A heartbroken couple are calling on supermarkets to stop selling dog bones after watching their Miniature Schnauzer suffer an agonising death on Christmas day.

Anna Carey and James Lancaster thought nothing of it when a friend gave two-year-old Burtie a Bob Martin’s Premium Ham Bone, from Tesco, as a Christmas treat.

But on Christmas Eve they awoke to find their dog had been sick during the night and was unable to move without great discomfort. An X-Ray at the vets revealed fragments of bone had become lodged in the dog’s stomach and intestines.

Burtie was given painkillers and anti-nausea injections and the couple were told to take him home and monitor him closely in the hope he would pass the bone naturally.

Later that night, with Burtie showing no improvement, they took him to Grove Lodge Veterinary Hospital, in Worthing, where he was put on an overnight drip and given more painkillers.

On Christmas day the couple received a phone call to say the painkillers weren’t working and that Burtie – who turned two on Christmas Eve – was showing signs of depression. Vets were fearful of internal infection and a decision was taken to operate.

Four hours later Anna and James received a call to say Burtie’s stomach had been ruptured by the bone and that despite the vets’ best efforts there was not enough healthy stomach tissue to keep Burtie alive. A decision was taken to put him to sleep.

The couple, from Warwick Road, Worthing, had given Burtie bones before, but they were always raw beef bones, which he gnawed over a period of weeks. On this occasion the bone was a cured ham bone, which vets said were more dangerous.

Mr Lancaster, 35, said: “Burtie was part of the family and we absolutely adored him. He was very cute and was popular with friends and other dog walkers. His loss has come as a great shock, but we are determined some good should come of it. We want people to be aware of the dangers involved in giving your dog a bone – particularly cured or cooked ones – and are calling on supermarkets to stop selling them.”

Ms Carey, 34, said: “It seems unbelievable, and perverse, that a potentially lethal product can be packaged up as a dog treat and sold to unsuspecting pet owners. These products should be taken off the shelves to prevent more, inevitable, heartache.”

The couple, who were left with a £2,300 vet bill, are now seeking compensation from Tesco and urging the retail giant to stop stocking the bones.

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  1. My 36kg greyhound almost died from one of these two years ago and I raised hell, but was ignored. I’d love to talk to this family about doing a news story to pass on concern.
    My Samson was new to treats, munched it superfast, and the next day needed emergency surgery to take all the small compacted bits that had blocked his intestine out.
    Had I not been home that day, had I not been aware of his discomfort, he would have died from a ruptured intestine.
    My vet was stunned when I said it was a supermarket treat, I contacted them and complained but it is still on sale.

  2. Very sad story – rest in peace little one.

    Thanks to K9 for publishing this article and highlighting the dangers of cooked bones. I only ever bought one and saw first hand how much they splintered.

  3. My dog is never given a cooked bone as it may splinter and leave pieces in the intestine. She is only given natural rolled rawhide and I keep an eye on her while she is chewing on it. If a dog chews a rawhide too fast then this is the wrong treat for the dog.

  4. I often care for friends dogs, and was concerned about bones too. Owner said raw bones are OK. I guess the key to safety is RAW BONES ONLY – NEVER COOKED or PROCESSED BONES!

  5. So sad to read this story poor dog and my heart goes out to the couple big hugs to you.I really hope they sue them big time and that these bones are taken off sale ASAP

  6. we nearly lost out SBT due to a roasted bone we bought him from pets at home !! , the fragments became lodged in his intestine as they dont break down , and the calcium make it turn to like a cement in their intestines ! freddie had to have 2 life saving operations and thankfully due to him having a fantastic vet and us spotting the signs soon he survived it . I did contact pets at home and they didnt even receive a reply !!!

  7. What a sad story. This is why no cooked bone should ever be fed to a dog. Raw bones are completely different as they don’t splinter. My dogs are all raw fed and have bones daily, chicken, rabbit, pork, lamb, and turkey, but no big beef leg bones as they could break teeth.

  8. I have heard of so many heartbreaking stories like yours, that i refuse to give my dogs any bones of any shape or size, ive even heard of a friends bulldog who choked on a rawhide bone from pets at home, they chew it, it goes all soft and sticky, they yank bits off, cant actually chew it to a small size so attempt to swallow, and end up choking, i only give my dogs biscuits they can eat happily for their teeth, ie, shape biscuits, or marrowbones,
    such a sad story, and i agree the shops should definitely stop selling bones advertising for dogs,

    1. We have just had the most awful experience of seeing our lovely greyhound (Alan aged 8.5) die after having a shrinkwrapped bone bought from a shop which compacted in his intestine. The vet operated and tried to remove it and Alan was on pain relief, etc but had to be put down after 48 hours due to peritonitus. It was really horrible for him. Please do not take the risk of giving these bones to your beloved dog. The vet fees are £3,000 with a chunk going as VAT at 20% to the Government… what is that about? Life can be s..t sometimes!!! If only we could turn the clock back a couple of days.

    2. Yes, the rawhide chews are just as lethal. Rawhide swells in the stomach and if a largeish piece is swallowed, it can swell and cause a fatal obstruction.

  9. It is amazing how many bad things are out their for pets, and for this family it is terrible and wishes go out to them.
    This is why when I opened my pet business I said I would not sell what everyone else sell in sence of standard high street/supermarket products I knew how bad they was. I sell natural health products and focus on educating owners and letting them see their is another choice.
    Ok I dont have the customers coming in like the people who have all the “junk food” products and I have to work harder….but at least I am bringing a different approach to the High Street.
    If I would not eat nor am I pre-pared to give it to my dog.

  10. Unfortunately it isn’t just the supermarkets who sell these lethal bones. All the pet shops do as well.
    These are cooked bones which can splinter and cause terrible damage & should not be on any shelves at all!

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