Vets Warn of the Dangers of Letting Dogs Play with Sticks

According to British vets, for dogs to play with sticks can be highly dangerous, sometimes causing severe injuries to our pets. So why take the risk?
Vets Warn of the Dangers of Letting Dogs Play with Sticks

Last update: 06 April, 2019

Throwing a stick for your dog, and watching it run after it and bring it back again, is one of the oldest games played between dogs and humans. However, according to British vets, letting dogs play with sticks can be highly dangerous, sometimes causing severe injuries to our pets.

So that you can understand this issue better and help spread the word, we want to tell you about the dangers of letting your dog play with sticks, and some of the alternatives you can use instead.

The dangers of letting your dog play with sticks

A dog playing with a stick in the park.

It might seem like a harmless toy, but this isn’t exactly the case. In fact, experts are extremely concerned about this issue. British veterinarians recently stated that sticks can even be deadly for our pets.

They believe this innocent toy can cause serious injuries, such as splinters in the tongue or perforations to vital organs. Veterinarian Sean Wensley said, “We don’t want people to stop owners from playing and exercising with their dogs. We just want them to know they can protect their pets by using safe dog toys.”

Many people have reacted to this revelation with incredulity. After all, “people have always thrown sticks for their dogs”. One critic even asked, “Maybe sticks have changed?”

However, one of the vets stated that he treats at least 20 cases a year of dogs that have been injured while playing with sticks. Sticks might not have changed, but veterinary medicine and the level of care we give our pets certainly have.

For years, many dogs died with no apparent cause – or at least none that vets were able to detect. It’s possible that many of them could have died after a vital organ was perforated by a stick.

However, sticks come in many different forms. Veterinarians claim that those that haven’t been lying on the ground or been broken at an awkward angle are less likely to splinter, and can be perfectly suitable for your dog. But with the huge range of pet toys on the market today, is it really worth the risk?

Cases of dogs injured by sticks

For those of you who are still skeptical about the whole thing, people have been sharing real-life cases of animals who have been seriously injured by this seemingly innocuous toy.

Maya is just one of the many dogs who suffered injuries while playing with sticks. Her owners had no idea what was wrong with their dog. She stopped eating, and her behavior changed dramatically. She seemed depressed, and sometimes even aggressive, so they decided to take her to a vet.

After arriving at the clinic and running the necessary tests, they realized that she had a stick stuck in her throat. It had punctured her tongue and damaged her larynx.

Her owners claimed that there hadn’t been any blood, which means that the damage caused by sticks isn’t always immediately obvious.

Safe toys for your dog

There's no need for dogs to play with sticks.

In light of all this, we thought you might like to know about some of the other toys that are safe for your dog – toys that you can play with exactly like you can with a stick.

You can find an infinite variety of toys in pet stores and veterinary surgeries. They come in a whole range of materials, all of which are safe for your dog. In fact, you can even find toys that look like sticks, which your dog is sure to love.

Balls, bones, frisbees… There are so many different options to choose from! 

But even simply taking your pet out for a walk in the countryside is a fun game that any dog is sure to love.

Remember, your pets and their lives are in your hands. While the number of cases of dogs injured by sticks is relatively small, no one is 100% safe. So why take the risk? You might think that it won’t happen to your pet. However, there’s no harm in switching to other toys, just to be on the safe side.

We’re sure that you’re happy to know about the risks, and you can make an informed decision about your four-legged friend’s play times.

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