Urgent warning for dog owners as common toy nearly kills beloved pet – you could be hit with a huge vet bill | The Sun

A FUN-LOVING pooch is lucky to be alive after swallowing two tennis balls during a game of fetch.

Loki's owner first realised something was wrong when he mysteriously got sick after playing and refused to eat.

The crossbreed from Wolverhampton was soon rushed to hospital where vets made a surprise discovery: two tennis balls in his stomach.

However, Loki's worried owner Amy said she knew something was wrong quickly after his favourite ball game.

“It was only when Loki refused to eat, and started being sick, we realised something was wrong. He was still active and playful, but it’s not like Loki to pass up some food," she said.

Emergency surgery was needed fast, with vets managing to remove both balls from Loki's stomach intact.

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PDSA Vet Catherine Burke, who treated Loki at a pet hospital run by the charity, said he was very lucky to have the balls discovered when he did.

"Loki’s situation was a case of life-or-death – without surgery, he would likely have died," she said.

"One of the balls was lodged in his stomach, preventing him from keeping food down."

Catherine also used the near-tragedy to warn others about the dangers tennis balls could have for their pets.

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“The size of tennis balls, and the way they bounce, means that there is a risk the ball can get stuck at the back of your dog’s throat, causing them to choke," she said.

“If this does happen, try to keep calm and if safe to do so, you can attempt to remove it from the back of the mouth.

"However it can be very slippery and difficult to remove. If you can’t remove it, contact your vet immediately for an emergency appointment.

“Tennis balls are covered in a felt layer; which has the appearance of yellow-green fuzz and is abrasive which means it has a sandpaper-like effect.

"Over time it can wear down your dog’s teeth and cause pain and difficulty chewing.”

Instead of tennis balls, toys and balls specifically designed for dogs are recommended, as these are less likely to fall apart when chewed.

Other warnings include any ball chosen being the right size to avoid potentially fatal choking incidents or intestinal blockage.

This should mean the ball should be big enough to be grabbed with the teeth and carried, but not fit perfectly in the dog's mouth.

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