A Staffordshire bull terrier puppy with a penchant for pilfering was packed off for emergency surgery – after swallowing a sock.
To date, five-month-old George has munched his way through 15 pairs of socks belonging to owners Kathryn and Mark Danby, from Consett, County Durham, and their daughters Millie and Imogen.
George raids the washing machine, drawers and radiators in search of socks, and has also eaten the hands and feet off Imogen’s collection of Barbie dolls, swallowed stones from the back garden and chewed furniture at the family home.
But George’s inquisitive nature almost got the better of him when a sock became stuck in his abdomen.
His owners noticed George was off colour and took him to Prince Bishop Veterinary Hospital for a check-up, where an x-ray revealed he had eaten a sock, some stones and a dog toy.
The operation to remove the items was successful, but did nothing to curb his appetite for socks, so vet Gemma Taylor recommended George had a muzzle until he grows out of it, as the habit can be associated with teething.
Dr Taylor said: “We need to stop it becoming a habit and make sure he doesn’t think it is a game when people take the sock from him.
“He is just very bright and he is making his own entertainment, but unfortunately it is not a healthy habit.
“Kathryn is doing the right things like keeping him in a crate, giving him toys to keep his interest and considering a basket muzzle. Everything has to be kept out of harm’s way for puppies, although that’s difficult in a family home.”
Mrs Danby said: “We are trying to minimise what he can steal. All socks have to be tucked away in drawers or on feet. I have to lock the washing machine door because he’s even pinching them from there.
She added: “It is thanks to the vets at Prince Bishop that he’s okay.”