A doggy high chair has saved the life of a Labrador that has a rare congenital condition meaning it cannot swallow food properly.
Pluto arrived at Battersea’s Brands Hatch centre in February as a severely underweight puppy that continuously brought his food back up.
Tests revealed he had a rare condition called megaoesophagus, meaning the muscles in his oesophagus did not work, so anything Pluto chewed could get stuck in his throat and be fatal.
The solution for Pluto was a Bailey Chair, a high chair for dogs, which was constructed specifically for him at Battersea so he could be fed upright – allowing the food to reach his stomach.
The dog has to stay upright for 10 minutes after eating so his food does not come back up.
Vet Shaun Opperman said: “It’s all about gravity when you feed Pluto, he needs to be fed upright and have all his food in one go.
“At Battersea we put water in the food to hydrate him because he couldn’t even have a drink; it’s a fairly long process. Anything can get stuck in his oesophagus and people need to be really vigilant – even if he eats a small piece of food or fluff off the floor it would put back his progress.”
Pluto has now found a loving home with Alan and Deborah Scoones in Oxfordshire.
Mr Scoones said: “Our daughter Chloe works at Battersea Brands Hatch and fostered Pluto. We fell in love with him and wanted to rehome him, so Chloe taught us all we needed to know about his condition. Now we have a good routine at home with feeding and we all take turns four times a day to give him a meal.”
Pluto knows to get straight into his chair, backs into it unaided and sits waiting for his food to be brought over, Mr Scoones explained.
Pluto has been featured in the new series of Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs on ITV1.