For decades, we have been warning people not to drink sugar-sweetened soda pop. Not only is it bad for teeth, those liquid calories sneak in too easily and add up too readily. However, we recently wrote about using a swig of Coca-Cola as a medically approved therapeutic approach. Soon afterward, another reader told us about a very different use for the soft drink.

Coca-Cola for the Dogs’ Bath Tub?

Q. You recently wrote that drinking Coca-Cola could help free a piece of meat stuck in the swallowing tube. This stuff unclogs sink traps, so I guess it is plausible that it might dislodge meat.

A zillion years ago, I worked at a veterinary office. On Saturdays after we finished with dog baths, we were told to pour a liter bottle of Coke down the bath tub drain and let it sit until Monday morning. That bath tub always drained beautifully!

I would like to point out that we have teeth for the purpose of chewing food before swallowing it. There are no teeth inside the digestive tract past the mouth. So–slow down and chew your food well before swallowing and it shouldn’t get stuck.

Coke to Free a Stuck Piece of Food:

A. A reader told us that a large piece of meat got stuck while he was swallowing it. A swig of cold Coca-Cola freed it. To our surprise we found reference to this approach in the medical literature (Gastroenterology Research and Practice, online Nov. 18, 2013).

This remedy is not appropriate if the person has trouble breathing. In that kind of emergency, call 911 for EMS and use the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the food blocking the airway.

Food should always be chewed thoroughly. If the Coke remedy doesn’t work, emergency medical treatment (endoscopy) will be needed to retrieve the offending piece of food.

We were fascinated by the idea that the acid in cola could dissolve dog fur. Although we found plenty of stories online, we couldn’t corroborate this technique for keeping the drains clear.

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