Dog owner warns of dangers of dog treat after Chihuahua chokes on it

BOULDER, Colo. -- A dog owner wants to spread the word about the dangers of a dog treat after it lodged in his dog's throat and cost him $3,000 in veterinarian bills.

Lyman Sutherberg gave his dog Kona and his other dog the treats on Christmas. The dog treat was shaped with a toothbrush on one end and an oval shape on the other end.

"I noticed at one point, they kind of got down to a nub and I looked at them and I had a fleeting thought of 'choking hazard,'" Sutherberg said.

Sutherberg watched the dogs continue to chew it and it seemed to pass with no problem. However, over the next few days, Sutherberg noticed Kona couldn't keep food down.

"She couldn’t keep anything down for a minute," Sutherberg said. "Retching immediately after she ate something and almost choking gave me concern."

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At first, Sutherberg thought Kona had a stomach bug. After some research, he realized her symptoms coincided with a blockage.

He took her in and found the oval-shaped side of the treat was lodged in the dog's throat.

"If it's meant to be food and it’s exposed to water and elements for three days and it doesn’t pass, that’s up for discussion, that’s a concern. I feel like that should have softened up and passed on its own," Sutherberg said.

The veterinarian bills cost Sutherberg roughly $3,000. Sutherberg hopes his experience is a lesson to other dog owners to be careful because of how easily it could happen.

"I think the word needs to get out that there is a risk here and more people know of the risk and perhaps they can make adjustments to what they are giving their dogs," Sutherberg said.

"Also manufacturers may take a look and see if there is something they can do better here."

In 2006, a dog owner sued a dog treat company that manufactured a similar product after the treat got lodged in the dog's intestine and the dog died.

Kona is expected to make a full recovery.

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