WARNING - DISTURBING CONTENT: An animal welfare worker is warning about a toy popular with dog owners after it caused the death of one of her favourite dogs.
Latisha Barnes cares for pets whose owners are homeless or can’t afford veterinary care and last Tuesday she was called in because one of the dogs she visited, Savage, had been unwell.
“He hadn’t eaten in two days and was vomiting bile,” Ms Barnes wrote on Facebook.
While examining the dog she said she felt an obstruction “about the size of a tennis ball,” in the dog’s abdomen.
X-rays confirmed that Savage had swallowed a large object and it had become stuck.
During emergency surgery the discovery of a common pet toy was found stuck inside Savage.
“The blockage was a large rope toy the he managed to swallow,” Ms Barnes wrote.
Despite attempts to save the dog, the damage from the toy had already been done and Savage had to be euthanised.
“Upon opening his abdomen 3/4 of his intestines were dead,” Ms Barnes wrote.
The graphic images of the toy stuck inside Savage as vets desperately tried to save him are a reminder to always supervise your pets with their toys.
Rope toys are a popular choice with dog owners as they are believed to promote gum health and stimulate animals as they play with the interactive toys, however Ms Barnes warns owners to steer clear.
“Please do not give your dogs rope toys or raw hide,” she wrote.
The difference between life and death for your dog
This isn’t the first time seemingly harmless pet toys can have dangerous side effects, even the humble tennis ball has had deadly consequences for some dogs in the past.
Animal specialists vet clinic SASH warns that all toys can become dangerous if not supervised around your dog.
“You should never assume that anything other than dog food is safe for your dog,” the website reads, warning that dogs are capable of chewing anything they can get their mouth on.
“The level of risk will vary depending how much of the item your dog ate, and in the case of obstructive items, how well it was chewed up,” SASH warns, adding it’s always best to seek medical advice as soon as you suspect your dog may have ingested anything other than food.
“You should never take a ‘wait and see’ approach without veterinary advice,” SASH vets said, early intervention is the best way to determine what medical care is needed.
“This swift action could be the difference between life and death for your dog,” the vets said.
Facebook users responded to the death of Savage with most people saying they would be getting rid of their rope toys.
“I threw them all right way already after that!” one person wrote.
Another pet owner said they would make sure to supervise their dogs while they play with rope toys.
“I make sure my dog doesn't chew on them like a bone. Tug of war only,” she wrote.
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