Sticks come in all shapes and sizes and, lets be honest, who hasn't been tempted to pick up an inoccent looking stick and thrown it for a dog?
Our message is to try and not be tempted! This simple pastime of playing fetch with a stick can cause painful injuries when it all goes horribly wrong. Injuries can range from, splinters in the gum and tongue to impalement of vital structures and organs.
Dogs can very easily run onto a stick that hasn't landed flat on the ground or has become lodged at an awkward angle. The extent of an injury can sometimes depend on the size of the dog, the speed the dog was running and the angle of the protruding stick. The damage can be immense and extermely painful. The mouth particularly has more nerve endings than any other part of the body (apart from the eyes and genitals) Common areas for impalement can be: the mouth, the chest and the tummy.
Dogs which like to chew sticks can also run the risk of splinters in the gums and tongue or even swallow pieces. This can quickly become a choking hazard or a possible blockage in the intestinal track.
A dog chewing on a stick and it breaking in the middle is another common problem seen by vets. This then become lodged between the upper teeth. Sometimes this is missed by an owner until the dog starts pawing at its mouth, goes off its food or develops an offensive smelling breath.
The recovery from injuries can take weeks if not months to heal.
Our advice is to swop out the stick for a dog friendly toy so you and your dog can still enjoy a game of fetch but without any injuries spoiling the fun.