Given half a chance, some dogs will eat anything, regardless of whether it is actually edible or not.
Meet Cyril, the nine-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who gave his owners quite a fright when he got his paws on a 'Clarabel' toy - a famous character from Thomas the Tank Engine.
His family realised something was wrong when Cyril stopped eating and started vomiting. His worried owner Lesley Mellor, 40, rushed him to Plymouth PDSA Pet Hospital, The Gwen Rees Centre, where an x-ray revealed the surprising object. He was taken straight to the operating theatre, where PDSA vet David Jones carried out the life-saving surgery.
David says, "Whenever a dog swallows a foreign object, there is a very real risk of a blockage in the intestines, which could be fatal. So once we'd x-rayed Cyril we took him straight into theatre to operate. Surgery like this is very risky because you never know what you might find, or what damage the object might have caused."
Luckily, the toy train carriage was successfully removed and Cyril recovered quickly. The next day he was well enough to return him to Lesley and her son Cameron.
Lesley adds, "We were really worried about Cyril because he was so poorly, and needed a big operation. But I knew he was in the best place and would be taken care of. We were all relieved when we received the phone call to say the operation had gone well. I can't thank PDSA enough for getting Cyril back home to his family."
Every year, PDSA vets see hundreds of cases like Cyril where pets have eaten something they shouldn't, including golf balls, tent pegs, rubber ducks and even knives.
David continues, "As well as using their mouths to eat, dogs also use them to investigate objects. But in doing so they can swallow an item by mistake. This behaviour is known as 'pica' and can have disastrous consequences, which is why it's important to keep small items away from hungry dogs.
"Cyril is just one of the lucky pets to benefit from PDSA's emergency service which has received generous funding from players of People's Postcode Lottery. Thanks to their support we're able to provide thousands of life-saving treatments across the UK."