Many dogs love to play fetch so it's not rare to see people grab a stick from the woods and throw it for their dog to play with. At first sight this might seem like harmless fun and throwing sticks to dogs is something that has been done for a long time, but have you ever stopped to think how safe this activity really is?
A dog chasing after a stick or running with a stick in his mouth can be dangerous. While some accidents caused by playing with sticks may be minor there are also risks for crucial injuries and even death. When you throw a stick for a dog to play with you never know how the stick will land or bounce around. For example, there is a possibility for the stick to get stuck in the ground and end up pointing upright. A dog running fast to catch that stick could end up hurting an eye, impaling his body or throat from the wrongly angled stick. Even if the stick lands flat on the ground there is a possibility for the dog to step on one end of the stick causing the other end to rise up and harm the dog. Similar accident can also happen when a dog is running with a stick in his mouth and happen to fall.
Then there are the risks that come with stick chewing. The small wood pieces can cause wounds, splinters and other issues in the dog's mouth. Also if the dog ends up swallowing sharp pieces there can occur various health problems such as bleeding, infections and other damage to intestines that may result in surgery and in worst case even death.
Our favorite toys for a game of fetch are these kind of netted rubber balls.
For water games my dogs retrieve floating soft water toys.
Dogs are active and playful creatures and while we as dog owners might not be able to prevent all accidents we can be aware of the risks involved and opt for safer alternatives. Lower the risk of possible injuries during a game of fetch by settling on safer dog toys purchased from a pet store instead of playing with sticks.