Rambunctious Labrador Puppy Shatters 55-gallon Aquarium

Physics teacher Carol Richardson of Lothian, MD, was out to dinner with her husband Robert when she realized what must have happened to Bayley. Prior to leaving the house that night, the Richardsons noticed a small amount of blood on their black Labrador retriever’s paw. After some investigating, Robert discovered that their 55-gallon tortoise aquarium had been shattered and concluded that the dogs must’ve done it while playing. Aside from the small amount of blood on Bayley’s paw, all four of the dogs appeared to be perfectly fine and their 30-year-old tortoise was unscathed. Little did they know, their furry family member would soon be rushed to the emergency animal hospital, and his unusual incident would place him in the running for the 2012 VPI Hambone Award.   

“My husband and I were in the middle of our meal when it suddenly occurred to me: in order to create a force strong enough to break the glass, Bayley must’ve hit the aquarium full-force with his chest. I immediately called my son and had him check. Sure enough, Bayley had a gash on his chest that was two inches long. My husband and I left dinner and took him to the emergency animal hospital right away.” 

The 14-month-old puppy was sedated and his laceration was closed with surgical staples. According to Carol, the most difficult part of Bayley’s recovery was keeping their active puppy calm and quiet for the next two weeks. The Richardsons were happy to report that their four-legged family member has made a full recovery and the couple is much more cognizant about keeping dangerous objects out of reach. “We’ve had turtles and dogs for many years, and the aquarium has never been a problem. However, none of the dogs have been quite as strong or rambunctious as Bayley,” said Carol. “The incident has certainly taught us to re-evaluate what we keep within their reach.”

“Anytime you introduce a new companion to your home, it’s a good idea to ‘pet proof’ the space, even if other pets are already living there,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Take into consideration the fact that different breeds can encounter different hazards. For example, a smaller dog might be able to crawl under a couch or access hidden electrical cords, while a larger dog like Bayley may be strong enough to break bigger objects.”         

Though Bayley bounced back fairly quickly, the incident reinforced his pet parents’ decision to purchase pet insurance. “This is exactly why we have VPI Pet Insurance,” said Carol. “We love our pets and we don’t want anything to happen to them. It’s important to me to know that we can take care of them no matter what.”

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