An Ottawa woman warns pet owners to be more alert after her dog died from an apparent poisoning in Britannia Park.

Liz Ciesluk said she took her 13-year-old shih tzu, Peppino, for a walk in the area on July 29.

Dr. Richard Murray Poisoned Dog Veterinarian

Dr. Richard Murray is an Ottawa veterinarian and says it's very important to watch what dogs eat. (CBC)

Several hours later, Ciesluk said Peppino collapsed. Despite a trip to the veterinarian, the dog died the next morning.

"He declined very quickly and his breathing was very heavy," Ciesluk said. "He was obviously in pain."

Dr. Richard Murray of the Britannia Heights Veterinary Clinic treated Peppino, then performed the necropsy. He said the dog had a belly full of sand and digested some type of bacterial or chemical toxin.

"I was surprised, I was expecting him to either have an impaction (an intestine blockage) or a twisted bowel. I wasn’t expecting him to be poisoned," Murray said.

Watch what dogs eat

Murray also said Peppino could have digested poison meant for other animals, but there’s no way to know exactly what poisoned him without tissue samples.

Ciesluk said she’s put up posters in the park to warn other dog owners about what happened to her and plans to contact police.

"I’m just numb," she said. "You just can’t believe that something like that would happen in a community where there’s so many dogs, so many people that love dogs."

Murray said he hasn’t seen any similar cases in the area, but said abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea are signs your dog may have eaten something it shouldn’t have.

"Always, always, always you need to watch your dog," he said. "Dogs will eat things you and I wouldn't even think about eating."