Spaniel owner Nick Williams said he was "astounded" when staff at a supermarket pharmacy allegedly refused to sell him olive oil because he said it was for his dog. He went to the Tesco superstore St Oswald's, Gloucester, to buy oil in a bottle with a pipette over the pharmacy counter to sooth infections in his 12-year-old spaniel's ears. But the cashier refused to sell him the oil when he mentioned in small talk it was for his dog, Shem, he said.
Nick said: "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've 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'.
So I said, 'why'? And she said because it's for the dog."
Spaniels are known for having ear problems and Nick said he regularly inserts oil into his dog's ears.
Tesco said in response that items sold in its pharmacies are licensed for human use, not pets.
Nick said: "You can buy ordinary olive oil off the shelf but I had lost the pipette, so that is what I needed and I didn't know where else to buy one.
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."
According to Nick there was no further negotiation after he was refused service.
He said: " I couldn't believe it. 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."
A Tesco 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."