Many dogs love to pick up, carry, catch and chew sticks – at home, and on their walks. Usually, there are no issues – they have a good time with the stick and go on their merry way. But sometimes, and this is when we get the calls, the stick play causes injuries – and these can be life threatening.
What can go wrong with stick play?
- Cuts and scrapes from wood splinters
- Infection from wood splinters caught in soft tissue
- Stick segments getting lodged across the roof of the mouth, between the upper molar teeth causing distress (your dog may start pawing at their mouth)
- A piece can break off and be accidentally swallowed causing an intestinal blockage
- When a dog jumps up to catch a stick – the pointy end can embed in the mouth, throat and even further down the neck
What do our Vets recommend?
Risk analysis would support safer alternatives for play and chewing, that are no less fun than sticks, just less likely to have the potential for a visit to your vet.
- Provide other toys for them to enjoy during their walks
- Resist the urge to actually toss sticks for our dogs!