He was so desperate for food that he resorted to eating little plastic candles usually found on a child’s birthday cake.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Woody was left to starve for weeks after his owner Jenny Butterfield moved out of her home in Batley, a court heard.
His emaciated body was discovered in the cellar by Butterfield’s former landlord.
Mum-of-one Butterfield pleaded guilty to a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
Despite being described as a “particularly serious case of neglect”, she escaped jail but Kirklees magistrates banned her from keeping animals for life.
The Huddersfield court heard that the body of Woody was found at Butterfield’s former address in Norfolk Street on April 10 by the landlord who attended with a locksmith.
The property had been left in a poor state and the dead dog was found lying on a dirty sheet at the top of the stairs in the cellar behind the door.
Andrew Davidson, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said: “This case is a particularly serious case of neglect that ended in death.
“Woody was laid on a soiled sheet and was in an emaciated condition, all his bones, ribs and individual vertebrae clearly visible.
“There were some empty dog food bowls in the cellar but no faecal matter or urine - the significance of this being that Woody had not had any food for a considerable time while he was trapped in the cellar.
“His body was taken for a post-mortem examination and the veterinary surgeon confirmed he’d likely been deprived of food for a number of weeks.
“He was malnourished and discovered within his stomach were a number of birthday candles with plastic holders which the dog had obviously eaten out of desperation.”
Woody was microchipped and police were led to 25-year-old Butterfield.
She said she had moved to a new address in Doncaster for work but had arranged for friends to look after the dog and was later told that he had run away.
WARNING: The gallery below contains images of Woody which may distress some people.
Mr Davidson added: “Whatever has gone on it’s been a particularly tragic outcome. It’s easy to imagine the level of suffering that Woody would have experienced.”
In mitigation Ian Whiteley said that his client had returned to the house several times but had not checked the cellar for Woody despite later admitting she assumed that’s where the dog had gone.
Magistrates sentenced Butterfield to 260 hours of unpaid work as a direct alternative to custody. She was also banned from keeping any animals for life but may apply for this ban to be lifted after 10 years.
Butterfield has to pay £500 towards prosecution costs.