A three-year-old boy is in a critical condition in Christchurch Hospital after being bitten in the throat by a dog in Ashburton today.
The boy was in the lounge of a relative's King Street house when the attack happened about 12.20pm.
It's believed he had a chocolate that the dog _ a five-year-old male Doberman-Staffordshire bull terrier cross which belonged to a family member _ wanted.
When he went to put it in his mouth, the dog lunged and grabbed him around the throat.
He was given first aid at the scene before being taken to Ashburton Hospital, where he was stabilised before being taken to Christchurch Hospital by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
The people at the house where the incident happened were too upset to speak but said the victim was "okay''.
The animal has been impounded by animal control officers from Ashburton District Council and will be put down. It's understood it had not come to their attention before.
Ashburton Police senior sergeant Grant Russell said the owners cooperated with the animal control officers.
Victim Support is assisting the family.