Attracted by the cooking smells and taste, the pup ate hundreds of bristles from a BBQ cleaning brush – and nearly died twice as a result
A labradoodle has escaped death twice after eating ‘razor-sharp bristles’ from a barbecue cleaning brush.
The 20-month-old pup, named Riley, has twice swallowed potentially deadly spikes after licking a wire cleaning brush.
Owner Leon Tomasevic, from Nottingham, is calling for a ban on the cheap, flimsy brushes whose bristles shed easily and can perforate internal organs, causing fatal bleeding.
“The first time was at home, when he’d gone out in the garden in the morning as a puppy and found the barbecue brush lying around,” says Leon, 39.
“We had absolutely no idea of the dangers but when he started chewing at it, because of the flavours and scents of the cooking, the tiny bristles just came off.
“He was sick within minutes and our vets were incredibly worried. There were literally hundreds of bristles, and it would have been impossible to operate and get them all out.”
The only option was to bulk-feed Riley, giving him repeated meals of pasta, bread and mashed potato to try to help the bristles pass through naturally without causing damage.
Thankfully, it worked after a few days, but on the second occasion the family were visiting friends and were not aware there was a barbecue with a brush in the garden.
Before they could do anything, hungry Riley had chewed at the brush head, ingesting the razor-sharp bristles.
“I saw he’d gone quiet, which is generally a sign of mischief, and my heart sank when I saw what he was doing,” said Leon. “I couldn’t believe it had happened again.
“It was a Sunday so I called Vets Now straight away and got him along as fast as I could.
“He was sick in the car and then he had to be sedated for the X-rays, which showed he was absolutely full to the brim of little wire bristles in his stomach and intestines.”
After the X-ray and careful examination, Riley was allowed home to follow the same bulk feeding regime. Once again it worked, but having seen his dog face death twice, Leon thinks more needs to be done.
“These brushes should be banned, they are absolutely deadly,” said Leon. “If you scrub a grill with a cheap one, you’ll see these bristles just fly off and they are real killers.”
With many bank holiday revellers likely to enjoy a barbecue over the weekend, vets are urging dog owners to be on their guard.
Emergency care provider, Vets Now, has seen cases of barbecue-related injuries almost double since 2019.
The 99% increase includes dogs eating skewers, charcoal, dangerous corn on the cobs, and – like as seen with Riley – wire cleaning brushes with lethal spikes.