Indira Tuckler bought several rope toys for her dogs and assumed they were safe, since they appeared sturdy and came from a reputable store. However, within one day, her dogs tore the toys to pieces. She quickly threw away the shreds, but it was too late - her 14-month old golden retriever, Sam, swallowed a piece of rope, and died from the damage to her intestines.
"The ball unraveled and tore several holes in her intestines as she tried to pass it," Tuckler wrote, in a post shared on the Facebook group Vizsla Dog Lovers. "They removed 3 feet of rope that was entangled in her intestines. They also removed 14 inches of perforated intestines. The damage from the rope was so extensive that she passed away two days later. We did not even have the option of having another surgery. She quickly became septic and bled from her intestines into her stomach."
Tuckler shared Sam's heartbreaking story because she believed the rope toys were "impossible to destroy" and wanted to warn other pet owners how dangerous they are. "Linear objects pose more danger because they travel along the intestines causing more damage as they clinch the intestines into a tight ball," she explained. "According to an article posted by Germantown Veterinary Clinic 'Ropes are the most dangerous objects your dog can swallow'!!"
The 'Real Simple' rope toys are reportedly available at several retailers, including Petsmart, Petco, Marshall's, TJ Maxx and Homegoods, where Tuckler purchased hers. The symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive water consumption and loss of appetite, which could be easily confused with an upset stomach or parasites. Since rope is difficult to identify in an X-Ray, the only way a veterinarian can truly confirm its presence is through surgery.
"This was a senseless and avoidable death," Tuckler concluded. "These items should not be sold for dogs. I believe there is power in numbers and if we can share Sams story maybe we can save a dogs life."
(Also, make sure keep anything ropey/stringy away from cats. My sister's cat, Arya, scratched out a string from carpeted cat tree and ate it, making her very sick. She nearly had to get expensive, life-threatening surgery, but luckily, the piece of string passed through her body without causing major damage. And yes, she's named after Arya from Game of Thrones - maybe that's why she doesn't die easily!)