08/10/2013 03:28 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

6 Gross Things My Dog Ate

This is Barley.


She's a 3-year-old Beagle/Jack Russell Terrier mix that we rescued from a shelter last year.

She loves to dance,



and eat.


And when I say eat, I don't mean eat like a normal dog. When anything edible appears, she turns into a ravenous demon creature with a less-than-refined palate. The veterinarian attributes her undiscriminating appetite to natural rescue-dog scavenging instincts, but regardless of reason, her edible adventures have been quite a crash-course in the responsibilities of pet owning.

Here are six of the strangest things she has gorged upon, as well as their gastrointestinal aftermath.

1. Makeup Brushes
One evening I found my girlfriend's cup of makeup brushes scattered across the rug. The handles themselves were unscathed, but the head of each brush had been delicately decapitated. I read that makeup brushes are made of natural animal hair. So in a strange cycle, our domesticated doggie became predator when she scarfed up that bronzer-flavored squirrel fur. Barley's digestive system seemed to hold up handily, with the only real consequence of the incident being the six hours of misery I spent at Sephora later that week as my girlfriend picked out new brushes.


2. Nachos
What's unusual here is not that she ate nachos, but the sheer quantity Barley forced into her 19-pound frame. A steaming pile of nacho goodness was left unprotected on the dining room table. In a three-minute span, she jumped onto the table and devoured every last jalapeno seed and cilantro sprig. In humans we call it having a "food baby," so I guess for a dog, you'd say Barley had a food litter (see before and after photos below). Jalapenos are harmful to dogs, so the vet just warned us to keep an eye out for "explosive diarrhea." Yep.


3. A Bird
While leaving the house last fall, my girlfriend was locking the door and turned around to find a bird in Barley's mouth. We hypothesize that the unsuspecting little creature had been sheltering itself from the rain beneath a nearby bag of soil, and Barley snatched it up without hesitation. Not knowing what to do next, Barley was clearly in over her head as the squirming bird's wings slapped her in the face. Alarmed, my girlfriend smacked her on the nose and Barley dropped the flailing fowl, which then hobbled away. The next day I found a dead bird on the side of the house near our garbage can. We like to pretend that it's unrelated. 


4. Ant Trap
To combat an abundant ant problem, we littered our bathroom floor with ant traps. After weeks of leaving them undisturbed, Barley decided she would sneak upstairs, rip one open and taste the bait. I made [another] emergency call to the vet and in a panic, explained how my dog had just lapped up some poison. Clearly tired of our calls, the vet sighed and explained that not all ant traps are toxic so she'd probably be fine. Not trusting her apparent apathy, I watched Barley carefully for the next few hours but saw no sign of symptoms. All I can say definitively is that this canine's colon will remain ant-free for the time being.


5. Fish Oil
To keep Barley's fur soft and shiny, we feed her a daily fish oil capsule. Before heading out one night, I opened a new 180-capsule bottle of fish oil and mixed one pill into her food. The bottle itself I left on the table with the screw top twisted tightly shut. At 1am we returned home to find a scene akin to the aftermath of a frat party. The bottle had been wrenched open, all 179 remaining capsules consumed and subsequently vomited upon every ever surface in the house (see example below). Rugs, couch cushions, beds and blankets all reeked of fish for the following few months. We tried every type of odor spray to neutralize the smell, but nothing worked. Finally, my girlfriend, an engineer who works on feminine hygiene products, went to the Odor Department at her office (don't think too hard about this) and asked them for a recommendation. Their suggestion: an industrial cleaner called Hollister m9--an odor eliminator used by hospitals to cleanse colostomy bags. The result: Our house no longer stunk like a fish market, but was instead permeated by a gentle eau de nursing home.


6. Used Tampon
The crown jewel of Barley's culinary exploits. While we were on vacation, she stayed with some close friends. As it happened, it was that time of the month for the house female. Deciding it may be fun to explore the bathroom trashcan, Barley stumbled across what our friend described on the phone as a "very large, very used" tampon. They rushed to the emergency vet at 9pm on a Saturday night. 3,000 miles away inside of a classy wine bar, we requested regular reports via text message as the veterinarian induced vomiting. Four hours and $200 later she had barfed up her Tampax treat. The vet determined she had thrown up everything but the string. was someone's job to assess that.


Despite her diabolical dietary choices, I wouldn't trade my dog for the world. Now we just take preliminary cautions by quarantining all hazardous consumables in baby-locked cupboards. Maybe one day her appetite will evolve, but until then we'll just keep a special monthly fund for emergency veterinary visits