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Why Sticks Are Not 'Free' Toys For Dogs


Think sticks are good, free toys for dogs? Read this.

Do you throw sticks for your dog to fetch? Do you let your dog chew sticks? Lots of people do, and lots of dogs love to fetch and chew sticks, right? You see it all the time at the park, on the beach, and in yards. I personally get nervous though when I see dogs chewing and chasing sticks, and I know that many of my veterinarian colleagues and our technical support staff do, too. Do you know why? It’s because we see the results of dogs chewing and chasing sticks!

Here's just a sample of the types of injuries that sticks commonly cause:

  • Splinters in a dog's tongue and/or gums
  • Punctures of the roof of a dog's mouth, or even their throat
  • Impalement in a dog's eye
  • Penetration of a dog's chest, with resulting damage to their heart and/or lungs

Every year many dogs suffer significant pain and injuries from sticks, and that some dogs even die from their stick-related injuries. It’s true – and it happens far more frequently than you might expect. Want some proof? See the many stories at the end of this article.

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Topics: pet safety, Dogs, Safety, Chasing, Throwing, Chewing, Sticks, Impalement, Dog-friendly products, Playing Fetch

Photo Credit: Preventive Vet

Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

Please share your experiences and stories, your opinions and feedback about this blog, or what you've learned that you'd like to share with others.