A furious dog owner has lashed out at Kmart after she claims her pooch was nearly killed by a popular $5 chew toy.
Lauren Hill spotted the bargain teething toy at the Maroochydore Kmart store earlier this year and thought it would be a great gift for her adorable one-year-old pug Wombat.
The 35-year-old from the Sunshine Coast said her dog seemed to love it and the toy soon became a favourite in Wombat’s collection.
“I’d bought the toy in my local Kmart and had it about a month or so before all this happened,” she said.
“It was a teething toy that was called a dental bone, so my interpretation was that you could let your dog chew on it without much worry.”
But a month later, Lauren became concerned after he started vomiting for no reason - and after a panicked trip to the vet, made a shocking discovery.
“We noticed that Wombat was vomiting every morning, which was completely off character for him,” she explained.
“We took him to the vet, who gave us some anti-nausea tablets and said to keep an eye on him. He was on them for four days with no improvement.”
Wombat had managed to tear a piece from the plastic toy and a large portion became lodged inside his small intestine, making him incredibly sick.
“They did a scan, and saw something in his small intestine that they thought might be a rock. We do have some decorative rocks in our yard so I thought it was possible.
Lauren claims her vet warned that without surgery, Wombat would die – so she forked out $2,200 to save her beloved pet’s life and thankfully, he is now fully recovered.
“We said absolutely, do what you need to do. And when they brought it back up it was a green plastic lump and I knew it was that Kmart toy.”
Lauren, a customer success manager, is now raising awareness of the alleged dangers of the popular Kmart toy in the hopes that it might save a dog’s life.
“I posted about it online and had a friend who told me the exact same thing happened with their dog, but luckily it was a bigger breed and it had passed through,” she said.
“Then my vet told me that they did surgery on a dog the week before because of the same toy.
“So I think it is actually quite common which is really scary.”
Lauren has since reached out to Wesfarmers insurance – Kmart’s insurance company - regarding this incident however was told that due to the warning on the label, there was nothing they could do and they were not liable, therefore would not cover any of Wombat’s vet bills.
Lauren claims she was also advised that pets should be supervised with their toys at all times
“I really just want people to be aware, as other dogs might not be so lucky to survive,” she said.
“If it had gone untreated it would have killed him.
“I felt horrible that I’d bought the toy and put him in harm’s way, and also extremely angry that this could happen.
“Generally people buy toys for their dogs to keep them occupied, not to watch them every second they are playing with it.
“I hope Kmart will reconsider having this toy on their shelves. It’s currently on special for just $2 so I’m sure lots of people are buying it.”
A spokesperson for Kmart said “the safety of our customers and team members are our number one priority.”
“We want all members of the family; including our furry friends, to have a safe and positive experience when using our products at home.
“This is why we encourage customers to carefully read through all product care labels, to ensure they are selecting products that reflect their pet’s size and play style.
“We urge anyone who has any concerns or enquiries, to please contact our Customer Service team on 1800 124 125.”
Reporting by Caters News.