It has been the favourite past time of many dogs and a crucial role in creating a bond of trust between animals and owners for many years, but is playing fetch with a stick putting your dog at serious risk of injury?
According to the president of the British veterinary Association, this seemingly innocent playtime activity could be causing more serious damage than good. This announcement comes as a warning after a dog owner reported that her collie had to undergo life-saving emergency surgery after a four inch long stick became lodged in her tongue and displaced the voicebox which led the poor dog to stop eating and become increasingly subdued.
So, just how dangerous is throwing a stick for your pet to catch?
They Can Pierce Soft Tissue
Dog’s don’t automatically know the best way to pick up a stick in their mouth, with many bounding over and opening their mouths, only to come into a forceful impact with a stuck up, pointy stick.
As the tissue in the mouth is very soft, these sticks can easily become lodged in this, or even in between the teeth at the top or base of the jaw. As sticks are so brittle, they tend to shatter on impact, resulting in small shards of wood becoming embedded in the tissues.
They Can Cause Digestive Tract issues
It’s in the nature of a dog to want to chew on things, so it’s only natural that many chew on the sticks that they find as a form of play.
However, chewing sticks increases the risk of a dog swallowing some of the bark of the stick. Although many dogs will be able to pass this through their digestive system and the animal will be fine, but others may experience these sharp shards embedding themselves in the stomach, intestines and throat, making them susceptible to infections which can be fatal if untreated.
How Can I Avoid Putting My Pet At Risk?
No one wants to stop their pet from having fun, and although there are risks to playing fetch with a stick, there are other activities that you can participate in with your dog which will give them the same satisfaction without the added risk.
Rather than using sticks, why not use a dog friendly ball or a frisbee instead? These will still help you stimulate your dog as well as give them a good work out at the same time while reducing the risks of nasty digestive and tissue infections!
There are many different ways in which you can enjoy spending time with your dog, including our dog training classes! However, if you are in need of reliable dog training services for those days where you may not be able to give them all the attention they need, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us here at Dog School.
With a team of fully trainer dog walkers, you can be sure your dog will be in good hands! For more information, please call us today on 07821 543388 or head over to our Facebook and Twitter pages for more dog-related news and updates!