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Bonnie Dogs Blog - Dog Caring, Measuring and Grooming
3rd Mar 2015
The wind has picked up causing sticks and branches to fall onto the ground, dogs will love the pick up what they have found on the floor but picture this, your out taking your dog for a walk doing your usual routes and routines and you come across the perfect throwing stick for your dog, you pick it up and throw it across the field, it bounces or lands in a funny position just as your dog is about to pick it up and it impales your dogs mouth. Your dog is in a lot of pain and you are panicking call the vet straight away for urgent advice and start making your way to their practice. An unexpected trip to the Vets, an expensive Vet bill and a poorly dog could have been easily avoided if more dog owners know about the dangers of sticks.
Vets all over the country and world are seeing an increase in dogs having surgery due to stick injuries, it is strongly advised that you never throw a stick for your dog as in very severe cases dogs have died from their horrific injuries. Some people will think if their dog gets injured by a stick it will be a freak accident but this is not the case.
What damage can sticks do?
Sticks have fallen from trees and there is normally a reason as to why, the stick has become very old and brittle then in the wind or when a bird or squirrel jump on it it will eventually break to the floor. As the stick is brittle when your dog picks it up it may start to crumble in your dogs mouth, the fine bits of wood that break off may stay in your dogs mouth and they may start to choke. Sticks are a choking hazard and many dogs have nearly lost their lives by choking on part of a stick.
When you throw a stick for your dog it may bounce or part of it may snap off, when your dog picks it up or catches it due to its sharpness it may impale your dogs mouth and may even get lodged in your dogs throat. If this happens your dog will need surgery and medical care to remove the stick and any fragments to ensure that none of the stick is left inside your dogs mouth.
In severe cases of dog injuries due to stick throwing some dogs have died right there and then, if your dog is about to catch a very sharp stick and is not looking where they are going they may stumble or crash into something, some dogs may land safely while others may land on their backs causing very painful injuries and some falls can be fatal, if a dog lands on their back awkwardly they may break it and may never be able to recover. If your dog seems to land OK there is still the risk of catching the stick correctly some dogs have been impaled straight through the skull or chests resulting in a horrific death. Throwing a stick is not worth risking your dogs life over.
Sticks can also carry fungus and lung worm, your dog may contract lung worm from a stick especially if it was laying on the floor. Sticks get very wet and damp once they have fallen from trees and slugs and snails will crawl over them. Always ensure that your dogs worming treatment is up to date especially if you walk your dogs in places where other dogs are walked and where foxes, slugs or snails may be. Take a look at our blog post on Dogs and Lungworm for more information, and our blog post on Dogs and the importantce of worming for info about worming your dog.
Fungus may cause stomach upsets to your dog so must be avoided, if your dog starts showing signs of vomiting or diarrhoea then contact your dogs Vet immediately.
If your dog likes to walk around carrying a stick this can also be dangerous to passers by, it may be funny at the time see your dog carrying the biggest stick home from the woods however, it will not be very funny when another dog, child or passer by gets knocked over or injured by the stick in your dogs excitement.
What can I give my dog instead?
There are alternatives to sticks that you can use, an example is the Safestix. Safestix are large enough so they can not be lodged in your dogs throat, they are also rubbery so no bits will break off when they hit the ground and they are soft in your dogs mouth.
Say NO to sticks!
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