A daft dog has bounced back from life-saving surgery after swallowing his favourite ball during a game of fetch.

Labradoodle Ringo was rushed to St Peter’s Vets in Petersfield by his owner George Hickman when the ball they’d been playing with on a walk disappeared.

Although Ringo initially seemed fine, George became increasingly worried when the pooch started vomiting.

An ultrasound examination at the vet practice in St Peter’s Road showed the ball was sitting in Ringo’s stomach and causing a dangerous blockage, so the decision was made to prepare him for surgery.

The vet practice has urged dog owners to be extra cautious when throwing balls for their pets.

Seven-year-old Ringo’s operation was performed by vet Abi Warby, who said he’s the first dog she’s treated that swallowed an entire ball.

Abi said: “We see dogs that have chewed up a ball or toy before eating it, but it’s very unusual for them to swallow one whole. It’s possible Ringo’s ball collapsed in on itself which made it easier for him to swallow, then it popped open again when it was inside his stomach.

“It was very important we removed the ball because it was acting like a plug and stopping food leaving Ringo’s stomach and making its way through his digestive system, which was the reason he was being sick. There was also a risk the ball could make its way into the intestines and cause them to rupture.

“Sometimes, when a pet has swallowed a foreign object, we use a long tube called an endoscope to bring it out the way it went in, but in Ringo’s case the ball was too big to do this. This meant surgery was the only option, but luckily it was straightforward because we’d been able to find the exact location of the ball using ultrasound. I made one incision and lifted the ball out.”

Following Ringo’s experience, Abi is urging dog owners to choose an appropriately-sized ball for their pet, to avoid the same happening to them.

She added: “Although we wouldn’t recommend playing fetch with dogs because of the wear and tear it causes to their joints, a lot of pets do enjoy playing with a ball. Make sure you choose one that is large enough they can’t swallow it or get it stuck so it causes an obstruction to their airway.”

Ringo is now back at home with George and his family in Petersfield and his owner has praised the veterinary team that saved his dog’s life. 

George said: “After his operation, Ringo stayed at the vet’s overnight and next morning he was back to normal – he’s a very lively, bubbly dog and you wouldn’t have known he’d had surgery just a few hours before. I’m really grateful to the team at St Peter’s Vets for saving him. He was in very good hands and they were brilliant at keeping us informed about how the operation went and how Ringo was recovering – I can’t thank them enough.”