Don't give a dog a bone!

22 June 2018

PDSA issues BBQ warning after puppy undergoes emergency op after swallowing chicken bone

With temperatures set to soar this weekend, our vets are bracing themselves for an influx of emergencies – after saving a Staffie puppy who wolfed down a six-inch chicken bone.

Glorious sunshine is forecast over the next week when temperatures could hit as high as 30C (86F), and many people will be enjoying some al-fresco dining in the garden. But while there will be barbecues aplenty, common treats such as ribs, corn-on-the-cob and chicken drumsticks, can prove fatal to pets if swallowed.

We're sharing the story of Sapphire, a seven-month-old puppy from Stoke on Trent, who had a lucky escape after swallowing a bone. She had been eyeing up a chicken drumstick that 13-year-old Abi Paterson was eating during a family meal, and pounced the moment Abi dropped her guard.

The mischievous pooch ran off with her prize bone and swallowed it whole before the family could stop her.

Quick-thinking mum, Lesley (51) from Northwood, immediately contacted our Stoke Pet Hospital, and staff told her to bring the pup in straight away. Sapphire was x-rayed before being rushed for emergency surgery to remove the bone.

Kate Cavanagh, PDSA Vet, said: "The x-ray showed the bone lodged in Sapphire's stomach. There was a real risk, due to its size, that it could have led to a life threatening blockage in her bowel.

"We knew we had to carry out an emergency operation to remove it as quickly as possible."

Thanks to our vets, the surgery was a success and the bone was safely removed just an hour-and-a-half after Sapphire swallowed it. The pup was kept in overnight for observation before being allowed home the following day.

Lesley said she is hugely grateful to PDSA for the treatment Sapphire received.

She said: “The service was five-star and I really can’t thank them enough. I knew as soon as she swallowed the bone how dangerous it could be and we were all on tenterhooks the whole time she was in surgery.

“Needless to say we’re now much more careful with Sapphire where food is concerned.”

Our vets warn that bones can be dangerous to dogs as they can cause digestive tract damage caused by splinters, particularly with cooked chicken bones. Larger pieces of bone can also cause blockages in the throat or bowel, which is life-threatening.

Kate added: “We would advise keeping unsuitable foods out of paws’ reach and sticking to dog friendly chew toys - these don’t present a choking or blockage risk and can also help keep your dog’s teeth clean.”

For more advice about how to keep pets safe during barbecue season see


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