The Dangers of Allowing Dogs to Play with Sticks

13 January, 2019

Throughout life, sticks and pieces of wood have been used to play with dogs. A cheap toy that they seem to love. But are they safe toys? In this article, we’ll show you the dangers of this practice of using pieces of wood with your pet.

There have been cases of dogs that have suffered accidents due to this common game. Therefore we are going to analyze the dangers of playing with sticks with your dogs.

Dangers of playing with sticks

Veterinarians all over the world are concerned about the damaging effects sticks can have on a dog’s health. Every day, there are more animals that go to the vet with damage in their body that’s caused by playing with sticks.

Woman and dog playing with sticks

How can sticks be harmful to dogs?

  • Mouth damage. Wood sticks splinter easily, especially if you have taken them from a field that’s exposed to rain and other external agents that facilitate their deterioration. This deterioration can happen very easily inside the mouth of your dog which can cause severe bleeding.
  • Internal damages. In the same way that it can happen in the mouth, sticks can deteriorate inside the animal’s stomach. It’s very easy for the pet to swallow a small stick or a splinter that could penetrate their stomach or any other organ, thus causing hemorrhages, etc.
  • Infections. Sticks can be full of dirt and bacteria. When they are in a dog’s mouth, they could cause oral or internal infections. These infections can be fatal, as there are known cases in which dogs have had been euthanized due to infection.

Known cases of dogs that have been hurt by playing with sticks

Maya is a female dog that loves going to the park with her owners. In fact, they take her every day whenever she wants to go. When they take her to the park, they always throw something for her to fetch. One day, when they threw a stick for her as they always did. Maya’s owners saw that she stopped abruptly and returned to them limping.

The owners thought that something had hurt her leg. But Maya didn’t react when they touched it. When they got home they saw that she didn’t want to eat or drink, which made them worry so they took her to the vet.

Once there, the veterinarian discovered Maya had a splinter that was stuck in her larynx that caused a deep wound. Fortunately, who owners took her to the vet in time, and the vet was able to remove the splinter. Soon the wound healed and Maya was back to normal.

Priscilla is another dog that loves to play with sticks. One day, some splinters were stuck in her throat causing a great hemorrhage that made her have to undergo a transfusion. She recovered thanks to being taken immediately to the vet.

How to prevent your dog from playing with sticks?

Puppy playing with toy.

The answer to this question is simple: don’t let your dog fetch sticks. Buy rubber and plastic toys that are designed for dogs to play with.

Even though the sticks you find in the park are cheaper, but when it comes to your dog’s health it’s always a good idea to invest a little money.

In pet stores, you can find a wide variety of balls and other toys that are designed for your pet to play with and they don’t endanger their health. You can even find many that resemble sticks or bones, something we already know that dogs love and that won’t cause them any harm.

Doran, I. P., Wright, C. A., & Moore, A. H. (2008). Acute oropharyngeal and esophageal stick injury in forty-one dogs. Veterinary Surgery. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-950X.2008.00448.x

Lamb, C. R., Pope, E. H. W., & Lee, K. C. L. (2017). RESULTS OF COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY IN DOGS WITH SUSPECTED WOODEN FOREIGN BODIES. Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound. https://doi.org/10.1111/vru.12457

Robinson, W., Shales, C., & White, R. N. (2014). The use of rigid endoscopy in the management of acute oropharyngeal stick injuries. Journal of Small Animal Practice. https://doi.org/10.1111/jsap.12282