UNITED KINGDOM — Leading veterinarians are warning dog owners about the dangers and potential injuries your dog could sustain when playing fetch with sticks.
As long as one can remember, throwing a stick for your dog to fetch has been the go-to game for dog owners when playing outside. Whether you wanted to or not, chances are that your lovable mutt picked up a stick and demanded that you tug and play. But did you ever consider that those sticks are dangerous?
Earlier this week, a report of a Collie in Scotland getting a 4 inch stick stuck in her throat caused the president of the British Veterinary Association in Scotland, Grace Webster, to ask owners to stop throwing sticks.
“Even when the initial wound is treated, splinters of wood have often got stuck and require subsequent operations,” Webster explained to The Times.
Sarah Stevenson, of Bishopbriggs Veterinary Centre in Glasgow, treated the Collie and said that not all stick injuries are noticeable at first.
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“Stick injuries may not be initially obvious and may cause long-term problems. For these reasons we are warning pet owners against throwing or encouraging their dog to play with or chase sticks,” Stevenson told The Daily Mail UK.
The British Veterinary Association conducted research on stick injuries and said that approximately 60,000 dogs are treated for wood injuries across Britain each year. They estimate one dog is treated every month in each veterinary practice and there are 5,000 practices across the U.K. Most injuries occur when the dog is running with the stick in their mouth.
Sean Wensley, president of the British Veterinary Association in England, suggests that owners use dog-safe toys, such as frisbees, as alternatives to sticks.
“What we absolutely don’t want is to stop dogs enjoying exercise and play, as the benefits from those are really important for physical health and mental well-being, for both dogs and owners. We don’t want to stop any of that, just to highlight the problems we see when sticks are used to chase after, and to urge that alternative dog-safe toys are used instead,” Wensley told The Daily Mail UK.
Do you think this advice is going too far?