very well the change in people could be a source of the constipation. If you are really worried, call the vet and explain. They are usually very good when dealing with a situation when the owner is out of town and the dogsitter is worried. I have takes a couple of dogs in my care to the vet for various things I thought were important and in each case the owner was grateful. But I don't think you have to worry yet about this.

If they treat the dog like a kid, try to give it alot of attention, too. If the dog is a little nervous without "the parents" I find that they feel more relaxed when the dogsitter gives the the same level of attention as thier people. It's about earning their trust as a "replacement" owner. Good luck!

(I love ridgebacks!!)

Nov. 26, 2009, 10:26 PM
Thanks everyone!

He seems otherwise happy- still wants to play, runaround, etc. I'll continue to keep a close eye on him. If things aren't looking better tomorrow I'll give his vet a call and ask.

Thanks for reassuring me!

Nov. 26, 2009, 11:08 PM
Ridgebacks are SUCH people dogs--they belong to one person, and one person only. I would not be surprised with a little gastro upset when the person wasn't there.

I would also NOT EVER leave a Ridgeback around any food they're not supposed to eat when you're in the shower. Can I tell you about the 20 lb bag of rice and my two Ridgebacks? You wouldn't believe how far 20 lbs of rice can be spread. Or how sick dry rice can make two dogs when ingested in large quantities :-/ (That pretty much ended my attempt to leave mine out when I wasn't home. They're now locked in an x-pen.)

Put the dog outside or in a crate when you shower, or don't leave food out.

Nov. 26, 2009, 11:18 PM
The tough part is that he has neither a crate to go in, or a fenced yard. So- putting him somewhere isn't much of an option! But, ever since that incident I've been very careful to make sure that food is as high up and as far away as possible!

But wow- 20 lbs of rice probably made those poor dogs really sick! And the dog who ate the metal can of the dog food- crazy!

Nov. 26, 2009, 11:19 PM
If the muffin had Xylitol, an artificial sweetener in it, that dog is in BIG trouble. Been there, done that, small amounts are very toxic (i.e. a few pieces of gum can kill a Standard Poodle!). Good luck!

Nov. 26, 2009, 11:32 PM
He didn't eat the actual muffin- just the muffin wrapper. But- I'll go down and check the ingredient list just to be sure! Would he be showing other symptoms if he'd had an Xylitol? Other than the fairly minor bowel issue he's pretty happy.

In the 4 years they've owned him, this is the first time they've ever left him! He's always had either one of his 'parents' stay behind, or his 'grandma' here with him. So he could just be sad that is family is gone. I've been trying to give him lots of attention, and he comes with me to do all the chores at the barn and everything. As we speak, I'm stretched out on the couch and he's sleeping on my feet!

Nov. 27, 2009, 12:13 AM
Ridgebacks are SUCH people dogs--they belong to one person, and one person only. I would not be surprised with a little gastro upset when the person wasn't there.

Oh, that is the truth! We have a Ridgeback/boxer cross female here in our family, but she belongs to my MIL in her mind. Whenever they go away for more than a day (the suitcases are a dead give away), I can guarantee you that the dog WILL barf up an entire meal of dogfood, and usually on the carpet. And since I am the primary caretaker, I get to clean it up.