SALT LAKE CITY -- Dogs have discovered Gorilla glue to be quite appetizing. But when it's ingested it suddenly grows into a huge, ugly alien inside their bodies.
Gorilla Glue is a great bonding material. You can buy it in any hardware-lumber store, variety store, even craft shops. People who do a lot of handy work love this stuff, but so do dogs.
The glue has the consistency of honey, and for dogs has a somewhat sweet overlay. When a Murray Labrador named Ruby lapped it up, she got sick.
"We couldn't figure out what was going on. We'd been watching her and watching her for two weeks sort of going downhill," Ruby's owner, Jane Rice, said.
"The initial surprise was the dramatic X-ray. I could not believe that the stomach was full of whatever it was," said Dr. Eric Belnap of Redwood Veterinary Hospital.
Whatever it was, was a large, hardened mass in Ruby's stomach, and it had to be surgically removed. Belnap said it was almost like a Nerf football.
"I was in shock. It looked like a big piece of lava rock," he said.
The glue slipped through Ruby's mouth and down the throat. But inside the stomach, it reacted with hydrochloric acid and grew into a huge mass. Apparently the glue was so appetizing she had eaten most of it, burying the remains in her favorite backyard spot.
"She had buried the bottle, and my husband had found it coming up out of the ground," Rice said.
That's all in the past now. Ruby is alive and well, fully recovered, with no apparent side effects.
Ruby's initial symptoms, within the first few days after eating the adhesive, included vomiting and a loss of appetite. Veterinarians suggest owners keep Gorilla Glue high up away from a dog's view.
More tips to keep your pets safe
As we head toward warmer weather, safety hazards for your pets abound, both inside and out. Ordinary objects in your home and yard can be a serious threat.
Temma Martin with the Utah Animal Adoption Center warns pet owners, especially new pet owners, that dangers can be found all around the home and "pet proofing" is a must.
"Be very cautious about accessible wires and giving (your pets) people food," she suggests. "And there's always some new product people are just bringing into their homes that we're discovering could be dangerous. Sadly, it can go beyond just common sense."
Here are some tips to keeping your pets safe:
Avoid vertical blinds, pooling drapery, ornate tassels and long cords that can become strangulation hazards. If a dog gets caught in any of these, he could panic and bring objects around him crashing down.
Think twice about mini-blinds, which can get bent beyond repair when a curious dog tries to see the outside world.
Fabric shades, café curtains and draperies are excellent choices for homes with dogs.
Provide comfy beds in each room or designate one piece of furniture as your pet's place. Cover this piece with a washable throw and teach your pet that this is the only piece of furniture he is allowed to frequent.
Make sure slipcovers are machine-washable, especially if a light-colored solid is your upholstery of choice.
Leather and vinyl furniture is easy to clean, but can be damaged by too-long toenails! Be sure to clip your cat's and dog's nails regularly!
Use washable semi-gloss paint in areas where your pet may sprinkle spittle on the walls.
Washable vinyl-backed wallpaper is easier to clean than traditional paper-backed wallpaper.
Relegate antique wallpapers or fabric wall treatments to the top half of the walls; paint or hang a washable wall covering below.
Machine-washable area rugs are easier to keep clean than wall-to-wall carpeting. If urine soaks into carpet backing, it's nearly impossible to remove. If you do decide to stick with wall-to-wall, it's a good idea to stock up on carpet care products, especially enzymatic cleaners made specifically for pet accidents.
Roll up vegetable-dyed oriental rugs until your new dog is fully house-trained—and if rugs have decorative fringe, don't put them back down until your pet is well past teething age (over 8 months)!
Tile, sheet linoleum and Pergo® are pet-friendly floorings that allow you to easily wipe away accidental droppings.
Seal hardwood floors with polyurethane to prevent urine odor from lingering.
Keep Your Pet's Eating and Sleeping Areas Tidy
Spill-proof water bowls help prevent drooly drinkers from spilling on the floor.
A large, absorbent placemat under food and water bowls will make for easier clean-up after messy eaters.
Frequently wash your pet's blanket and bedding; use a lint roller on pillows.
Scoop the poop out of your cat's litter box at least once or twice a day.
If you use a product that contains ammonia to clean up your pet's urine, you won't be able to smell remaining odors, but your pet will! In fact, ammonia-based cleaners can actually attract pets and encourage them to urinate where they've made mistakes before. Instead, have on-hand a special enzymatic cleaner specifically made for cleaning up pet messes—all major pet stores carry them. For best results, be sure to follow the directions on the product label.
Regularly trim and file your pet's nails to keep her from shredding furniture.
Brush kitty or pooch regularly to remove dead skin and hair that will otherwise end up on furniture and floors.
Wipe off your pet's paws and mouth after meals.
Trim the hair around your pet's bottom to help keep excrement from clinging.
Make it easy to give your pet a good rubdown after outdoor romps. Place a machine-washable area rug by the door and keep a towel handy near the entry.
Here are some fun ways to spruce up your home for your companion animals:
Internal Dutch doors between rooms make it easy for you to manage which pets are allowed where. They also eliminate the need for awkward baby gates.
Outdoor cat enclosures can be attached to the house with a cat door to allow free access for your feline friend.
Fenced-in yards should have a buried, inward-facing section to prevent dogs from digging and tunneling.
If you have cats, be sure to install high-quality metal screens on all windows.
Install a folding (hinged) cat perch under a window for kitty's viewing pleasure.
How about a built-in alcove for your dog's crate?
By adding a porthole to a kitchen cabinet, you've got yourself a new place for a cat litter tray! Not only will it look clean and neat, but the porthole will keep dogs from getting in and munching on cat waste.
A small lift along a wall where the litter box or food and water bowls are placed would make cleaning and feeding a lot easier for senior pet owners. The lift would be used to raise and lower the litter box or food bowls.
If you're really handy, how about an outdoor septic disposal system for dog waste?!
And remember to increase your pet's roaming privileges slowly, room by room. Going from restriction to complete freedom can set a pet up to fail.
Adapted from articles by Jacque Lynn Schultz, Director, ASPCA Companion Animals Program Advisor, and Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, Senior Vice President, ASPCA National Program Office.