Getting your dog to fetch a stick may seem like a wholesome activity, but vets have warned that it is in fact far more dangerous than people think
Specialists have urged pet owners not to throw sticks for their dogs as this can lead to “disastrous” injuries if they become lodged in the throat or swallowed.
Bilton Veterinary Centre in Rugby showed just how bad the consequences can be, by sharing a video of a 30cm stick that was lodged in a black labrador’s throat.
Vets were able to safely remove the stick from Willow’s neck and thankfully she made a full recovery as it had missed all her nerves, structures and vessels.
But not all dogs are so lucky.
Leading vets from the PDSA said if a stick gets caught in a dog’s windpipe, oesophagus or jugular vein are damaged, the consequences could be severe.
PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan said: “Many might imagine a proud pooch prancing back, stick in mouth and tail wagging, when thinking about playing fetch with a dog.
“Sadly, as a vet I’ve seen the other side of this picture: throwing sticks can cause severe injuries.
“Across our 48 hospitals we frequently see stick-related injuries, which include wounds to the mouth and throat, choking and intestinal blockages.
“The most serious injuries tend to occur when a dog runs into a stick that has become lodged in the ground after being thrown, impaling them. “Sticks can also pierce or get stuck in the mouth and throat.
“Even splinters that might not always be obvious can migrate deeper into the body or cause infections and abscesses.
“The throat and neck have lots of really important structures: if the windpipe, oesophagus or big blood vessels like the jugular vein are damaged, it can be disastrous.”
She added: “For me, it’s just not worth the risk. “I’d always advise dog owners to use safer alternatives to sticks, such as a dog-safe ball or rubber toy.”
This story first appeared on the inews.