Labrador Retrievers love to chew and chew they must. Normally I’m all for letting chewing dogs chew but sometimes the chewing can get dangerous. That’s why it’s important to do background on not only the products you allow your dog to put in its mouth but also your dog’s natural chewing behavior – especially when it comes to rawhide bones.
As you can guess, two chocolate Labrador retrievers, Cheyenne and Dakota, proudly own me. They are older pups but that doesn’t make it possible to leave them alone with a bone or chew toy. Even the most distinguished of dogs can get into trouble when left unattended chewing on something. Needless to say, I didn’t leave Dakota unattended and she was still within seconds of losing her life to a rawhide bone.
Dakota, like most Labrador Retrievers love to not only chew but also swallow whatever the can get into their mouths. We liken Dakota to a pelican with a fish. She just tilts her head back and even a whole large banana can be lost in a second – without a single chew.
So it should come as no surprise that Dakota swallowed a 2-inch square piece of rawhide bone while I stood only a few feet from her. She was chewing one second and the next she began to gag slowly. Over the next few seconds, the gagging spasms came quicker and quicker. I knew something was wrong when she slowly made her way to me and tried to hide behind me – still gagging.
Dakota never comes near me to hide unless she or her sister, Cheyenne, are hurt. The fear automatically drives her to seek shelter from my alpha role in the house. I am the mom and I can make anything better.
I have no experience in canine Heimlich Maneuvers but remembered my childhood education classes on children choking. My mind clicked and I grabbed her hind quarters, lifted them in the air so she was almost upside down (for as much as a 140-lb woman can do to a 84-lb dog) and started banging on the side of her ribcage with my open palm. It took 3 swift bangs until the piece of rawhide bone shot onto the floor in front of us.
Immediately, I grabbed the piece from the floor, the rest of the bone and then the bone Cheyenne had been gnawing on – right into the garbage they went without a second glance.
Dakota is fine now. I fed her light that night and had her take it easy but she stuck to me like glue for many hours after.
Would I give a rawhide bone again? Absolutely not! My dogs are sticking to good raw cow bones and maybe a very large bully stick (taken away when it goes too small) every now and then. We could have easily had our first Christmas without our Dakota and I’m not willing to chance her life with another rawhide bone. Sure, she may love them but they are dangerous for heavy chewing dogs like Labrador Retrievers