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My dog ate my daughter's nipple

Wesley with my daughter's pacifier in his mouth.
Wesley with my daughter's pacifier in his mouth.
Amber Wilken

Four years ago my wife and I adopted our West Highland Terrier, Wesley.  He was eight weeks old when we adopted him from the shelter that I worked at.  My wife was extremely excited about getting a West Highland.  It was a dog that she had always wanted.  One year later we had another addition to the family, our daughter, Riley.

Wesley was curious with Riley.   He would get close, but not close enough to for her to touch him.  Anytime Riley dropped something, Wesley would run over and check out whatever the object was that fell on the floor.  One day my daughter dropped her pacifier.  Wesley immediately shot over to the pacifier before my wife or I could get to it.  He grabbed it by his mouth and ripped the nipple off it.  Before my wife and I could get it out of his mouth he swallowed it.  I, of course, was immediately worried about this.  I didn't know if this would pass and quickly realized that if it didn't he may need to have surgery to get this removed.  I decided to remain patient and closely watch my dog over the next day or two.  Wesley acted like his normal self and within the next 24 hours he passed the nipple.

This went on over the next six months.  Anytime my daughter dropped her pacifier, my dog shot over, ripped the nipple off, and swallowed it.  My wife and I of course tried to stop him, but he moved so darn quickly and would swallow it right away.  We ended up losing a lot of pacifiers.  There was a week in the January after my daughter was born that was really cold.  My wife and I did not get out to scoop up the dog poop for about ten days.  After the snow melted we were cleaning up our yard and found about 15 nipples that Wesley had eaten.

This went on until May of that year.  By this point my wife and I were getting to the pacifiers a lot quicker as we realized that if we didn't Wesley would eat the nipple.  I estimate that he had eaten at least 40-50 nipples by this point.  Every single one of them passed.  The night before Mother's Day that year Wesley started to get sick.  He was vomiting and acting very lethargic.  I didn't think too much of it at first.  Animal, like people, sometimes get sick.  I figured maybe my daughter fed him something that didn't agree with him.  My wife and I went to bed with Wesley at our feet.  As the night went on it was getting worse and worse for Wesley.  He was constantly throwing up and it became obvious that something was really wrong.  I asked my wife if he had eaten another nipple.  He had, but I couldn't figure out why he had passed so many nipples and this one was stuck.  I thought perhaps it was positioned in a way that was preventing it from getting through the intestines.  Then my wife mentioned that she had been giving Riley pacifiers that were larger because she was obviously getting bigger than when she was first born.  I compared the pacifiers.  The newer ones were only a little bit larger, but it must have been enough to become stuck.  Early on Mother's Day I took Wesley outside and he finally passed the nipple, but by this point he was so sick that I had to take him to the emergency clinic.

At the emergency vet hospital, the doctor informed me that the nipple being stuck in his system had caused toxins to enter the bloodstream.  He went on to tell me that Wesley would need to be hospitalized for a few days and put on IV fluids.  He also told me that Wesley may not make it.  He said that Wesley making it through that night would be the most critical.  The doctor took my dog away and put him on an IV.  All my wife and I could do now was pray and hope.  I called the doctor every few hours to get an update, but his condition remained the same throughout all of Sunday.

That Sunday night was tough for my wife and me.  Our other third that normally slept with us wasn't there.  We felt lonely.  Wesley completed our family.  Neither one of didn't sleep too well that night.  Early Monday morning we received a phone call from the vet.  This was the moment of truth.  The doctor informed us that he had made it through the night and there was a slight improvement.  He still wasn't out of the woods, but his condition was better.

By Wednesday Wesley had made a full recovery.  My wife and I were very thankful.  The vet had saved our dog's life and Wesley made it to see his second birthday.  Wesley is now four and has not eaten a pacifier since his ordeal.  My son, Zach, has since been born and has also dropped many pacifiers like my daughter did.  Wesley doesn't even think twice about running to the pacifier, ripping the nipple off, and swallowing it.  That kind of surprised me that he was able to make the connection to the pacifiers.  I figured after I brought him back home from the vet that he would still do it.


  • PetLover 5 years ago

    Why are people so thick headed? If every time your kids drops a pacifier, how about just hanging the pacifier from a short cord from the kids shirt? Amazing to me that anyone would knowingly keep taking the chance that something would go wrong that would put their loved one through such misery rather than take one simple step. Laziness over love.

  • Anonymous 4 years ago

    Thought you were talking about real nipples. What a boring story. YAWN!

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    You are appalling Kevin Wilken! You claim to be an animal advocate yet you think it is okay to allow your dog to ingest foreign bodies! I doubt you'd allow your child to do the same. You should know better , especially when you've worked with animals for 13 years. Actually, you SHOULDN'T be allowed to work with animals. This story is gross proof of your ignorance.

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