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Go Fetch – A dangerous game

The classic game of ‘fetch’ is a game loved and played by dogs and their owners all over the world. However, many people don’t know the danger of throwing a stick. Throwing sticks can cause dogs to choke, bleed, get infections from splinters as the sticks are sharp and very dirty. In general the game of “go fetch” seems to be a good game while walking the dog, but it can actually kill our four-legged companions – a nightmare for every dog owner. The owner of 2-year-old Carlos knows exactly what dangers a simple game of fetch can bring.

Carlos was a 2-year-old, playful and lively dog. He loved playing with his owner and throwing sticks was the best game for him. On a lovely, sunny Sunday Carlos and his owner went for a walk in a nearby forest. With them, they brought a 25 cm long stick to play with. The owner of Carlos threw the stick about 25 meters away and Carlos ran, full of joy, to fetch his toy. But, nobody could have predicted what then happened.

The sharp stick got stuck in the throat of Carlos and caused a great deal of blood loss. Although his owner removed the wooden stick immediately, and drove to the vet, the injury was too serious. Carlos suffered from internal bleeding because of a damaged blood vessel.

Of course a stick is not always deathly as it can also cause smaller injuries. But even light injuries can get serious over time. If the injury is small some owners might not notice what has happened until their dog starts to act weird, by which time an infection from a stick can have become very serious, leading to organ failure.

So, what are the alternatives to throwing sticks? And what should be considered?

Fun and safe alternatives to the stick

Don’t worry, there are plenty of fun, safe and healthy alternatives to sticks. Rubber throwing toys, Frisbee or just a simple tennis ball – all of these will keep your dog just as entertained as a stick. You can also try to entertain your pet with other games like hide and seek, tug-of-war, find the treat, obstacle courses out of boxes or simply just free-running. These games are all less risky and are just as funny as throwing a stick. But always keep in mind, that no matter what game you play with your dog, you should be aware of the risks and be careful.

In case of  stick-emergency – what to do?

The most common injuries caused by sticks are wounds in the oral cavity, bleeding from the tongue, damage of tonsils and throat and bruises on the palate. Sometimes it can also lead to injuries in the esophagus and trachea which, in the worst cases, can lead to death by asphyxiation. If your dog has an accident with a stick, do not attempt to pull it out yourself as this can cause further injuries. Leave the stick and go straight to the vet, who will do what is necessary. You have to be very careful in transporting your pet to the vet to avoid making the injuries worse. If your four-legged friend totally freaks out, then try to remove the stick very carefully before you go to the vet.

So, next time you want to play fetch with your pet, bring a Frisbee, a ball or ropes. Another alternative would be to fill a bag with goodies to throw.

Do you know any other safe games? Then please write us! We are looking forward to hear your suggestions!

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