Pet owners complain about toys

February 3, 2012 2:55:20 PM PST
It squeaks, it's colorful, and at over 20 inches long, the Crazy Critters chew toy is marketed as safe for all dog sizes, but pet owner Chuck Gavazzi told ABC11 that was not his experience.

When he got home from work recently, he said his 18-month-old Golden Doogle "Wilson" was sick.

"His crate was filled with vomit," said Gavazzi.

No matter what Wilson ate or drank, Gavazzi said it came right back up. He took his pet to the veterinarian.

"Couldn't really see a lot on the x-ray, so they did a barium study, and that was to see if he was able to digest anything, and the study results was that he couldn't pass anything, there was a blockage," Gavazzi explained.

Gavazzi said Wilson swallowed a Crazy Critters toy.

"After he swallowed this toy, it worked its way into the stomach and into the small intestine, and it would never passed, it would have eventually killed him if no one did anything about it," said Gavazzi.

The veterinarian operated on Wilson and removed the obstruction. The veterinarian told ABC11 that the toy had been partially digested, and she could no longer tell what brand it was. She did say it was so long that she had to cut it into sections to remove it.

Wilson is now expected to make a full recovery.

Gavazzi isn't the only pet owner to complain about the Crazy Critters.

"He immediately swallowed it. He didn't choke; he just swallowed the whole thing," said Kelly McGovern about her dog "Clark."

The McGovern's vet told them to monitor Clark, and within a week, she was sick.

"He started vomiting, and it was about five times," she said.

Through x-rays, McGovern said the vet was able to see an unstuffed toy still inside Clark. More than 20 inches of a toy were successfully removed through surgery.

McGovern showed the toy to ABC11.

There is a note on the Crazy Critters packaging warning owners to supervise pets when playing with toys. It also says to stop using the toy if it is damaged. There is no warning about swallowing.

McGovern said she was watching Clark as he played with the toy, but it happened so fast, she couldn't get the toy out of his mouth.

Gavazzi said his dog had never swallowed a toy before, but after his scare - and a $1,200 veterinary bill - he wants his experience to be a warning for other pet owners.

"It's scary because they don't tell you on any piece of literature that comes with the product that there is this kind of danger," he offered. "I really think there should be something said that a dog can swallow it."

"Just be careful. If you have them, watch them carefully, because being swallowed or ingested by a dog can kill them," he continued.

Telebrands, the company that sells the Crazy Critters, had no comment on both cases.

McGovern's family did take it further and hired an attorney to get Clark's vet bills paid for. While admitting no fault and putting the blame on the McGovern’s for not supervising Clark while he played with the toy, the insurance company did agree to pay $500 of the dog's bill, which the McGovern’s declined.

However, the McGovern’s told us just this week their attorney got a call from the insurance company who agreed to pay Clark’s full vet bill of $1,100, plus attorney fees. The McGovern’s said they are just waiting for the check and are happy with the outcome.

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