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The dangers of fishing hooks for our pets

Keep beach-kids safe

This should have been the pawfect few days…

Summer decided to arrive a few months early and Carnival, falling on a Tuesday creates an almost 4 day long weekend. Could not be better timing, since we just returned from a trip to the US and jet-lag really hit me hard. Remedy for jet-lag-girls?

Beach! Dogs! Picnics! Sun! A light photo session with Matt&Lena who happened to be in the neighbourhood and then Repeat.

But this Sunday, our salty sunset ended with a terrible note, when we noticed Cooka looking at us, with something strange hanging out of her mouth. Wondering what it was, we were shocked to see a huge fishing line! I tried to be as calm as I could (like zero!), since I had lived through this before.



Moca once decided to dine on some ‘sushi’ leftover at Praia Grande. That time all ended well, as I instantly closed her mouth and held it shut, so she could not swallow. When we arrived at our local Vet, Dr. Stilwell we found the hook stuck in the back of her tongue and were able to remove it easily.

But this time wasn’t the same… Cooka is one strong-spirited lady and as much as we tried to keep her mouth closed, she fought and tried to bite the line away from herself until she swallowed the hole hook down. As you can imagine, now I really panicked! Sunday evening, a long weekend before carnival, too much traffic and no Vet nearby available. When we finally found a hospital close enough(and yet so far as there was as much traffic as in Mid-Summer) and ready to assist us, we got Cooka straight into the Xray and sure enough, the hook was clearly there, right in her tummy.

Besides having eaten some stinky fish, a big hook and a meter of plastic fishing line, Cooka seemed absolutely fine and I thought I could just take her home now and the hook and line will naturally find its way out. But this isn’t really the case, as booth – the sharp hook and the meter of line can ran havoc inside her body, so I learned she would need to be operated asap. It was a terrible Sunday. The hospital was attending four emergencies and Cooka would be third in line, at Midnight. Doctor Luisa reassured us that Cooka was in best care and would call us right after the operation, so we left her with a heavy heart, desperately awaiting news. Sometime around 2am the Doctor called to tell that Cooka was now resting and if all was fine by the next morning, we could bring her home in the afternoon.

Cooka has been back since yesterday, wearing her protective ‘Baywatch Bodysuit’ looking like Supergirl. No, let’s rephrase: she is our Supergirl❤️



So please everypawdy be careful when walking on the beach. Discarded hooks are a real health concern to our fur-families and we need to create more awareness of its dangers. The most important thing to remember: if you see your pet ate a fishing-line DO NOT PULL on it!

Thank you to the amazing team at Veterinary Hospital Tapada for saving Cooka’s life.

Special Thanks also to Dr. Stilwell at MVC – MEDICINA VETERINÁRIA DE COLARES, who knew how to calm me and guide me.



Dangers of fishing hooks for our pets

Most vets located near a beach have treated many doggie clients who’ve swallowed fish hooks or who have hooks imbedded in their skin. It is so easy – Your dog sniffs out something yummy and stinky, most likely a bait or a fish still attached to a hook and a moment later the hook ends up stuck in his/her mouth, oesophagus or stomach. If you are a beach lover please be aware of this possible danger.

Fish Hook Injuries in Dogs

Even the most gentle of dogs can become aggressive and bite when they are injured and in pain. Always approach an injured dog cautiously and with gentle calm.

What to Do If Your Dog Ate a Fish Hook

An ingested fish hook is an emergency. If your dog swallowed a fishing hook, try to keep him/her calm and take him/her to your vet or a hospital immediately. It is not considered safe to let your dog pass the fishing hook by itself, as the chances that it will cause internal injuries as it moves or become lodged along the way are too high. If there is some line hanging out of your dog’s mouth do not pull on it, as this can cause severe internal injuries. If the string is very long, cut it to a manageable length, but don’t cut it too short.(the string might help the Vet to get to the hook more easily- at least when the hook has not gone down too deep yet) 

Your vet will X-ray your dog and depending the place the hook has landed, either perform an emergency endoscopy or surgery to remove the hook, which also means anaesthesia. Once the hook is removed a course of antibiotics are needed to prevent infections.

What to Do if Your Dog Is Pierced by a Fish Hook

Whether the fish hook is embedded in your dog’s paw, piercing a lip, or stuck anywhere else on the body, a vet should remove the hook and treat the wound. Cut the line short so it won’t become tangled and cause more injuries, then cover the problem area with a towel or anything you may have at hand, so your doggie doesn’t lick or munch on the fishing hook and may create more injuries.


"a dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself"
Josh Billings
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