Nfld. & Labrador

Rover's Roomba revenge: Robot vacuums can scatter scat if you don't keep an eye on your pets

A kennel owner hopes to warn people of potential problems that can arise when pets meet robot vacuums.

It might not be the biggest concern at Christmas, but it could be No. 2

That's pudding in this picture, but Candace Smallwood hopes the message is clear: Don't leave pets unattended with robot vacuums. (Submitted by Candace Smallwood)

First: don't be alarmed. It's a picture of pudding.

But Candice Smallwood thought at least a few fellow pet owners might find her picture of a robot vacuum leaving a trail of brown streaks behind it familiar … for other reasons.

Popular Christmas present

"We've got pudding streaks from wall to wall, everywhere, looking as though the Roomba had drove over dog poop and brought it all across the room as it's been cleaning — so not cleaning, in fact — as it's been doing it."

Smallwood, who owns a dog kennel, staged the pudding calamity to warn other pet owners of the risks leaving pets unattended with robot vacuums — especially in December, when people might be inclined to give them as presents.

When we put it up, there's been so many people come out and say it's happened to them with cat vomit, with dogs — someone's had it happen to them twice.- Candice Smallwood

"We've heard enough stories of it happening in real life without people actually thinking of it happening to them, so when we put it up, there's been so many people come out and say it's happened to them with cat vomit, with dogs — someone's had it happen to them twice," she said.

A mess isn't the only thing that can happen when a robot vacuum is introduced to a pet.

"Their Roombas get destroyed when they're not home because the dogs attack it. Or this happens," she said. "I think I'd rather it be attacking than the latter."

Smallwood dressed her 13-year-old Pomeranian-Chihuahua mix Poco in an Elf on the Shelf costume and perched him on the Roomba for the photo.

Don't leave pets unattended

"He will stay in any position you put that dog in," she said. "You turn the Roomba on, he will stay on it. He'll stay on a moving little toy train. He will stay there. He's a wonderful little model."

She found her picture spreading quickly online, being featured on social news aggregator Reddit, with clients and friends reporting they've seen it everywhere. She hopes people get the message.

"There's going to be a lot of people, I'm assuming, getting Roombas for Christmas, so we're just saying it's best to spread awareness: Don't leave your pet unattended with a Roomba, ever," she said.