Mamas, don’t let your puppies grow up to eat corndogs

If hotdogs are bad for you, corndogs are worse – they’re carcinogens on a stick, breaded and fried.

So I hate to admit that you’ll occasionally find a box of State Fair corndogs in our freezer. Or, you did until one nearly sent us to the Animal Emergency Clinic.

A couple of teens were eating corndogs around the TV and one set his plate on the coffee table for approximately 3 seconds, which, as it turns out, is the exact amount of time it takes for a bad border collie to lunge across the room and attack an unattended corndog.

Much shrieking ensued, and half a corndog was wrested from the bad border collie’s mouth. The rest vanished down his throat, stick and all.

If this ever happens to you, don’t Google “My dog ate a corndog.”

This happens with some frequency, it turns out, and the resulting vet visits, x-rays and stomach surgeries don’t always turn out well. Plus, some of the advice on the internet seems downright suspicious, like feeding the dog bread.

Jason was breathing normally and didn’t seem in distress (unlike the teen who lost his corndog). We offered him a little rice a half-hour later (the dog, not the teen), and he took it happily. So I recalled the advice of my longtime farrier who once gruffly told me, when Foggy was limping, “Well, you can panic if you want to, or you can wait and see what happens.”

This has turned out to be a good mantra for much of life.

So I decided to hold off on the panicking and monitor Jason closely, having neither the time, desire nor trust fund to spend the night at the animal ER.

The next day, Jason walked, frolicked and ate normally. There was no hint of difficulty in swallowing or breathing, no behavior that seemed abnormal.  I started to hope, as improbable as it seemed, that somehow he’d chewed the corndog properly and it broke into pieces and was digesting normally. We started poking through his poop, looking for evidence. But no corndog arrived, no corndog stick.

Then, on the third day, with no notice, he suddenly threw up this: corndogstick 027

Half a corndog stick, intact, with a scarily jagged end.  How it didn’t puncture his esophagus, I can’t tell you. In fact, looking at this depiction of a dog’s digestive system, I don’t know how it got into his esophagus at all, or came back up.

In his terrific book, “If Our Bodies Could Talk,” James Hamblin talks about how humans could theoretically die from swallowing a tongue ring. If the point punctures your bowel, the bile and intestinal flora would trickle into the abdominal cavity and cause sepsis, which kills more people than cancer.

All I know is I have never been so happy to see a used corndog stick, and as long as we have a dog, I think we’ll stick to eating corndogs at fairs.

Note to anyone who found this post by Googling “My dog ate a corndog” — if your dog is in distress, please take him to the vet. We were lucky. My farrier’s wise advice not withstanding, sometimes panicking is entirely appropriate when you have a bad dog.

5 comments

  1. No risk chez moi; corn dogs don’t appeal. But I can’t get all high and mighty about it, given that I’ve eaten every morsel of a deep fried Twinkie at a state fair. I watched the woman working the cart — a size 4, max — unwrap the Twinkie, put a stick in it, dunk it in heavy batter and then dunk it in the deep frier. Freshly prepared before your eyes … just like the finest sushi!

    I’m intrigued by the ruler in your photo. Are those picas I see on the bottom edge? Was this ruler liberated from the print production area of a newspaper, perhaps?

  2. Ding, ding, ding! Genius Award to Arkie Transplant. And I’m amazed that anyone who isn’t a vintage journalist even knows the term pica, which goes back to 1785. Most people today think it’s a kind of Pokemon.

    1. Journalist, no … print production traffic manager (aka grunt) at an ad agency, yes. Vintage, for sure: I still rant and rave about kerning and ligatures and leading and widows and trapped space and unreadable type faces. I make lots of friends!

      There’s a column of Deseret News headlines and links marching down the right side of the page here … I’ll see if I can read them without joining Twitter.

  3. OMG! Yes, 3 seconds is 2 hours in a border collie’s life! I do admit to eating many things on sticks as have learned to never put them down, luckily not the same way your teen learned.
    Oreo did chew up a pin cushion once 🤤 Why that was appealing, I don’t know. After an xray, luckily he hadn’t swallowed any.

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