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A dog owner has claimed that his pet pooch was so scarred by becoming sick when he scoffed the remnants of a disposable BBQ that he turned vegetarian.


When Robin Dixon, 60, came across shards of an aluminum tray scattered across his garden, he knew right away that his golden retriever Pluto had tucked into the foil, thinking the meat residue stuck to it was a tasty treat.

Realizing over the next couple of days that his four-legged friend appeared to have a very painful tummy, Robin raced to the vets, where Pluto was given some medicine to help the jagged metal he had swallowed to pass on out.

But another appointment two days later showed both a blockage in 13-year-old Pluto's intestines – and a cancerous tumor on his testicle, which never would have been discovered had he not scoffed the BBQ.

Thankfully, the pet has now recovered – but curiously, he has completely shunned meat following his traumatic experience five months ago, and now loves nothing more than digging up radishes and carrots from the garden.

Program manager Robin, who lives in Maidenhead, Berkshire, with his wife Tanya, 46, a childcare provider, said:

“Pluto has become a vegetarian now. He loves hard vegetables and we also give him rice."

Pluto with Robin home after the operationPA REAL LIFE/VETS NOW

“He's always out in the garden digging up carrots and radishes. He's mad about radishes but carrots are his favorite. If you've got a carrot, he will follow you around."

Robin added:

“Before the incident, we always tried to give him a mix of solid biscuits and tinned meat, as well as allowing him treats like sausages."
“But now, he will turn his nose up at meat, so we've stopped giving it to him."

Pluto eating a carrotPA REAL LIFE/COLLECT

Robin, who has three children aged 20, 18 and 13, who he does not want to name, explained how he adopted Pluto from a rescue center 11 years ago in his native South Africa, where he was living at the time.

Alongside another golden retriever, Venus, who sadly died of cancer in December 2017, Pluto was brought from Johannesburg back to Maidenhead, spending six months in quarantine before he was finally able to go and live with Robin and his family.

“Pluto was about two years old when we got him, we think. He had been bounced between homes and was quite a tough dog."

Pluto home after the operationPA REAL LIFE/COLLECT

He continued:

“When my son was a toddler, he would play with his tail, but Pluto wasn't bothered – he is great with children."
“He has a big heart and loves his walks. Even though he's getting older and struggling now, he doesn't let that worry him."
“He's had a tough upbringing, and wasn't really looked after at the beginning of his life in South Africa, but despite that, he's a really lovely dog."

At first, Pluto followed a typical doggy diet of biscuits and meaty food.

But his carnivorous ways went out of the window following the fateful BBQ incident at the end of April this year.

Robin recalled:

“The day after the family BBQ I went outside and saw the foil disposable tray, which had meat residue on, was scattered all over the garden."

Pluto home after the operationPA REAL LIFE/COLLECT

Robin recalled:

“I gathered all the pieces and put it back together, but there were bits missing. I thought, 'Uh oh, I know where that has gone'."
“I read up on the internet about how dangerous it was for dogs, and how the sharp bits could cut into the intestines or cause a blockage. It could be really nasty."

For the next 48 hours, Robin said Pluto appeared increasingly miserable.

Pluto home after the operationPA REAL LIFE/COLLECT

He added:

“He was not a happy boy, and I became very worried about him."
“He couldn't lie on his tummy and seemed to be in pain in his bottom. He was struggling to sit down and hadn't been to the toilet either."

Worried sick, Robin booked an emergency out-of-hours appointment with Vets Now in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, where they gave him some medication for Pluto's gastrointestinal issues.

But the pooch's problems were far from over.

Robin continued:

“We took him home, and the medication helped him go to the loo – but then, we noticed there was blood in his stools."
“Plus, he had gone off his food completely."

Pluto home after the operationPA REAL LIFE/COLLECT

Two days later, Pluto got an appointment with his regular vet, who decided the pet now needed an ultrasound.

“The ultrasound showed a blockage in his intestines caused by the aluminum foil, so they put him on a very strong painkiller – an opioid – to ease the pain as well as more medication to try and help him pass the remainder of the foil."

Explained Robin:

“The ultrasound also showed that he had a cancerous tumor on his testicle. If he hadn't have eaten the BBQ, they would never have discovered the tumor."

Pluto at the vetsPA REAL LIFE/COLLECT

A couple of days after that, Pluto had a scrotal ablation to remove both his testicles.

At first, he struggled to pass the remainder of the foil which was causing him pain in his belly, and his owners were worried he may not make it.

But after two weeks, he was back to his normal self, wagging his tail and excited about going for walks.

Pluto home after the operationPA REAL LIFE/COLLECT

After speaking to the vet, Robin decided to put Pluto on a wheat-free diet, as it was thought that may be better for his digestive tract.

“We were mixing grain-free fish dog balls with water to help hydrate him."

Robin added:

“We wanted to make sure he was eating stuff that was nutritious."

He said:

“We had also given him some meat dog balls but he seemed to enjoy the meat-free options more. When we gave him the meat version he would have a nibble then walk away."
“We actually ended up giving the bag of meat balls away to a friend because he then decided he wouldn't eat them at all."

With Pluto turning his nose up at meat following the incident, he is now following a vegetarian diet.

Pluto in the vegetable patchPA REAL LIFE/COLLECT

And Robin says that, since making the switch, he has never been healthier, is full of energy and regular as clockwork.

He concluded:

“The BBQ seems to have put him right off meat – he doesn't eat it at all now."
“These days, he is always positive and wagging his tail."

PlutoPA REAL LIFE/COLLECT

Robin explained:

“He's kept his virility and edge, even after the operation. He's like a little mountain lion sometimes when he's protecting the house."
“When he goes to the loo it's not bad smelling and, even though he isn't as steady on his feet due to old age and a bit of arthritis, he doesn't even realize – he's just so full of energy."
“Being vegetarian seems to be working really well."

Laura Playforth, veterinary standards director at Vets Now said:

“As Pluto's case shows, we see a number of unusual barbecue-related injuries and poisonings at this time of year."
“These are often caused by dogs eating cooked bones, developing food poisoning, swallowing things like kebab skewers, or sustaining burn injuries from piping hot food."
“Owners should also be aware that while carrots and radishes are great for dogs in moderation, any fertiliser, plant food or compost used to encourage their growth is likely to be poisonous, so wash any veg thoroughly and avoid using them if possible."
Science Photo Library / Getty Images @Niamhpemx / Twitter

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