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Labrador Eats 23 Packages of Instant Breakfast, Finds Instant Trouble

Rock March 2010Michelle and Don Juen of Maplewood, Minn., know from experience to keep edibles out of reach of their 4-year-old Labrador retriever Rock. When he was a puppy, Rock devoured a chicken carcass he had found in the trash. Then there was the time he gobbled up Don’s one-a-day vitamins. This past Christmas Rock had his stomach pumped after he managed to find where the Juens had hidden homemade cashew brittle, peppermint bark, and a pound of packaged whole bean coffee. So it didn’t come as a surprise last month when Rock ate 23 packages of instant breakfast powder.

“We had bought one of those bulk size boxes of instant breakfast shake mix at the store,” Michelle Juen explained. “We put it way back on the counter before we left the house again that evening thinking, ‘Oh, Rock can’t get to it back there.’”

Upon returning home that night, Michelle and Don discovered that not only had Rock reached the box on the counter, he had broken into it and eaten much of its contents. “There was brown, sticky powder all over the floor,” Michelle said. “It was a mess.” As Michelle was cleaning up, she realized that not all of the packages were accounted for. “I thought, ‘Wait a minute… There are a lot of packages missing.”

With Rock’s regular veterinary office closed for the day, the Juens took their very full dog to an emergency hospital. Vomiting was induced, and the missing 23 packages of instant breakfast were found. “The veterinarian told us that that was the biggest pile of packaging he had seen come out of a dog in his life!”

Fortunately for the Juens, Rock suffered no long-term ill effects from the incident. Within minutes of bringing Rock back to their home, the retriever was “bouncing around like a mental case,” Michelle said with a mix of laughter and exasperation.

The Juens are thankful that Rock recovered so quickly and that pet insurance covered much of the costs. “It was after eating the chicken carcass when he was younger that we first asked our veterinarian about pet insurance,” Michelle remembered. “He said, ‘Rock’s only nine months old, and he’s already gotten a staph infection from swimming in a polluted lake and eaten this chicken. I’d say he’s a good candidate for insurance.”

What advice does Michelle have for owners with similarly ravenous pets? “Don’t leave anything on the counter!”

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