A dog owner was stunned when his local Tesco refused to sell him olive oil – because he said it was for his DOG.
Nick Williams, 58, popped into the supermarket to get the liquid to sooth the infected ears of his 12 year-old spaniel Shem.
He innocently told the pharmacy cashier why he needed the olive oil – and was taken aback when she told him she couldn’t sell it to him.
Nick, a bus driver, said: “I was astounded. It was like I was trying to buy a restricted drug or something.
“It’s something that people put in their ears so it’s obviously very safe.
“You can buy ordinary olive oil off the shelf but I’d lost the pipette, so that’s what I needed and I didn’t know where else to buy one.
“I asked her if they had any of those oil drops with the pipette in and she gave me the box.
“I said I’m not bothered what it was so long as it was olive oil as it’s for my dog.
“I said I’d been using it for years as he’s a spaniel and has ear problems and she just said, ‘oh, I can’t sell it to you now’.”
“If you look on the pack it says it’s 100 per cent olive oil – it’s virgin olive oil just the same as you can buy off the shelf.”
Father-of-two Nick cleans his pet’s ears out once a week to prevent infection and normally gets his oil from over the counter.
He added: “He suffers from what all spaniels do, he gets wax in his ears and they need to be cleaned out on a regular basis otherwise they can get infections.
“His ears do cause him a lot of pain, he scratches his ear and he whines.
“It’s just silly, because you can buy olive oil off the shelf.
“He’s very elderly as well, he has heart problems, so it just seemed very uncaring.
“I’ve had him since he was a puppy.
“When I bought Shem when he was a boy 12 years ago, the woman who breeds him said to me, don’t by him loads of expensive things, just a bit of olive oil, that’s all that he needs.
“They’ve got very deep ears and you can’t put your fingers in there.
“No-ones ever said to me that I mustn’t do it.
“He has a long history of going to the vets, and they’ve never said to me don’t put olive oil in his ears, in fact they congratulated me for helping to clean his ears.
“I’d probably have to go to the vets and spend seven or eight pound for an alternative so I just get the olive oil because it’s cheaper.”
Tesco defended the actions of their staff at their St Oswald’s superstore in Gloucester.
A spokesman said: “Medicinal products sold in our in-store pharmacies are licensed for human use but not veterinary use.
“Supplies of such products for the treatment of animals should be under supervision of a vet which is why were unable to provide olive oil ear drops once the gentleman explained they were for his pet spaniel.”
RSPCA London Veterinary Director, Caroline Allen, said: “There is some belief that olive oil can be used to help clear ear wax but, if a dog is suffering from an ear infection we would advise that a vet is contacted as soon as possible.
“If a dog has any discomfort with the ears then it’s important that they see a vet who can determine whether an infection is the cause.
“Ear mites or an embedded grass seed can also cause ear discomfort but, in any case, a vet can establish the problem and prescribe the appropriate treatment or medication.
“Self-diagnosing and self-medicating can cause more problems for pets.”