Blackpool dog saved by PDSA vets after swallowing cow hoof treat

Veterinary charity, PDSA is warning people about the dangers of cow hoof treats after a dog needed emergency surgery to remove a piece lodged in her stomach.

Three-year old English Bull Terrier, Milly came a cropper after accidently swallowing a piece of her favourite treat.

Milly’s worried owner Jake Hartill, from Blackpool contacted his local PDSA Pet Hospital after his dog came down with a mystery illness. The poorly pooch was really miserable, drooling and foaming at the mouth.

Jake said: “Milly is usually full of beans, so we were all concerned when her mood suddenly changed. She was very restless and drooling everywhere. We’ve always given her cow hooves, so I didn’t immediately make the connection. I just wanted to know what was wrong with her.”

PDSA staff told Jake to bring Milly in straight away.

PDSA vet Jennifer Jackson said: “The x-ray showed that a clear blockage, caused by something that was too big to pass through naturally into her stomach. This was a real threat to Milly’s life as it could tear or permanently damage her delicate gullet. It was essential to operate to remove it as quickly as possible.

“Surgery wasn’t straight forward and it was touch-and-go as to whether Milly would pull through. We thought we might need to perform a high-risk open-chest surgery and cut into her gulley. Fortunately, we didn’t and were able to safely remove the piece of cow hoof. However, she wasn’t out of the woods yet. Once she’d recovered from her anaesthetic, we still needed to help Milly on the road to recovery.”

Jake added: “It was gut-wrenching seeing Milly in such a bad way. It was the worst few days of my life and we were all on edge the whole time she was in surgery.”

After an intense 24 hours, Milly was able to return to her family to continue her recovery, with regular check-ups to monitor her progress.

Jake continued: “I am hugely grateful to PDSA for the care and treatment Milly received. They went above and beyond, and words can’t express how thankful I am to them for saving my dog’s life. They said Milly’s treatment cost over £1200 and there is no way I could have afforded this without PDSA’s help. They looked after Milly so well that she wanted to stay at the hospital instead of coming home.

“It’s safe to say I won’t be giving her any more cow hooves going forward. We are now a lot more careful with Milly when it comes to food.”

PDSA vet Jennifer recommends reviewing the ‘treats’ you give your dog. She added: “They may be your dog’s favourite treat, but cases like Milly’s prove just how dangerous hooves and bones can be. When chewed they can splinter, causing puncture wounds and potentially tearing delicate insides. Larger pieces of bone can cause blockages, which can probe fatal. Even if you avoid these serious complications, these ‘treats’ commonly cause uncomfortable constipation.

“We would advise sticking to dog-friendly chew toys (suitable for their size) that help to keep your dog’s teeth clean and don’t present the same choking or blockage risks. There are also many pet-safe chew treats available, but we’d always recommend avoiding products sold that contain whole bones, hooves or raw hide.

“Contact your vet immediately if your pet has swallowed something they shouldn’t have or are showing any worrying symptoms, such as vomiting without being able to keep any food down, becoming very lethargic or severe tummy pain. If your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t, you should never just wait to see if a problem develops – always contact your vet as there’s a possibility that your pet could become very ill, or even die without treatment.”

For more advice on what to do if you suspect your dog has swallowed something they shouldn’t, visit