Beware of your dog eating glue

N.H. Sunday News - Dog Tracks Column - 1/25/09
By: Gail T. Fisher

 

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has identified the recent Salmonella outbreak as being connected to peanuts. Whoever would have thought that peanut butter would be killing people (unless it was due to a severe peanut allergy)? I’ve been making my dogs’ food—mostly raw ingredients—for over 30 years, so I’ve been aware of and careful about Salmonella for years. I’m especially careful when dealing with raw chicken and turkey—but peanuts?!?

It used to be that whenever I ate grapes or raisins, I’d share some with my dogs without consequence or worry, but then dogs started getting sick and even dying from eating them. Maybe it had been happening all along, and I was just fortunate it didn’t affect any of my dogs. Perhaps it’s the speed of communication across Cyberspace that makes us aware of such things now as never in the past.

Last year, the dog food recall brought to a head the dangers of ingredients we may not even be aware of. Melamine tainted dog food? Who would’ve thought?!? Sometimes it feels as if we can’t eat or feed our pets anything without risk of illness or even death.

Then today an e-newsletter I subscribe to contained a brief warning about the danger to dogs from ingesting Gorilla Glue. To the best of my knowledge, I don’t have any clients or friends whose dogs have eaten it. In fact, I’d never even heard of Gorilla Glue before reading this, but the warning sounded serious, so I did some research.

Marketed as “The Toughest Glue on Planet Earth,” Gorilla Glue apparently tastes like maple syrup and peanuts. In other words, much like antifreeze, it is highly attractive to dogs. And much like antifreeze, it can kill.

The product turns into foam in the dog’s stomach, and expands when mixed with fluid and food, hardening into a plastic mass that cannot pass through the dog’s intestine. Even ingesting a small amount can cause blockage, leading to death. The first reported problem was posted on the Internet in 2001 by a dog owner whose four month old puppy chewed on a 4 oz. bottle of Gorilla Glue. The puppy didn’t show any symptoms for about 12 hours, when she started vomiting. She continued having dry heaves and trouble moving her bowels, and after five days, X-rays showed a mass in her stomach the size of a cantaloupe that had to be surgically removed. The glob of glue had expanded and weighed over two pounds!

The product does include a warning label that says it is harmful if swallowed, but what the label does not say is that the glue expands in moisture (such as in a dog’s stomach), and continues expanding without limits. Dogs ingesting even a small amount have had to have surgery to remove huge masses of the stuff.

I visited the Gorilla Glue website to see if they had any information posted about this, and they do have a First Aid page with Frequently Asked Questions, one of which says “I heard a story about Gorilla Glue and dogs, it is true?” [sic]. The answer:
“Gorilla Glue is a polyurethane glue. All polyurethane glues foam when they come in contact with moisture and may cause gastro-intestinal blockage if swallowed. This is not unique to Gorilla Glue, but true of all polyurethane glues. If you think there has been a case of ingesting the glue, seek medical or veterinary advice immediately.

“For this reason, polyurethane glues must be kept out of reach of children and animals. Polyurethane glues are harmful or fatal if swallowed. Store Gorilla Glue in a safe location.

“Contact us for more information during business hours at 1-800-966-3458. We are here Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. For medical emergencies or outside business hours, contact the Prosar International Poison Contact Center at 1-800-420-7186.”
It is possible that your veterinarian has not had experience with Gorilla Glue, so if you think your dog has ingested some, be sure to inform him or her of the danger. And it bears repeating — keep anything that could be potentially dangerous to your pets (and children) safely stored out of reach.
 

Copyright © Gail T. Fisher, 2009. All rights reserved. http://www.alldogsgym.com For permission to reprint this article or suggestions for future topics, please contact us.