B.C. man issues warning after beloved dog dies from choking on ball

A man from Salmon Arm, B.C., says his dog, Jack, died this weekend after choking on a hard, rubber ball that got lodged in its throat. Brent Ross says he’s sharing his sad experience so that others may consider alternatives for their beloved family dog. Submitted

WARNING: This story contains subject matter that could be disturbing to some readers.

A B.C. man whose dog died from choking is warning others when it comes to pets playing with toys.

Brent Ross of Salmon Arm says his seven-year-old Labrador retriever Jack died this past weekend after a hard, rubber ball lodged in his throat, resulting in asphyxiation.

“I don’t want anyone to ever have to go through this experience and no dog should have to die like Jack,” said Ross, 56.

“So I am trying to share my experience so that others may consider alternatives for their beloved family dog.”

Story continues below advertisement

Ross says he took Jack to a dog park in South Canoe on a routine Sunday, along with two balls that his brown, furry friend could play with. During a previous trip, they lost a ball, but managed to find it on this trip.

The balls were the size of a tennis ball.

Ross said he and Jack met a friend who had a puppy at the park, and Ross let the two dogs play with the three balls.

Brent Ross of Salmon Arm, B.C., with his dog, Jack. Submitted

Ross says at one point, the puppy had one ball in its mouth while Jack had two. When the puppy dropped the ball, Jack quickly scooped it up.

It was a playful move, but it also resulted in one ball lodging in his throat.

Story continues below advertisement

“It was a routine day at the park,” Ross told Global News, adding he’s had dogs his entire life but that he’s never encountered anything like this.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton Humane Society: Keeping your pets safe in the winter when the temperature drops'
Edmonton Humane Society: Keeping your pets safe in the winter when the temperature drops

“If sharing this story will make people think about alternative toys – whether it’s a bigger ball than the dog’s mouth or a Frisbee or something else – that no one else has to watch their dog die in the back of their truck, and the dog’s eyes are rolling over … a perfectly healthy seven-year-old dog, a family member … that’s my goal.”

Ross said a veterinarian told him that a dog would usually ingest a lodged ball. But that didn’t happen in this case.

“I had my hand down his throat and I had two fingers behind the ball trying to push it up, and that thing was lodged in there,” said Ross, who called it a fluke accident.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'Doggy-proofing your car'
Doggy-proofing your car

After trying to frantically remove the ball, Ross rushed Jack into the back of his truck, then tried to find a vet. Jack died en route.

Only after Jack’s death did Ross say he learned of a Heimlich maneuver for dogs.

Seen here with two balls, Jack died of asphyxiation after a ball lodged in his throat. Submitted

More about the Heimlich maneuver for pets can be found on this pet website.

Story continues below advertisement

An Okanagan veterinarian says the Heimlich maneuver can work, but it’s not always successful, noting many factors have to be considered, including time and the size of the lodged object.

“Sometimes it just doesn’t work,” said Dr. Moshe Oz of Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital in West Kelowna. “You see it lots in the movies and every time they do it, it’s successful. It all depends on how it’s lodged inside the throat.”

Click to play video: 'Kidde Canada’s fire safety tips for pet owners'
Kidde Canada’s fire safety tips for pet owners

However, Oz said he’d still try it, but would also concentrate more on opening the mouth and grabbing the ball as much as possible.

Sadly, he said the tragic incident stresses the need for pet owners to educate themselves on life’s possibilities, and what to do if something should happen.

He compared it to how people learning to recognize the signs of a heart attack can save a person’s life.

Story continues below advertisement

“Anything can happen,” said Oz. “The more people know, the more that they are educated, the better.”

Sponsored content