It isn’t safe to allow dogs to fetch sticks or even play with sticks.
It is a tragic fact that dogs have died after fetching sticks.
Stick injuries to dogs can be serious and even fatal. There is no good that can come from throwing a stick for a dog, particularly when there are so many safer, more hygienic alternatives.
Veterinarians are urging dog owners not to throw sticks to dogs.
However, this warning was met, in some quarters, by scorn from the ‘health and safety gone mad’ brigade.
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.
While it may seem a harmless or ‘traditional’ way of playing with a dog, the risk of serious injury or the death of a dog simply isn’t worth the risk of allowing them to play with sticks.