A HILLINGDON woman is warning owners to keep hazardous items out of pets’ reach after her puppy was forced to undergo surgery to remove a sponge from her stomach.

Cookie, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Jack Russell cross, was at home with the Benton family when she ate a cleansing sponge which had fallen out of a visitor’s handbag.

Though she was initially fine, the next morning the family realised something was wrong with their beloved pooch.

Cookie’s owner, Jessica Benton, a self-employed beautician, said: “She didn’t greet me as usual and seemed quite glum.”

She added: “We were very worried and I took her straight to Goddard Vet Group in Hayes End.”

Once in the hands of experts, Cookie underwent a life-saving operation to remove the sponge.

Vet Hazel Lee said: “The sponge had swollen inside Cookie and was blocking the entrance to her stomach. If we hadn’t removed it quickly, it could have killed her.”

Cookie is now on the mend, but her owner realises it could have been a very different story.

Jessica said: “It’s been a lesson to us that many dogs really will eat anything and to make sure anything remotely dangerous is safely out of their reach.”