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Sand impaction is no day at the beach for dogs


Benny’s friend Lola, a Havanese, almost didn’t live through her first trip to the beach this summer.

Dr. Ann Hohenhaus told Lola’s story on Web MD. When Lola returned home from the beach, she started vomiting. By the next day, she would not eat or drink.

As she became more lifeless, her family made a tense two-and-a-half hour drive back to New York City to the Animal Medical Center emergency room. The emergency service veterinarian noted Lola’s abdomen was painful during examination, and she was seriously dehydrated. He ordered an x-ray and began administering intravenous fluid therapy

Problem found
The x-rays showed the little dog had over seven inches of sausage-shaped impacted intestine, which was filled to a diameter of nearly one inch with something that looked suspiciously like sand. “It’s no wonder the poor girl was not feeling well,” Dr. Hohenhaus wrote, “her stomach must have felt like a lead balloon.”

Lola was admitted to the hospital, where she spent two days being treated with intravenous fluid therapy, antacids and medication to protect her stomach from abrasion. The staff walked her frequently, hoping the exercise would get her intestines working again so she could pass the sand instead of having surgery. She turned the corner on the second day and the doctor knew she’d recover.

Sand impaction is a serious problem, most commonly for horses and cows. Sadly, not all dogs with sand impaction successfully recover.

Fortunately, Lola’s story had a happy ending.
If your dog has tummy troubles after spending time at the shore, Dr Hohenhaus warns, see your veterinarian, “because sand impaction is no day at the beach.”

Photo of Lola, Dominique Milbank

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Oh my, I didn’t know that sand impaction occurs to dogs. How did it get to her stomach though? Did it occur because she just happens to be at the beach, or was she licking or eating the sand?

BL Ochman

I guess she was eating sand. That much sand could not accidentally get into the dog.

Thuso Motshegwe

Good morning, my dog has been eating sand of late and its worrying me, what could be the reason. it does eat well though,

BL Ochman

All dogs seem to like eating sand. But you have to watch them, because, as you can see from the post, it can make them very sick, or even kill them!

Liette Belanger

Yesterday at the beach, my dog MIca (Brittany spaniel) 12 years old ate beach sand and vomited.
Why is she eating beach sand is it a lack of calcium?