I Like Sticks

When my kids were little, there were times when they’d put something in their mouths that was totally non-food related.

Like matches.

My mother always said, they only do that because they’re lacking something.

Okay, I’d buy that if they’re eating salt or drinking milk, but matches?

My mother said, they must need the sulfur. (So what was Lisa lacking when she drank that wine?  Yeast?)

I bring this up today because Hubby and I just had this conversation last night.

About Sampson.

Yesterday morning about 3:15, I was awoken by the jingle of dog tags.  Sampson was not on the bed, he was by the bedroom door.

When he has to potty, he gets off the bed and puts his face THUNK on the mattress in front of me.  He doesn’t go and wait by the door.

He only heads to the door when he’s going to vomit.

I got up and when I got to the bedroom door, even in the murky darkness, I could see the spot on the floor.

This isn’t infrequent. Without keeping track I’d say he vomits at least once per month.  Typically I’m a light sleeper and the sound of retching will shoot me straight up out of bed, but I didn’t hear him.

Poor little guy, he had to clean up after himself.

Had I had the opportunity to clean it up, (Yes, I really did just refer to cleaning up vomit as an opportunity.) I can almost guarantee you there were sticks in it.

Why?

Because Sampson likes to eat sticks.  And they always make him throw up.

Hubby and I always joke when we catch him eating a stick and say in a doofy voice, “I like sticks.”

I opened the bedroom door, found a flashlight and finished cleaning the mess.  Meanwhile, Sampson went and lay just outside the door.  I offered him the option of going outside.

He declined.

I headed back to bed and he went with me, jumped up and curled into my side, he wanted comforting.  So as I lay there for the next hour or so, comforting my dog these questions chased themselves around in mind.

Does he eat the sticks because he likes the taste but they make him sick or does his tummy bother him and he eats the sticks because he knows he will throw up and feel better?

And in the dark, quiet of the night I wonder, is it something more? Is there an underlying reason why he vomits frequently?

Did your mom abandon you for NaNoWriMo?

I just like sticks.

Delilah Stick Here you go Sampson, I’ve got a stick for you.

Hubby says, maybe he’s lacking something in his diet.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes those nefarious thoughts that fester in the dark on a sleepless night will stick with me long into the daylight.

As always, your thoughts and comments are appreciated.

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Comments

  1. says

    I don’t know about sticks but Rudy and Rio often eat small amounts of long grass which I was always led to believe meant they needed to be sick, but they never are? Maybe it’s the same sort of thing?

  2. Carol bondy says

    When my Kayla feels sick she runs to the door, if it’s just to go potty she rings a bell…lol…but when she runs I know she’s sick. And she will go out and FRANTICALLY eat dried leaves and then proceeds to vomit…so In Her case she eats them to throw up…if there’s no leaves she will eat grass frantically also…she knows!!!

  3. says

    Oh poor Sampson!! Maybe they are like pretzels to him? :) I am only laughing because Dakota is the same only not with sticks. He also throws up approx once a month too, I used to worry about it but I don’t any longer.

  4. says

    It’s hard to say, really. Shiva likes to eat sticks too but she rarely vomits. Shiva likes to eat a lot of things and it amazes me she only throws up every few months or so. Garbage guts, we call her. :-P

    People say this same thing about dogs who eat their own feces and it might be true in some cases. But some dogs also just might like eating poop. Maybe it’s a question to ask your vet?

  5. says

    I had a dog a several years ago that ate sticks too. I think with her it was more of a “this is my favorite toy” thing. She would find a stick anywhere we went, and bring it for us to throw. Eventually this stick would be around 2 inches long as she would chew it as we played fetch. So maybe that is Sampson’s thing too.

  6. says

    I think it’s just that he likes sticks. I asked the vet the same thing why my dogs eat poo, and grass, and whatever else. She said they probably just like it.
    Thanks for stopping by and saying happy birthday to Kelly!

  7. says

    “My mother said, they must need the sulfur. (So what was Lisa lacking when she drank that wine? Yeast?)” – LMAO Jodi!

    What is it with these Labs…? Toby eats leaves and vomits them at 3:00 AM. Never at 8:00 AM mind you. Always at 3:00…

    • Jodi Stone says

      And always on the light colored rug!!

      I was hoping that came across as funny. It was my sister who left the glass out and at the time I recall being extremely upset with her. But the kids turned out okay. :)

  8. Sue @ The Golden Life says

    Poor Sampson! But you’re a good mom, Jodi! What does your intuition tell you? Those worries in the wee hours of the night/early morning are a pain in my butt — I’ve learned not to listen to them, but sometimes they refuse to be silenced. If you’re still concerned after a few hours of wakefulness, then schedule an appointment with the vet to talk about it. OR, ask the nutritionist at the place where you get the food. Put your mind at ease. With Golden Retrievers being so susceptible to every canine cancer and other ailments, I try to check Callie & Shadow for lumps and bumps at least once a month, and I check the ones Callie does have all the time (a couple of benign cysts). If/when I find something new, I have the vet check it immediately. But, so far so good. As for vomit episodes, they happen so infrequently that I tend not to worry about them…especially when they’ve been eating grass.

  9. Sue @ The Golden Life says

    PS. When we first started taking Ducky to daycare, she seemed to have a vomit episode every night. So I asked the staff to stop giving her treats, or at least to break them up and only give her a few bite-size pieces. In the meantime, I started using a Kong Wobbler for her food instead of a regular bowl to slow her down. The episodes dropped down to just on Saturday nights, so I asked Amanda (the Sat manager) to make sure no one was sneaking any treats to Ducky. She hasn’t had any more episodes now for a few weeks — I hope I haven’t jinxed her by saying that! :-) — so maybe the slower eating pace has finally resolved the issue. The vet said it probably would after a while.

  10. says

    What’s not to like about sticks? They are crunchy and delicious! (well, at least Cali thinks so!) thankfully, Cali likes to chew them into pieces, but she rarely swallows the pieces. Hope he is feeling better!!

  11. says

    I never bought the theory that there was something missing in their diets. As you say, Yeast? Sulfur? I think with children it’s trial and error, you never know what tastes good unless you try it for yourself. With dogs I don’t think there is logic. If if feels good to chew, chew it. It you vomit, there is no memory of what caused it.

  12. says

    I like to eat sticks too, so I am not allowed to have any in the yard. I think I just like munching on them cuz they are crunchy. I used to eat wood chips too but mom replace those with rock so that opportunity is no more. I just know that mom gets upset if she catches me eating a stick.

  13. Frankie Furter and Ernie says

    Well now we tried NOT to say this butt could not resist…

    Of COURSE he eats sticks… WHO WOODEN’t. Sorry.

  14. says

    Hmmm, I don’t eat sticks and Ma says her previous dogs didn’t eat sticks either so we really don’t know what to say. It could just be that Sampson likes the crunch of the sticks. Ma says she hears you about those late night worries…then you can’t get them out of your head and they drive you nuts. That’s when Ma kicks into research mode on some stuff. We hope you can find out a reason for the “I love sticks” + vomiting issue.
    Oz

  15. says

    Gwynn pukes on occasion… not for any particular reason, which is frustrating. The one time he raced frantically aorund the yard, devouring grass, I thought at first that he was trying to make himself ill… and then convinced myself he was dying and took him to the vet who found nothing wrong. he eventually puked. dogs – who really understands them?

  16. says

    I don’t know, maybe it is to satisfy a chewing need but ends up eating it. Henri is a stick chewer but I can usually get it away from him before he does damage. He’ll chew/eat anything that’s hard. After the shocking incident my neighbor gave me deer antlers and that seems to have helped.
    The silver lining to all this, at least it’s not coming out the other end!

  17. says

    Guess I’m lucky…Gizmo doesn’t eat sticks and doesn’t barf…in fact he’s pretty boring ;) He does love eating new grass shoots…I’d always heard that a dog ate grass when he was going to be sick, but not Giz…maybe he’s supplementing the chlorophyll in his diet? Previous dogs have liked sticks (branches, logs) and even better, coconuts…I’ve seen my dogs shred whole coconuts and used to call coconuts “dawgie dental floss”

  18. says

    I think the stick consumption and the vomiting are too far away for him to get the cause and effect. Poor guy :( I think he just likes the crunchy nature of stick chewing and eating. Kind of like how we humans like chips and pretzels!

  19. says

    Interesting because I wonder the same thing with Sofie. Both my dogs love sticks, and also grass. However, Sofie tends to vomit in the middle of night at least once a month. Since my dogs are in their kennels at night (which are in my bedroom), I of course wake up when this happens, take them outside, at which time Sofie tends to go throw up more and then find some grass to eat. Louise does not seem to have the same response. But her chew is much more intense than Sofies, and probably pulzerizes any sticks. I do think they go eat grass when they have an upset tummy. I will have to see if Sofie gets sick on the same evening as stick eating. I will watch more closely. Good luck with Sampson.

  20. says

    Cupcake was an almost daily vomiter when I first got her. No grass or sticks necessary. She gobbled her food like a vacuum cleaner and a few hours later vomited that bowl of food back up, just like brand new. Through trial and error, I discovered she was fine if I divide her food into multiple feelings a day, soak the food in water for a few minutes since she won’t chew it, and use a slow-feeder bowl. Now she vomits about once every month or two. But I don’t let her eat sticks, grass, or leaves, and I’m also careful of what treats she gets – not too big, so she won’t get fat, but no too small or she’ll swallow them whole.

  21. says

    Oh poor Sampson. Hope he is better! :(

    The sticks aren’t oak are they? There are certain sticks and bark that are poisonous to dogs. We discourage eating of sticks and other yard items for many reasons…having to clean up puke is a big one…lol. I know a dog who ate part of a Yew shrub and died, (highly toxic to dogs). Of course Freighter wants to eat everything! Now he is being wormed because his fecal came back positive, probably from eating stuff he should not in the yard. :)

  22. says

    One a month is maybe a smidge high. With Silas, I worry when it’s once a week, and I change his diet when it’s twice a week.

    I’ve wondered about the stick thing, too. Silas was really bad about it when he was little. He still likes to chew them up, but as far as I can tell he spits out all the pieces now.

  23. says

    June regularly has tummy troubles, too. We go weeks where we have to monitor her every out to keep her from eating poop and then months without her showing any interest- but she still has an upset tummy/shivering day at least once every couple of months. We worry about her, but as long as she’s better in 24 hours, we’ve learned not to freak out (at least not too much).

  24. says

    Sherman likes to eat sticks and acorns of which I try to discourage. He doesn’t usually vomit them up but a lot of times you can see them in his poop. Leroy likes to eat rocks as we all know, and these he poops out and vomits up. I think Leroy use to do this because he was bored and he secretly likes to have his stomach x-rayed:)

  25. says

    I’m no expert on sticks, but I probably vomit just as often, my Mum thinks most dogs do, but she’s no dog expert – I was sick the other weekend at 5am, Mum wasn’t happy it was the weekend, but she sure wakes up and springs out of bed when she hears the 3 second warning and swiftly escorts me to the tiles! We made it – phew! :)

    Wags to all

    Your pal Snoopy :)

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