Taking your dog for a walk and playing fetch is a typical pass time. Having that fun interaction with your dog is essential for forming and maintaining a positive relationship. Furthermore, it’s simply an effective form of exercise that is ultimately beneficial for both pet and owner.
It’s pretty common when playing fetch to use a stick. They’re convenient and always on hand if you’ve forgotten a ball or toy. However, vets are warning that dog owners need to stop throwing sticks for their dogs because it is dangerous to the animals’ health.
An Unfortunate Fetch Incident
Recently, a Labrador suffered serious injuries from playing with a stick. The animal’s stomach was pierced after getting an 11-inch branch stuck in her throat. Three-year-old Willow was impaled whilst out on a walk with her owner and required emergency surgery to remove it.
The stick had pierced the skin underneath Willow’s tongue and travelled half way down her throat. Vets removed it by making a small incision in the dog’s neck before pulling it out carefully. Willow was then sent home shortly afterwards with the appropriate painkillers and antibiotics. Thankfully in the month following the incident, Willow has made a successful recovery.
A Happy Ending For Willow, But a Warning to Others
Although Willow had a lucky escape, specialist vets are now urging pet owners not to throw sticks for their dogs when playing fetch. Doing so can clearly lead to “disastrous injuries” and could potentially be fatal. In Willow’s case, the stick missed all vital vessels, nerves and structure in the area where she was impaled.
Unfortunately, this type of incident is rather common, and the outcome can be far worse. Willow’s owner hopes that sharing this traumatic event will educate dog owners. Owners should still play fetch with their dogs, but use balls and soft toys instead because they don’t pose such a risk.