Pug swallows 11 Hungry Hungry Hippos balls, owner warns others to watch what pets eat | Ralph-Lauren

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A hungry, hungry pug in southern Queensland has made a lucky recovery after eating 11 plastic balls from a popular children’s tabletop game this week.

Toowoomba woman Meg Menhinnit was playing Hungry Hungry Hippos with her three-year-old son, who had just received the tabletop game as a birthday present, when she noticed her dog Sherman holding one of the yellow balls in his mouth.

“We said ‘drop it Sherm’ and he swallowed it,” she said.

“Then we started counting how many hippo balls were left and it seemed like there weren’t many left out of 24 balls.”

She rushed the pug to a local vet, where he was given an injection to induce vomiting — but neither she or the vet were prepared for what came up.

“To my shock he’d eaten 11 of the balls within just a couple of minutes,” she said.

Adorable but concerned-looking pug staring into the camera.
From rocks to glitter, Sherman is racking up a history of strange meal choices.(Supplied: Meg Menhinnit)

Ms Menhinnit said the balls were roughly the size of a jaffa lolly and made of “solid plastic”.

“When I realised he’d eaten 11 I felt really quite panicked and really, really glad we got him down to the vet that quickly, because he might have had trouble passing them from the back end.”

Glitter, rocks also on the menu

Sherman was busted for another secret snack during the procedure, when the vet found star glitter in his stomach.

“I’m really not sure where it came from,” Ms Menhinnit said.

The almost four-year-old dog has a history of questionable dietary choices, beginning with a tendency to eat rocks as a puppy, which required behavioural medication.

The plastic Hungry Hungry Hippos game.
The Hungry Hungry Hippos game in action.(Supplied: Meg Menhinnit)

“He would walk around all day with a rock in his mouth,” she said.

“You would tell him to drop it and he’d just swallow it.

After a “sore and sorry” few hours following his vet trip, Sherman had perked up enough to ask for dinner.

He is now fully recovered.

Pug sitting on top of young child lying on sofa.
Sherman is ‘best friends’ with Meg Menhinnit’s three-year-old son Oscar.(Supplied: Meg Menhinnit)

Warning to pet owners

While she can laugh about the incident now, Ms Menhinnit wants to warn other pet owners to keep a close eye on their animals around small toys and to act quickly if they suspect they have eaten something untoward.

“All’s well that ends well … but if we held off for another hour or so it, could have been different,” she said.

Ellie Burnett from Toowoomba Family Vets said the sooner an animal could be brought in, the better the outcome.

A colourful mouse soft toy looking rather worn.
A (since-washed) soft toy Dr Ellie Burnett removed from the stomach of a husky in 2019.(Supplied: Toowoomba Family Vets)

“Even if we do decide that the object needs to be removed surgically, it’s generally an easier, more successful operation when an item is removed from the stomach, as opposed to when it’s travelled through the intestines.”

She said small toys were a common culprit in these cases, and should be kept well out of reach of pets.

“We’ve had one cat that’s ingested nerf gun bullets on two separate occasions — he just seemed to really like chewing on the foam,” she said.

Pug sitting on a couch being dressed up by a young boy.
Sherman and Oscar make double the trouble playing together.(Supplied: Meg Menhinnit)

Watch out for Ooshies

In the Menhinnit household, Hungry Hungry Hippos has been put back in the cupboard and is now strictly only for use when Sherman is outside.

“We’ve been very mindful of the Ooshies and the other little things on the floor since then as well,” Ms Menhinnit said.

Fortunately, she said Sherman’s good qualities more than made up for the trouble caused by his gastronomical misadventures.

“He’s so gentle and he’s so loving with our child,” she said.



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