Vets urge owners to keep corn on the cob away from their dogs

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is advising anyone having a barbecue this Bank Holiday Weekend to keep corn cobs and discarded kebab skewers away from inquisitive pets to avoid serious and potentially fatal injuries.

The advice comes after our survey revealed that a quarter of companion animal vets had treated pets for injuries caused by barbecues last summer.

The most common barbecue injuries vets saw last year were a result of pets eating corn cobs (seen by 56% of companion animal vets), followed closely by damage to the mouth or internal injuries from kebab skewers and cooked bones. Vets also reported treating dogs for burns received from eating hot food off the grill or touching the barbecue or hot coals.

In one case, a dog required surgery to remove obstruction caused by cooked corn on the cob and the metal skewers used to hold it. Another vet reported seeing two wooden skewer ingestion cases last summer, one of them a result of barbecue remains left behind in a public park.

BVA junior vice president Daniella Dos Santos said: “Dogs are well known scavengers and will eat anything they think is a tasty morsel. Corn itself is not poisonous to dogs, but a cob can cause an obstruction which can have devastating effects on the digestive system, such as intestinal rupture.

“Symptoms of gastrointestinal blockage include vomiting, inappetence, lethargy and pain. If an owner has any concerns that their dog has eaten something it should not have done, we’d advise contacting a local vet immediately.”

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