Pet owners warned of barbecue risks

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Vet charity PDSA is calling on pet owners to take care in the BBQ weather, after saving a puppy who swallowed a corn husk whole, which got stuck in his intestines.

The German shepherd pup, called Rocky, bit off more than he could chew when he sniffed-out and gobbled up an entire corn on the cob centre while out walking with his owners, Lisa Cunningham and Naj Un-Nisa, in June this year.

Lisa said: “We saw him pick up something in his mouth from the grass verge, but it was gone so quickly we couldn’t see what it was. Then the next day he was terribly sick, he’d stopped eating and going to the toilet, so we knew something was very wrong and took him straight to PDSA.”

Once there the veterinary team examined six-month-old Rocky and took x-rays.

Senior Vet Andrew Hogg said: “We could feel an obstruction in Rocky’s intestines and the x-ray revealed something was there, but it wasn’t clear what it was. As his condition was rapidly deteriorating, we had to perform emergency surgery to remove the item, which turned out to be a corn-on-the-cob husk. Sadly it’s something we see frequently, especially at this time of year as it’s BBQ season. In most cases it is fatal if not treated, as the husk can completely block the digestive system.”

In 2012 PDSA vets treated around 600 cases of ‘foreign bodies’ in pets, with one of the most common items being corn on the cob.

Thanks to the treatment received, Rocky went on to make a full recovery, and bounced back to his usual boisterous self very quickly.

Lisa, from Edinburgh, added: “We don’t know how the cob husk ended up on the grass verge, perhaps it had fallen out of someone’s rubbish bag after a BBQ. We’re very careful to watch Rocky now when we’re out and about!”

PDSA vets are now urging pet owners to make sure their pets stay safe during the coming hot weather and be especially careful when tidying away left-over food when dining outdoors.

Tips for keeping our furry friends cool in the heat are now available on the veterinary charity’s website at

PDSA provides free veterinary care for the sick and injured pets of eligible people in need and is funded entirely by the generous support of the public. For more information or to make a donation, visit