A COUPLE fear their beloved pet which died on Christmas Day was killed by a dog treat.

Miniature schnauzer Burtie fell ill after eating a bone sold by a major supermarket chain and died on a vet’s operating table on December 25.

Owners James Lancaster and Anna Carey, of Warwick Road, Worthing, believe the two-year-old’s agonising death was caused by a Bob Martin Premium Ham Bone, bought from Tesco in Church Road, Hove, becoming lodged in his stomach.

The supermarket and the manufacturers have both vowed to investigate after Burtie’s death.

On Christmas Eve Mr Lancaster and Ms Carey took Burtie to Grove Lodge Veterinary Hospital in Worthing where an X-ray showed fragments of bone stuck in Burtie’s stomach and intestines.

Despite the best efforts to save Burtie, they had to make the difficult decision to put him to sleep after finding there was not enough healthy stomach tissue left to save him.

Grove Lodge vet Marc Abraham said: “It looks like the particular cause of the tissue death was down to the bone – whether it was the pressure or a rupture.

“The bottom line is you always have to be incredibly wary with bones.

“We would say to people think very carefully and consider the alternatives before giving your dog a bone. It is just not worth it as there are plenty of perfectly safe treats out there.”

The distraught couple are now seeking compensation for their vet’s bills from the supermarket and urging shops to remove the bones from sale.

Ms Carey, 34, said: “It seems unbelievable, and perverse, that a potentially lethal product can be packaged up as a dog treat and sold to unsuspecting pet owners.

“These products should be taken off the shelves to prevent more, inevitable, heartache.”

Mr Lancaster, 35, added: “Burtie was part of the family and we absolutely adored him.

“His loss has come as a great shock, but we are determined some good should come of it.

“We want people to be aware of the dangers involved in giving your dog a bone – particularly cured or cooked ones – and are calling on supermarkets to stop selling them.”

A spokeswoman for both Bob Martin and Tesco said it would be investigating the situation.

The spokeswoman for Bob Martin also expressed her condolences to the couple.

She added: “We understand James and Anna’s concerns and our quality team will be review- ing the product and the safety messaging so we can best prevent a reoccurrence.

“However, until we have fully investigated this situation, we are unable to comment on the specifics of this case.”

She added that all Bob Martin bones carry a warning ‘supervise when feeding as bone could splinter’ and ‘while bones are sourced to minimise this chance, it cannot be 100% avoided’.