A woman who believes her dog was poisoned has issued a warning to other pet owners.

Melanie Heath, of Grantham Road, Rudheath, was heartbroken when her beloved Yorkshire Terrier Jake was suddenly taken ill and had to be put down.

The 25-year-old barmaid suspects the eight-year-old family pet was poisoned and is advising fellow dog owners in the area to be careful.

She said: "I came home from work on Wednesday and he was very poorly.

"He was lying on my mum and dad's bed very distressed, panting and finding it hard to breath.

"It was just not like him. I asked him if he wanted a Scooby snack, which would normally get a reaction from him, but he just lay there.

"My dad took him to the vets and he was given a strong antibiotic and some other strong medication which I think was to balance his white and red blood cells."

But the vet could not save him and Jake was eventually put to sleep.

She said: "It's awful because he's a family pet and we've had him years - it's like losing my little baby.

"We've got another terrier called Lady and she is really lonely and distressed without him."

Staff at Arc Veterinary Surgery in Kingsmead could not confirm Jake was definitely poisoned but said he had been treated at the surgery.

But Melanie is concerned and wants other dog owners to be on guard.

She said: "Just be aware that not everyone likes dogs. Be in control of your dog and don't let them out unattended.

"I'd hate this to happen to anyone else."