A Cavapoo, like any dog, possesses a curious nature by which they use their mouths to explore the outside world. You can see this when your Cavapoo eats grass or samples something foreign with their mouths that people would never dream of doing (such as horse poop). But with this curious nature also comes risks, and many dog owners frequently find themselves taking trips to the veterinarian when a dog eats something bad like sand. So what should you do if your Cavapoo eats sand?
If your Cavapoo eats sand, then you should take them to a vet as soon as possible to avoid serious side effects. This is because sand is made up of crushed rock and mineral particles that are not meant to be ingested. If your Cavapoo eats sand, then it could cause an intestinal blockage.
Dogs eating sand is one of those circumstances that occur that makes you wonder if the amount eaten can cause dangerous effects.
There is much to be said about the dangers of dogs eating sand and this article will explore all of these scenarios. Read on to find out why Cavapoos and Cavapoo puppies eat sand, and exactly what the effects of this behavior could mean for your Cavapoo.
What happens if a dog eats sand?
It’s not good for dogs to eat dirt or sand but there are some particular dangers associated with sand once it passes through the intestines.
Veterinarians classify sand consumption as a medical emergency. Many dogs will only eat a taste of sand or perhaps a mouthful, and it could be that the sand causes no serious problems. But, for dogs as small as a Cavapoo, even a mouthful of sand can solidify and lump inside of the dog’s intestinal tract. This can cause a major blockage that only a veterinarian can alleviate.
We all know how sand compacts when it is wet. When dry, sand is free-flowing and dusty, but water compacts the sand down into a chunky solidified substance that can break off into other chunks due to the coarseness of its new state.
Therefore, even if a dog eats mouthfuls of dry sand, the liquids and enzymes inside of the stomach and intestines will turn the sand into a solid substance, and the sand becomes far too thick to pass since it is not a common food applicable to a dog’s digestive system.
The impaction of sand will also cause other adverse effects to a dog’s system. As a foreign substance, the body will attempt to reject the sand causing severe vomiting that can lead to dehydration. A dog will eventually become tired and lethargic due to the illness being caused by the sand impaction.
In many circumstances, constant vomiting will lead to severe dehydration that will require medical intervention. A vet will inspect your dog’s system to find out what is causing the vomiting, and can then perform procedures to remove the impacted sand.
In severe and prolonged cases, impacted sand is dangerous, and ignoring the symptoms and not getting treatment for the issues may even lead to death.
Is it bad when dogs eat beach sand?
There is nothing more invigorating on a hot day, then feeling soft grains of sand beneath your toes, as you skip a long the shore. And, if you are anything like us, then wherever you go, your Cavapoo comes too. Rosie, our dog, loves nothing more than a trip to the beach. Digging holes, playing fetch and being dragged into the sea for a quick refreshing dip.
But did you know that beach sand is the most common type of sand that causes emergencies with dogs. When dogs are digging in the sand, they may be tempted to swallow the sand to determine if it is edible or not.
Beach sand also has a strong aroma, and powerful smells can also trigger a dog’s curiosity.
Beach sand is also some of the thickest types of sand on the planet, in addition to being the type of sand filled with the most pathogens. While dogs are swallowing beach sand, they have also swallowed germs and organisms found in bodies of water in addition to germs that collect on beach sand from people and other pets.
Additionally, ocean or lake water can have a high concentration of sodium, so there is also the problem of too much salt consumption.
Beach sand can also contain high concentrations of silica or diatoms. These tiny organisms are a form of algae that lives in natural bodies of water, and when they die they leave behind a sharp exoskeleton that is known for its ability to kill insects.
These organisms, fragments, and substances can add major illnesses to the already dangerous sand impaction your dog could get.
This is why it is always important to monitor your dog’s activity closely when you take them along with you to the beach. If you spot your dog digging through the sand (like our Rosie does), then you should put a stop to it and get them to play in another way.
Beach sand can contain additional concerns for your dog in addition to the sand impaction caused by eating the sand.
Can a dog die from eating sand?
Sand impaction is a serious medical issue and it is too risky to assume that your dog didn’t eat enough sand to lead to a potentially fatal outcome. To best understand this issue, it is important to look at the ways in which a dog consumes sand.
It is very rare to ever find a dog eating mouthfuls of sand at the beach. A dog would likely have no reason to just eat sand as if it were dog food. Since dogs live closer to the ground than we do, and they cannot use their paws like hands to retrieve things, the issue of sand comes when dogs use their mouths for activities when playing in the sand.
The issue is usually not if your dog is eating sand but rather how much sand they inadvertently consume. For example, dogs have to use their feet and paws to walk and run across the sand, and every time they lick their paws, they are ingesting sand.
Furthermore, sand can be consumed whenever a dog fetches a ball or another item out of the water and swallows some sea or lake water.
Dogs love digging through the sand as well. Even though it may not look like it, every time a dog uses their nose to sniff through sand, they are ingesting some of it. So sand ingestion becomes a build-up dependant upon how long you are at the beach and how much your dog plays in the sand and wades through the water.
We have discussed how sand accumulates in a dog’s intestines, but how exactly could a sand impaction lead to death?
When the sand solidifies and compacts into the intestines, it causes a build-up in the dog’s digestive tract causing it to malfunction. Your dog’s body then sends signals to the brain that the problem has become so severe that it must be addressed to start functioning again.
A dog will eventually become unable to eat or drink since the digestive system is in panic mode. A dog will likely start vomiting uncontrollably and this will lead to deadly dehydration, since they will not be able to keep and hold down water.
Another symptom to watch for, would be if your dog refuses to lie down because the pain and discomfort in the stomach are too severe.
Eventually, a dog can die from either dehydration or an internal infection due to the impacted sand. Intravenous fluids will be needed immediately to stop the dehydration. This is why it is so important to get your dog to the vet immediately when you start to notice these symptoms.
Why does my puppy eat sand?
Puppies are naturally a bit more curious than adult dogs. Puppies will use their mouths to both taste and explore the objects around them, including sand.
Providing your dog with appropriate puppy food is important because it could be that your puppy is eating sand to find minerals, nutrients, or even bacteria to address some kind of deficiency due to a lack of proper food.
A great way to prevent puppies from eating sand is to prevent puppies from playing in sand until they are old enough to know what is and isn’t food. You may also want to deworm your Cavapoo puppy since they are eating sand and this could be a sign of parasitic anaemia.
What sand is safe for dogs?
There is no sand that can be considered safe for dogs to eat as all sand will clump when it is wet – especially in the moist environment of the stomach and intestines.
Sand that is dry is also not completely safe for dogs to be around. Since dogs use their nose and mouth to navigate their surroundings, and a dog’s nose is almost always wet, sand that they sniff will stick to the nose and eventually find its way into their stomach since they will lick their nose to remove the sand.
How can I keep my Cavapoo out of the sand?
It is important to prevent your puppy or dog from playing in the sand. As much fun as it is to take your dog to the beach or the lake, there is no way to completely prevent a possible sand impaction from your dog consuming sand.
Since this is very limiting to a dog’s freedom and the joy they have when playing on the beach, there are precautions you can take to prevent this serious health issue.
- Monitor your dog. It may be bothersome to constantly monitor your puppy while at the beach, but whenever they start to dig in the sand, distract them with something else. Since digging in the sand is one of the primary ways in which dogs ingest sand, this behavior should not be allowed. Distract your dog with toys or by running and jogging along the beach with you.
- Keep your dog out of the water. Some Cavapoos do enjoy swimming, thankfully Rosie does not, but such a large and unpredictable body of water like the ocean or a lake can be dangerous, especially for a dog. Additionally, this is one of the most common ways in which dogs inadvertently ingest sand that is floating in the water. If your dog enjoys swimming, consider buying a pool for your home or a wading pool deep enough to allow your Cavapoo to swim.
- Do not allow your dog to dig at the beach. As mentioned, a dog digging through sand will cause the sand to cling to your dog’s nose, which will find its way into their mouth. It will be nearly impossible to prevent your puppy from digging and rooting its nose through sand, therefore, this is one of the reasons why it is not advisable to bring your dog to the beach. If you are just walking on a beach, keep your dog on a leash which will make it easier to monitor their behavior.
Top Tip – We take a tent to the beach for Rosie. This not only provides some much needed shade, but it means that she is not lying on the sand so the temptation to dig or sniff the sand is removed.
How does a veterinarian treat sand ingestion?
A veterinarian will approach sand ingestion from a serious point of view. After asking dog owners how much sand they think their dog ingested, an X-ray will typically be the first test to see exactly how much sand is causing the impaction in the intestine.
After judging the amount of sand the dog ate to cause the impaction, a vet will typically begin a fluid drip to restore some of the electrolytes the dog has lost from vomiting. Medications will be given to try and break up the impaction and move the sand along the intestinal tract to be passed as a stool.
If these procedures do not work, surgical intervention will be performed to physically remove the impacted sand from the intestines. Antibiotics will likely also be given by your veterinarian to clear any infections caused by the sand.
How to stop your dog from eating sand?
Dogs do not generally choose to eat sand, but there may be some that do and this is especially a concern with puppies. In order to prevent your pup from eating sand, keep them close by at all times and give them other things to keep them occupied such as running and jogging or playing with toys.
If you have sand in your yard, you could try placing down dog repellent in the sand which will be just enough to keep your dog from rooting its nose through the sand. Apart from this, be sure to monitor your dog or puppy when they are outdoors.
Why do dogs poop on sand?
Dogs will poop practically anywhere outdoors unless there is a designated place that they have been trained to poop at.
When it comes to sand, one of the primary reasons why dogs would do this is to mark their territory after smelling the scent of other dogs that have done the same. Apart from this, it could be that your dog feels that the sand mimics the normal places in which they poop when at home.
Some dogs will only prefer to poop in grassy areas, whereas others will prefer to poop upon anything that most resembles dirt or earthy ground. Our dog was trained as a puppy to poop on stones, so this is always her first choice of bathroom.
How to get sand out of your dog’s eyes
Sand is also a major concern for dogs as it is very easy to get into their eyes since they are so low to the ground when sand starts to be passed through the air from friction. Sand can sting your dog’s eyes and cause them major eye irritation.
To get sand out of your dog’s eyes, the best method is to use eye drops to moisten the eyes and help to reduce any irritation or swelling. You can also gently rub a wet washcloth over your dog’s eyes if the sand is visible on the outer layers of the eye but be sure not to rub too hard.
If your Cavapoo eats sand, this can very well escalate into a medical emergency. Symptoms to watch out for include vomiting, lethargy, and discomfort when your dog is trying to lay down. Sand causes an impaction within a dog’s intestines, and in most severe cases, will need to be surgically removed to prevent death.
Be sure and monitor your dog’s activity closely, when they are at the beach, especially if you have a puppy, and always try and prevent them from digging in the sand and going in the water. It’s the activities they do in the sand that lead to sand ingestion.