Dog Magazine

Sticks Kill Dogs & No, It’s Not ‘Health & Safety Gone Mad’ to Point This Out

Sticks can kill and injure dogs. This is a fact. Recently a call from veterinarians to dog owners imploring them not to throw sticks to dogs was met, in some quarters, by scorn from the ‘health and safety gone mad’ brigade. Stick injuries to dogs are no joke. There is little good that can come from throwing a stick for a dog, particularly when there are so many safer, more hygienic alternatives.

Gordon Lochrie, a vet in Lincolnshire, spoke to The Lincolnshire Echo newspaper, backing up a colleague in Scotland who reiterated the call for owners not to throw sticks for dogs when he recently had to remove a four-inch long splinter wedged deep in a smooth collie’s throat.


Upsetting image has been blurred

Mr Lochrie said:

“…We had a case of a springer spaniel in Gainsborough which chased a stick which impaled itself in the dog’s carotid artery and jugular vein,” Mr Lochrie said.

“It was dead on arrival here at the surgery in North Street – and the next serious case was luckier.

“Only about four years ago a collie punctured its tongue and the stick went straight through the mouth just missing the larynx. It recovered after major surgery.

“Not only does this cause considerable pain and discomfort for the animal, it also can be very costly.

“You’ve got the cost of the surgery, post-operative care, nursing, and medication.

“So I’d agreed that a soft toy, small ball or, even better, a larger ball that won’t get lodged in the throat is a much safer alternative.”

For those who commented on social media and made their views known to various radio phone-in shows that stick throwing was a perfectly harmless, traditional way for owners to play with their dogs and those who opposed it were a bunch of health and safety obsessed kill-joys, surely the opinion of vets who’ve had to deal with dogs losing their lives and becoming seriously injured must carry at least some weight?

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