Peak Crossing dog breeder Robyn Outen-Scott never lets her german shepherds Dizzy (left) and Vada play with sticks, which can put dogs at risk of serious injury.
Peak Crossing dog breeder Robyn Outen-Scott never lets her german shepherds Dizzy (left) and Vada play with sticks, which can put dogs at risk of serious injury. David Nielsen

Playing fetch with a stick is risky for Rover, say vets

IT IS a game dogs love - and one regularly played with pet owners in parks and backyards across Ipswich.

But throwing a stick for pets to fetch is dangerous and should be banned, veterinary experts have warned.

Robyn Outen-Scott, of Peak Crossing, who has been breeding dogs for 28 years, said she would never let a dog play with a stick.

"I have had a situation where a stick has actually broken off into the top of one of our dog's jaws and was stuck between her top teeth," she said.

Ms Outen-Scott said it was vital owners considered using safer objects such as balls to play the popular game with their canine friends.

Her warning has been echoed by the Australian Veterinary Association who said fetching sticks was endangering dogs around Australia.

AVA Queensland president Dr Nigel Thomas said sticks could splinter in the mouth, bruise gums and cause trauma to a dog's throat.

"If a stick lands in the ground sticking up like a spear - it could very easily puncture the back of a dog's throat," he said.

Dr Thomas said many owners did not stop to consider the potential risks associated with the popular pastime because it was something people had grown up with.

"But the fact that so many people are still oblivious to the dangers of stick-fetching suggests more is needed to raise awareness about the issues," he said.

Silkstone Greencross Veterinary Hospital vet Dr Jenny McCleary said she had a dog with a stick injury come into the vet surgery a few days ago.

"It's the bigger and more enthusiastic breeds such as border collies and staffies that are the ones we normally see with this kind of injury," she said.

She said removing splinters from a dog's throat could cost more than $2000.

Australian Vets Association recommend avoiding using sticks as toys for dogs.
Australian Vets Association recommend avoiding using sticks as toys for dogs. David Nielsen


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