Miniature schnauzer's near-death experience sparks plea for fishers to clean up beach

The owners of a dog that swallowed a large fish hook while walking on Wellington's Seatoun Beach, are urging those who fish there to clean up after themselves.

Three-year-old miniature schnauzer 'Smokey' was out for a walk with his owner Dilys Grant, when he ran ahead and got tangled in nylon fishing line.

Grant soon realised he had swallowed a large fish hook, and there were several other fish hooks lying nearby.

"I could see the fishing line disappearing down his throat, as well as being wrapped all around his body," she said.

Grant managed to cut the nylon line off Smokey and took him to the local vet.

An X-ray revealed a clear image of a steel fish hook inside Smokey's torso, embedded between his stomach and esophagus.

Grant and her partner Annabel McCallum took Smokey to intensive care at Palmerston North's vet hospital, where they had to operate to remove it.

"Unfortunately there were complications because as he swallowed it and it had gone down his esophagus, it had torn the esophagus, which meant that things were leaking into his chest cavity that shouldn't have been," McCallum said.

"For the first couple of days in intensive care it was touch and go, we weren't sure if we were going to see dear little Smokey again."

After a week in intensive care, Smokey has been able to return home, but for now, he can only be fed via a tube attached to his stomach.

Environmental group Sustainable Coastlines says it finds plastic fishing gear on the beach more often than hooks.

The group is urging people to be mindful of everything they leave behind in the environment.

"Wildlife and sealife ingest fish hooks, they get stuck in their guts and can prevent them being able to eat, and our kids can get fish hooks in their feet.

"We often find that gulls will get fish hooks stuck in their beaks too," CEO Josh Borthwick said.

Smokey's owners Grant and McCallum, who have so far paid $8000 for their pet's medical care, don't want to see other dogs getting injured.

"Please don't leave hooks or fishing line around, if your hooks come off or you lose your line, gather it up, put it in a rubbish bin."