Jeez, the things you learn on the InterWebs. For a couple of years now, since we’ve been growing our own corn, we’ve been giving the cobs to the dogs. We were under the impression these “corn bones” were wonderful natural chew toys. By chance, I posted a picture of Oscar with a cob hanging out of his mouth up on Flickr. And I immediately heard back from a reader from Down Under, MoonTed, who ordered me to pry that cob out of Oscar’s mouth. She knows whereof she speaks. She lost a beloved dog when a piece of cob got lodged in his small intestine, leading to three days of suffering and an unsuccessful operation.

A Google search on “corn cob dangerous to dogs” will bring up dozens of articles like this one and this one warning you that corn cobs are right up there with chocolate and chicken bones as things to keep away from dogs. We’re on high alert here now as the dogs have chewed on corn cobs two days in a row now. Oscar doesn’t really eat them. He just carries them around until he gets bored with them and leaves to bark at the water in Lake Charles. But Lucy chomps them down into tiny pieces and eats them all up. Luckily it seems that — how shall I put this delicately? — things have been moving through regularly. But we’re still watching for any signs of distress. And we’re overdue for the vet, so maybe we’ll go down there today for a pre-emptive check.

In the meantime, read this article and weep. This article advises you to get your dog to the vet if you’ve even suspected he or she has gotten hold of a corn cob. Or at least be alert to the signs of intestinal blockage:

Signs seen with intestinal obstruction may include: vomiting or dry heaves, diarrhea (or straining), anorexia, painful abdomen, lethargy. Your vet will be able to advise you on the best course of action, be it watch-and-wait or be examined immediately.

We’re considering ourselves duly warned!