Go fetch! Dogs often run enthusiastically at the sound of those two little words.
In fact, for generations, people shouted “go fetch” and dogs flew across fields or gardens to fetch the stick.
Those with dogs today, however, are now being told by veterinarians that, while fetch is a great way for dogs to get exercise, pet owners should stop throwing sticks and start using a safer alternative.
Hidden Dangers of Fetching a Stick
Splinters in the mouth
If you’ve ever gotten a splinter, you know it can hurt pretty badly, especially trying to get it out. Now imagine your dog, who cannot tell you he’s in pain, gets a splinter. Splinters are most common in dogs’ mouths and often pierce the tongue and the roof of the mouth.
Dogs who swallow even the smallest pieces of sticks can cause damage to their trachea and esophagus. The result can be life-threatening.
Splinters can quickly turn into dangerous infections, requiring costly surgery and a difficult recovery process for the dog.
If your dog is chasing a stick, he’s only thinking about catching it and bringing it back to you. Dogs have been gravely injured when landing on sticks or having sticks poke them through the jaw. A dog running, with his jaw open, can easily be stabbed by a stick protruding up from the ground.
Have Your Dog Checked By A Vet
Has your dog been playing fetch with a stick? Mention it at your dog’s next veterinarian appointment. Many veterinarians have begun to check dogs’ tongues to make sure there are no splinters, which can quickly cause a serious health issue.
Should a stick become lodged in your dog’s mouth or in another part of his body, take him to the veterinarian immediately. However, experts recommend never trying to remove the stick yourself. Instead, allow a veterinary professional to remove it.
A Safer Alternative: Kong Safestix Dog Toy
While veterinarians caution against using a stick as a toy, that doesn’t mean your dog can no longer enjoy his favorite game. You can find plenty of safe, fun alternatives, such as the Kong safestix dog toy. Made from durable plastic, these brightly coloured fetch toys make the perfect indoor or outdoor toy and even float in the water. And, unlike sticks, the safestix easily bends without breaking.
What is your dog’s favorite fetching toy?