The dangers of throwing sticks for your dog

We all know that playing fetch with our dogs is super fun and rewarding. It is almost an innate response to playing with our pups. We throw their toys for them – balls, rope toys or frisbee, but what if you forget their toy on a walk, maybe you think this stick will do – wait - did you know the humble stick is actually way more dangerous then you are lead to believe.

In fact throwing sticks for your dog can lead to critical and sometimes fatal injuries if not identified and treated promptly.

What can happen that can be so dangerous?

Sticks can be various shapes and sizes, they can be sharp and irregular on the edges, or thorny depending on the type of tree it has come from. These surfaces can cause small wounds and scrapes in the mouth. Worse still the splinters from sticks can lead to recurrent infections and abscesses.

In the emergency setting we see patients that have experienced implement of the stick, and this can happen when the dog goes to catch the stick in their mouths, and it can impale their throat which can cause, obstruction / choke, laceration of vital structure - oesophagus, trachea, blood vessels. In addition, if the stick is thrown and not caught directly but rebounds of the floor it can cause impalement into the dog, e.g. into the oral cavity or chest

Signs of stick injury

You may witnessed your dog have a stick injury that quite obviously causes injury such as impalement, or more subtle signs such as they may cry, or yelp on catching the stick.

You're dog may appear fine after initial trauma, but clinical signs can be delayed, seek veterinary care immediately after witnessing a trauma

Severe trauma requires URGENT veterinary treatment due to: