The parents of a three-year-old boy savagely bitten in the throat by a family pet have praised road workers and rescuers who rushed to save the toddler's life.

The Ashburton boy remains in a critical but stable condition in Christchurch Hospital after he was attacked in a relative's lounge about 12.20pm yesteday.

In a statement released via the Canterbury District Health Board this afternoon, the parents thanked everyone involved with helping their son.

It said: "We would like to acknowledge the quick efforts of the Ashburton road workers and the St John paramedics that were first on the scene to help save our little boy's life.


"We are also very thankful to the crew from Garden City Helicopters, who transported our son to Christchurch Hospital, as well as hospital staff.''

It is understood the dog, a five-year-old doberman Staffordshire bull terrier cross belonging to a family member, lunged at the boy's throat as he was eating a chocolate.

Family members intervened after hearing the dog make an unusual noise.

The owners cooperated with local animal control officers and the dog was put down.

The boy was given first aid at the scene and then taken to Ashburton Hospital, before being flown to Christchurch.

Christchurch Hospital intensive care and emergency staff have also endorsed the efforts of those first on the scene.