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The Danger of Sticks and Balls

September 24, 2017

As a practising vet I see all sorts of problems arising from things that have been thrown for dogs. The main two culprits are sticks and balls. 
My advice would be to NEVER throw a stick for your dog. The reason they are a problem is that they can often land with an end sticking up and, when the dog reaches it, they lunge on to it and end up lacerating their tongue or throat. Often all you will see is a small amount of blood from the mouth but there are often very severe internal injuries that only become apparent when the dog is anaesthetised. These wounds can be very difficult to treat, often because small pieces of stick break off in the depth of the wound, leading to abscesses in the neck. Do you want to take that risk?
Balls are better but they must be large enough that the dog cannot swallow it. A tennis ball is ok unless your dog is very large. Smaller balls can become lodged in the throat and cause asphyxiation. There often not enough time to get the dog to the vet before the dog is dead - just as in us, 4 minutes without oxygen is fatal.

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