Dog owners are being warned to keep food recycling caddies out of reach of children and animals after a beloved family pet died as a result of eating highly toxic mould.
Sarah Dent’s pooch Dexter licked mould left by discarded bread from the inside of their caddy after it had been blown over during high winds last Friday.
“I hadn't washed it out as it had only contained mouldy bread. Little did I know then that bread mould and its residue are in fact highly toxic,” she said.
Within minutes Dexter started fitting so he was rushed from their Bovingdon home to the Wheelhouse Veterinary Centre in Chesham, with Mrs Dent unaware that he had been sick in the back porch.
Since her husband was at work and she had her three young children in tow, Mrs Dent was told by the vet to go home and await an update.
When she returned home however she found Dexter’s canine companion Georgie lying on the kitchen floor in the same state.
She was also taken to the vet where she underwent emergency treatment in an attempt to reverse the toxic shock. Both dogs were placed in induced comas.
Over the coming days Georgie’s condition improved but Dexter continued to deteriorate, suffering multiple organ failure before the decision was taken to put him down.
Mrs Dent said: “This totally devastated me, my husband, and our three children. Dexter was a massive part of our family, and it's so heart-breaking that his death could have been avoided.”
To raise awareness of the little-known issue, Mrs Dent has shared her story across various social media sites, with her vet also speaking to radio stations in a bid to get the word out.
“Not one person that contacted me out of thousands knew that their recycling caddies and this mould was a killer to their dogs. Scarily this would have the same effect on cats, other wildlife or even a young child if consumed,” she said.
“I don’t want our beloved Dexter to die in vain. My job was to keep him safe and I failed him because I had never been informed about this very easy bit of information that every household should be told before they are asked to keep these toxins in their homes.
“The circumstances of Dexter’s death will always haunt us but I hope by raising awareness that more animals and children aren't fatally poisoned.
“I believe my dog wouldn’t have died if I had known that one small piece of information.”