Warning: This post contains images that may be upsetting to some. Discretion is advised.

Dog lovers understand the importance of keeping our dogs occupied. Toys don’t just make our pups happy. They stimulate their senses and motivate exercise. But finding toys that are safe is becoming more and more challenging.

Large breed dog owners have to be careful when giving a toy that is either too small (a choking hazard) or a toy that is easy to destroy (waste of money and possibly a choking hazard).

*A happy, healthy Poppy courtesy of Foxhall Veterinary Clinic/Facebook

When you find the right toy for your strong pup, keeping an eye on them during playtime AND chew time is essential.

Pet parents Helen and James Hartley are the proud owners of Poppy. Poppy loves to play with rubber balls. The Hartleys assumed that the rubber ball they gave to Poppy was safe and allowed her to have this toy while at work. However, when they came home from work, Poppy’s tongue got stuck inside the air hole of the rubber ball.

At first, Helen and James had no idea how to remove it. Finally, after struggling, they were able to free poor Poppy. Poppy’s tongue was left with two large red lines that were indented into the tissue. Her parents figured the lines would go away on their own.

But then, Poppy began to behave strangely so her parents took her to the Foxhall Veterinary Clinic. Poppy was examined and her tongue was swollen. She was able to eat a treat so the vet figured she would be okay. The vet prescribed medication to help the swelling and asked that Poppy come back the following day to make sure she was alright.

The vet kept a watchful eye on Poppy over the next several days. But as the days progressed, Poppy’s tongue worsened! It began to smell foul and the tissue itself became necrotic. It was terrible!

*Poppy’s tongue as it became necrotic, courtesy of Foxhall Veterinary Clinic/Facebook

The clinic said:

“Unfortunately the red line gradually changed into bruising, the bruises then started to smell and formed white plaques on top, which eventually turned black, necrotic and died off. Poor Poppy was left with two great big slits on either side of her tongue where the ball had been and was struggling to eat and drink because of this, so she was booked in for surgery with Sophie our Vet!

During the surgery, Sophie removed all the dead tissue and stitched the tongue back together. The surgery was successful and our Nurses couldn’t believe it when Poppy ate and drank as soon as she woke up!”

While Poppy is thankfully okay, this is a lesson to all pet parents.

PLEASE do not leave your pets unattended with any toys or bones. You never know what can happen. If you’re leaving to go to work and do not crate your dog, check any spaces he or she can get into. Check for anything that could be a potential hazard. You never know what trouble they may get into.

We do not have any information on what type of ball Poppy was playing with. This info hasn’t been released. If it does, we will update this article!