A KwaZulu-Natal veterinarian has cautioned pet owners to take steps to prevent their dogs and any other pet from eating poisoned food left by robbers planning to pounce on their homes.

Speaking after treating two Pit Bull Terriers who were targeted with an acidic spray in a La Lucia house robbery, Dr Yonela Nkubungu said it is not uncommon for pets to be caught up in robberies.

On Friday night, the two Pit Bull Terriers had to be treated at the Ashburne Veterinary Clinic after their owners came home to find their gate open and their house robbed.

Marshall Security said one of the dogs had been injured during the break-in.

Nkubungu said that on further inspection, it appeared that the dogs had been sprayed with an acid-like substance that could have been vinegar.

One dog’s eye had to be treated for conjunctivitis caused by the spray, and both dogs were treated for poisoning as a precaution.

Nkubungu said it was not uncommon for dogs to be targeted before a robbery.

In this case, the Pit Bull Terriers appeared not to have been poisoned, but in many cases, animals are fed tainted food before the robbers move in.

And while the animals are at the vet for treatment, the robbers swoop.

This was why it was important to make sure pets did not accept food from strangers, he advised.

He stressed the importance of establishing and keeping the link that tells a dog who to accept food from.

“Feed the dog at specific times in the morning and the afternoon,” advised Nkubungu.

“Don’t just fill a bowl and let the dog find the food. Establish a definite link between yourself and the food,” he said.