Playing with a popular dog toy has ended in tragic loss for one family.
About a week ago, the Stumpfs made the difficult decision of putting their beloved Rottweiler down. Their five-year-old dog, Max, suffered a fatal injury on his tongue after playing with a Kong toy.
“This dog was special,” said owner Jaime Stumpf. “There’s dogs and then there’s thedog, and Max was the dog.”
Max had been playing with the toy when Stumpf’s son Tyler noticed something wrong.
“He said ‘Mom, I think Max’s ball is stuck in his mouth,’” Stumpf said.
She checked and found the ball to be positioned fine.
“He was holding it in the proper position, right in the middle of his mouth,” Stumpf said. “So we played, and he played and he had fun.”
At some point the fun ended and they all went to bed.
“Max jumped on top of me at one in the morning. I reached in to take the ball away and I realized that I couldn’t take it away,” Stumpf said.
The ball was stuck on Max’s tongue.
“There’s no hole on top. There’s a hole on the bottom and it just got sucked on his tongue,” Stumpf said. “So, the more he worked on it to try to get it out, the more it clamped down on his mouth.”
Max was rushed to the pet hospital. Veterinarians had to cut the ball off, but it was too late. Ultimately, it came down to a very difficult decision and he was euthanized.
“I’m not going to let our dog live without a tongue. It’s stupid,” said Stumpf, holding back tears.
Tips on Doggy Chew Toy Safety
- Be sure to buy toys of appropriate size for your dog. Toys that are too small can easily be swallowed or become lodged in your dog’s throat.
- Supervise your dog’s play with squeaky toys: your dog may feel that they must find and destroy the source of the squeaking, which means they could ingest it if left unwatched.
- Avoid or alter any toys that aren’t “dog-proof” by removing ribbons, strings, eyes or other parts that could be chewed off and/or ingested. Discard toys that start to break into pieces or are torn.
Many factors contribute to the safety or danger of a toy, and a number of them depend upon your dog’s size, activity level and preferences. Another thing to consider is the environment where your dog spends their time.
Asked how he feels about the situation, Stumpf said; “What I feel is that the model of this toy that he got ahold of needs to be improved. That’s it. Bottom line, that’s all I care about. Just fix it.”
Just like the gladiator he was named after, Max stayed true to his name — perhaps too true.
“It will always haunt me until the day I die that that dog, as noble as he was, laid next to me in my bed and suffered in silence,” Stumpf said. “He didn’t need to die from that, but he did.”