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Heartbreak as pug chokes to death on ‘puppy starter kit’ toy on Christmas Eve

3 min read

A family has shared their heartache after they watched in horror as their pug puppy choked to death on a chew toy on Christmas Eve.

Kieran Elsby, 38, from Bridlington, Yorkshire, purchased the Nylabone Puppy Triple Bone Starter Kit Toy from Pets at Home just hours before his pooch Peppa tragically choked on it and died.

He had visited the store with his family, wife Ivy, 33, and children Noah, 6 and Oliver, 3, just hours earlier to buy the toy for the animal.

Young Oliver has a lung condition and so the family has been told to shield during the coronavirus pandemic, one of the reasons the family decided to get Peppa in the first place.

Speaking to the Daily Star, Mr Elsby said: “I went to Pets at Home on Christmas Eve with my wife and young sons who wanted to buy something for the dog for Christmas.

“We were browsing everything and a customer service representative comes up to us and they started recommending things.

“They gave us a Nylabone puppy starter kit and said that it would be fine for a pug puppy.”

“My son bought the chew with his pocket money and even asked the sales representative if it was safe.”

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But when they got home disaster struck, as the family laid out biscuits for Santa and carrots for Rudolph and the reindeer they decided to treat Peppa to her new toy.

Kieran said: “Later on the kids were putting biscuits and carrots out for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve and didn’t want to leave the dog out and so gave her the chew.

“I saw she was struggling with it so I went over there. I was so confident I could get it out.

“I put my finger in her mouth to get it out and realise what is happening. I tried so hard to get it out but could see there was even blood.

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“In that 15 minutes I was trying to save the dog and the kids were just screaming. They were asking ‘why is the dog blue?’”

Ivy quickly phoned the vets to try and get help but tragically, the poor pooch passed away.

“On Christmas day my son stood at the top of the stars asking his elf if he could wake up from this horrible dream,” Kieran added. “We got him a PS5, which have been quite hard to come by, but he didn’t want to play with it.”

Kieran says that after taking Peppa to the vet he was told that the chew toy was not suitable for a puppy of her size, despite being labelled as a “Puppy Starter Kit”.

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After informing the store of this, he says that he has been left disappointed by Pets at Home’s response following the incident – and that no one has apologised to his family for what has happened.

He claims to have been told by the company’s head office that it has never received reports of this nature before – although product reviews on the Pets at Home website show other pet owners flagging the product as a choking hazard.

Mr Elsby says he now wants the product taken off the shelves to prevent other families suffering the heartache that he and his loved ones experienced.

He also wants toys in Pets at Home stores to have firmer guidelines around exactly which breeds they may be suitable for.

“It’s not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing,” Kieran said. “A pug puppy is very different to a great dane, for instance.

“The vet said that toy should not have been given to a puppy of Peppa’s size.”

A Pets at Home spokesperson said: “We are extremely sad to hear of the death of Peppa and our thoughts are with the family.

“This product is a worldwide brand which is sold by many retailers both on the high street and online.

“We are, as a matter of urgency, investigating the product in conjunction with the product’s manufacturer, and will remove the product from sale until our investigations have concluded.”

Daily Star has contacted Nylabone for comment.

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