The Dangers of Stick Fetching for Your Dog

August 25th 2018

By Sarah, MVVC Director of Administration
For years dog owners have yelled “go fetch” while throwing a stick for their beloved furry friend to retrieve, creating many hours of enjoyment and memories. However, we may be unaware of just how dangerous our pet’s favourite past time can be.

How stick fetching can end up at the vet

More and more emergency visits are being made from injuries related to stick throwing. Dogs are being rushed in for symptoms such as bleeding from the mouth, difficulty breathing, lethargy and even vomiting blood.

What we don’t know could be hurting our dogs

What doctors are finding is devastating. The majority of owners are unaware it’s the stick they threw for their dog that caused the injury.

Stick-related injuries

Common injuries from sticks are splinters in their gums, tongue and throat and swallowing particles that cause infections in their stomachs. In more serious cases, dogs have had sticks pierce threw their tongues, lips and as far down their throats, displacing their voice box, and even impaling themselves when the stick lands at a certain angle.
These injuries cause long-term pain and recovery for our dogs as well as the trauma the pet owner has had to deal with.

Should you still play fetch with your dog?

Now, we are not telling you to stop playing with your dog. Exercise and positive interactions are very important to a dog’s health and wellbeing – as well as our own.

There are many things to factor in when choosing a toy for your dog, such as the material, size and even the environment surrounding you. The best toys to look at are ones that don’t have any small particles that could fall off and be ingested. So, stay away from little bells, eyes and ribbon. Hard rubber toys such as Kong and Nylabone come in many different sizes and are strong to chew on, but no toys are indestructible.

Dogs should always be supervised during play time and owners should always throw away any toys that start to become brittle or torn. 

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