A Qantas jet was grounded after a dog in the cargo hold escaped from its cage and snacked on parts of the aircraft's interior.

The animal chewed through electrical wiring and panels so tough that they are difficult to cut with a knife.

The first indication of trouble occurred when the Airbus A330 left Auckland bound for Melbourne on Dec. 7, The Courier-Mail reported.

A warning light in the cockpit indicated problems with the auxiliary power unit — a small jet in the tail that supplies electricity for various systems when the aircraft is on the ground.

As the engine had been shut down after take-off there was no risk to the aircraft. But when ground handlers opened the cargo hold in Melbourne they were confronted with an angry, distressed dog.

An inspection revealed that after somehow getting out of its transportation cage the animal chewed through the wiring loom to the unit, Qantas reported to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

An aviation engineering source said: "The dog ripped out several wires which set off the cockpit warning and then it had a go at a number of electrical units in the rear of the plane."

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