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Ah the joys of Spring and Summer, when you can be outside with your dog enjoying the fresh air! You're hiking along a trail and your dog picks up a stick. Your instinct is to throw it. Although many dog owners like to play fetch with their dog, there are some perils you need to be aware of.
If you're use to picking up a stick for your dog, think carefully. A stick can cause scratches to the lining of your dog's mouth in addition to esophageal punctures, blood loss and acute and chronic infections.
Because dogs like to chew, they often bite off parts of the stick. This can lead to both injury and an infection. Small parts of the stick can lodge in your dog's throat and cause choking. Additionally, sticks are riddled with bacteria, fungus and yeast, leading to infections that can prove to be fatal.
Just as we tell kids not to run with scissors (do you sound like your mother or what?), dogs can puncture their eye when scouting a good stick from a dangling limb or adjacent branch. This can lead to conditions ranging from blindness to a corneal abrasion that can turn into an ocular ulceration.
Unfortunately, stick-chasing can be a very hazardous activity. According to the Royal Veterinary College Hospital, some of the most common dog injuries, often lethal, are caused by sticks thrown by their owners. Be on the safe side and buy tennis balls, Frisbees or purpose made throw products!