1. ITV Report

Vet's x-ray sheds light on pet dog's strange eating habits

An x-ray showing the fairy lights inside Charlie, a 7-year-old crossbreed dog from Southampton. Photo: Press Association

It could have been "lights out" for a dog that swallowed a foot of Christmas fairy lights if a team of vets had not performed life-saving surgery.

Charlie, a seven-year-old crossbreed dog from Southampton, was saved by surgeons from the veterinary charity PDSA after wolfing down his family's Christmas lights.

And the dog has a track record for getting his paws, and teeth, on household objects, having once eaten his owner Sharon Fay's scarf.

Ms Fay, who aptly refers to her dog as the "light of her life", became concerned when she noticed bits of wire sticking out of Charlie's faeces in the garden.

I hadn't even noticed that the lights had been chewed at this stage but it quickly became clear what had happened.

Back in March he ate one of my scarves and needed an operation to remove it, but I thought it was just a one-off incident as he hadn't shown any signs that he was going to be a repeat offender. I've had dogs all my life and have never known a dog act like this before.

– Charlie's owner Sharon Fay
Charlie has made a full recovery following his surgery. Credit: Press Association

An X-ray immediately shed a light on Charlie's problem - the tangled remains of the decorations clearly showed up in his stomach.

Vets rushed Charlie to the operating table and removed the Christmas decorations, also finding a shoelace.

PDSA senior veterinary surgeon Sophie Bell said that she had never seen a case like this before.

"Over the years I've seen plenty of cases of dogs swallowing strange objects - socks, dummies, rubber ducks, but it's the first time any of us have treated a dog that has actually eaten fairy lights," she said.

"A foreign body of this nature could easily have caused severe internal injuries so Charlie was very, very lucky. He was also fortunate that the glass didn't cut his mouth or throat. And he could have been electrocuted if he'd bitten through the wire when the lights were switched on.

"With the Christmas season upon us, I'd advise owners to keep any edible items out of reach of inquisitive pets to avoid them from becoming ill over the festive season."

An x-ray showed Charlie had swallowed a foot of Christmas lights. Credit: Press Association

Charlie returned home and has since gone on to make a full recovery, much to the delight of his owner.

Ms Fay said: "I'll certainly be keeping an extra close eye on him from now on and have Charlie-proofed my house now."