On Wednesday, Scout threw a party. No parents were allowed. It happened while we were at work, and lucky B got to arrive home before she could clean up. He called me, and this is how the conversation went.
B: “So, guess what I found when I got home?” [Insert THAT tone, the tone you know means something bad has happened. The tone that means that the next thing you're going to hear is something like, "Your dog...!"]
Me: “Um, what?”
Me: “Oh God. What about the sugar and the flour?”
I should pause here to explain that our kitchen island has two shelves on it where we keep dried goods such as flour, sugar, rice, and cereal inside plastic containers. They have lived in this spot since we moved in, and Scout has never once shown an interest in them. Until now.
B: “There is rice everywhere! ARRGG [insert angry rambling that I don't really remember]!!!!!”
Me: “Well, it’ll be okay. We can clean up the rice…Was it the jasmine rice or the long-grain?”
B: “The jasmine of course! Why would she eat the cheap stuff?! Nooooo, she has to eat the expensive stuff!”
Me: “I’ll buy us more rice, don’t worry. I’ll get a cheap bag.”
B: “Great, so I’ll eat the cheap stuff and the dog can get the expensive stuff!!”
Me: “Oops. No, I didn’t mean it like that. Where is she now?”
B: “Following me around with her ‘sorry’ face. Because she was a very bad dog!“
Me: “What’s the house look like?”
B: “We’re going to be pulling rice off the floor for a year! And there are solo cups everywhere!”
Indeed there were solo cups everywhere. And rice. And shredded plastic bags that used to hold some sort of food we could never identify. As my friend at work said when B sent me this photo, Scout had a frat party. No parents allowed.
So after we got over the mess, there was Scout herself to contend with. The apologetic puppy’s stomach was so bloated she looked like she’d swallowed a pillow. B cleaned up the rice and determined that out of a 5 pound bag, she must have eaten a good 2.5 pounds of raw rice. I Googled “can dogs eat raw rice?” The results were mixed. Either you got option A or B.
Option A: Oh, yeah, your dog’s fine. No worries.
Option B: DUDE YOUR DOG IS GOING TO DIE!!!!!
So faced with these two consequences, I opted to not trust the Internet and call my vet instead. (Old-fashioned book smarts still come in handy.) The vet tech that spoke with Dr. C said that he instructed us to take away Scout’s water and limit her to a very small amount every 2-3 hours. Any more and you’re just going to help the rice expand in her stomach. No dinner for the night. Let her ride it out but keep an eye on her. If she is in pain, call them back.
Well, you know Scout. If she was in pain it was completely and utterly unnoticeable. Her puffed-up stomach did little to slow down her drive to play fetch (though we were afraid that all that running around would encourage the rice to blow up, so we told her no every time she brought us the ball.) The biggest thing was how thirsty she was. She constantly asked for water, but I had to tell her no. We had to go around the house and make sure the lids were down on all the toilets because she would sneak off to drink out of them. I hated keeping her water away, but then I’d look at her stomach. That helped my resolve.
That night, Scout asked to go to the bathroom three times. I took her out at 11 p.m., 12 a.m., and 4 a.m. Each time, she let loose a stream of fluorescent yellow water from her rear like a cannon. I held my nose and cringed from the porch. Then she trotted back over to me like, “Whew! That sucked. But I’m good now! Want to play fetch while we’re up?”
And, like Scout’s other eating extravaganzas often go, there was some mad gas.
By the next morning, Scout’s stomach was only slightly less bloated but her mood was still chipper. We gave her half her normal breakfast amount and a bit more water (maybe 1/4 cup). Then she went into the crate. I don’t even think we asked her to. She just knew. After yesterday, it was crate time.
I worried all day about her exploding yellow stream wreaking havoc over our living room walls (please, God, let her aim away from the books), but B arrived home to find her in a grand mood without having had an accident. Thank you, thank you, thank you. She promptly went outside and expelled her yellow wonderfulness out there instead. Then she brought him the ball. Fetch?
Today is day three after Scout’s frat party, and this morning’s bathroom event included what I would describe as lumpy pancake batter-textured, rice-flecked, mustard-colored poo. Is this a step up on the return to normal-bowel-movement scale? We decided so. Her stomach bloating is gone, and she got her normal breakfast amount with very apparent glee on her part.
And so here is where we stand. Scout will survive her rice-eating bonanza, and we’ve been left to sort out what it all means. Here are the theories we’re bouncing around.
- Scout doesn’t want to be on the Atkins Diet. Back when we were dealing with her ear infections, we switched her to a grain-free food. Perhaps all her repeated bread binges means she wants some grain back in her diet.
- Scout is genuinely hungry. She has always, and I do mean always, had the major food drive that is associated with Labradors (example: Marley & Me). When Scout hit adulthood, we didn’t switch her food to once a day because we thought she’d miss the ritual of eating dinner. We kept her at two meals a day thinking that she would be happier that way, but now I’m wondering if she would do better getting it all at once. Would she be fuller getting all that kibble in one go? And thus not eat us out of house and home?
- And then there’s B’s theory: Scout’s just being bad. I have a friend who told me that once or twice a year, her Labrador goes through a naughty binge. She’s perfect all the time except once every six months or so, in which case she proceeds to eat everything she can, including a birthday cake, a wallet, and a plate of hot cornbread. Admittedly, we haven’t been walking her as much as we should because the weather’s been pretty miserable, so we do have some part to play in this.
So those are our theories. We’re not sure which way to proceed at this point. I mean, if we decided it was possibility #1 would we change her food over to something with grain and then put a loaf of fresh bread in front of her to see if she eats it? Tempting…