Sticks and the Dangers To Dogs

fetch-4957500_640 Sticks and the Dangers To Dogs

Are you one of those dog owners that like to throw sticks for your dog? After all, we all know dogs love a good game of fetch, and so many are around!

When a dog has a stick, it can be hard to take it off. Indeed, some dogs can be described as ‘daft as a stick!’. Sadly though, the truth is the relationship can only lead to heartache. Simply put, sticks are dangerous for dogs.

Why is this? Below is a sample of the most common injuries that playing with sticks can cause

This is a sample of the most common injuries that playing with sticks can cause.

  • Splinters It is extremely easy for a stick to cause splinters in the dog’s mouth. Splinters in the gums can often go unnoticed until it is too late and infection has occurred.
  • Sticks can easily puncture the roof of the mouth or throat, resulting in infection.
  • Eyes– it is possible for a dog running full pelt toward the stick to be stabbed. If the stick you have thrown is pointing up slightly, the dog could get stabbed in the eye. As a result, this could mean a loss of an eye.
  • Penetration of a dog’s chest, with resulting damage to their heart and/or lungs. This can cause terrible wounds.

‘Up to 60,00 dogs per year are treated by vets due to stick injuries. Unfortunately, it has been known for dogs to die. Unfortunately, these injuries are far more common than you think – The Scotsman.

Whilst it is impossible to prevent every injury caused by sticks to dogs, many injuries can be prevented.

Following various media campaigns, the dangers of sticks to dogs are becoming widespread. Owners can now make simple changes to help prevent these types of injuries.

As well as knowing simple preventative steps, knowing what to do should the worst happen is essential.

How can sticks harm your dog?

There are two common ways that dogs get injured by sticks. These are due to the dog chewing a stick or chasing the stick.

Dogs that love to chew sticks face dangers mainly caused by splinters.

Some of the most common injuries caused by sticks via chewing include

  • Small wood fragments can be painful and get stuck in the tongue or gumline
  • Bigger fragments of wood can get stuck in the gum line and damage teeth. Large wood splints may need surgery.
  • Large wood fragments could also be swallowed, causing a choking hazard or possible bleeding.


dogs-1246588_6401 Sticks and the Dangers To Dogs

Dangers of stick and dogs – chasing

If your dog likes to chase sticks, the possible injuries are likely to be more severe than if the dog chewed the stick!

When throwing a stick, it can get stuck in the ground. This can also result in one of the ends pointing at an angle. Due to this, it is possible that the excited dog running at the stick does not see it until it is too late, and this can cause severe puncture injuries.

Some Common “points of entry” and why you should “no” to the stick

Eyes- This can happen when the stick gets stuck in the ground and points up. Your dog is running full pelt and doesn’t see it until it is too late. Severe eye damage can result in the eye possibly causing them to lose an eye and maybe damage to the brain.

Mouth – as with chewers, can cause damage to lots of important parts of the mouth such as the tongue, gums,  teeth etc.

 Chest: This can be one of the more severe injuries that a stick can cause a dog as it has a good chance of penetrating the heart and lungs as well

 Abdomen: Like humans, it could be fatal if a dog gets impaled with a stick in the abdomen area. This area has vital organs such as the spleen, stomach and intestines. There is also a risk of damage to the gall bladder and urinary bladder, gall bladder.

Don’t let the sticks win.

If the worst happens, keep your dog calm and get it to a vet as soon as possible.

Remember the following potentially life-saving tips.s

  • Take your dog to the emergency vet ASAP – the longer you take/ delay, the more your dog will suffer and get stressed from the injury. Try and call the emergency vet en route and tell them what happened. The emergency vet team can be ready to act quickly.
  • Do NOT remove any protruding object from the wound – As well as possibly causing more damage when the object is removed, it also acts as a plug to stem the blood loss. The wound may be deeper than it appears, and you not only risk partially removing the stick, thus making it harder for a vet to help later, but you also risk being bitten by a wounded and frightened animal.
  • Try to cover the end of the stick. If you have done a first aid course, you may have been taught the tent or wigwam method. This is the same with dogs. Covering the end of the stick up with a bandage or t-shirt, etc., will help stop the foreign object from injuring anyone carrying the dog and prevent the stick from migrating further into your dog and causing more internal damage.


Prevention is easier than cure, and we’ve already mentioned a few examples above. We all love our dogs, and naturally, we love to play with them, but there are alternatives to stick throwing.   Balls and Frisbees are good, but the best substitute is to be more engaged with your dog and provide a better quality of walk, including brain games and scent enrichment exercises.

This blog post is purely meant to be helpful advice. As we are not vets, this info is not intended, in any way, to take the place of the advice from your Vet. If you have concerns, please contact your Vet or Vetfone