Throwing sticks for dogs – the danger and an alternative

Who hasn’t thrown a stick or two (thousand) for their dogs to retrieve? Just like the team at pups4sale, we’re sure there are many people out there in the doggie-verse who have thrown many sticks for their dogs over the years without incident.

Throwing sticks for dogs can result in serious injuries and even death
Throwing sticks for dogs is fun – but dangerous too

Yet the Australian Veterinary Association has been reported in the Daily Telegraph as stating there are thousands of dogs injured in Australia each year due to the effects of sticks splintering in dogs mouths:

The Australian Veterinary Association this week condemned stick fetching, saying it could cause “horrific injuries” and there needed to be more awareness about the risks, including choking, infection and internal bleeding.
Australian Veterinary Association president Dr David Neck said most owners were unaware of the damage that could be caused by sharp objects piercing a dog’s mouth, throat and internal organs.
“We grew up with dogs chasing sticks but they cause some of the worst injuries we see as vets. I’ve treated some horrific injuries,” he said.

Throwing sticks can result in serious injury to your dog,.
A splintered stick & resultant injury in a dog’s mouth

Now if you own a Toy breed (e.g Maltese, Shih Tzu, etc), you will know that throwing a stick for your dog to retrieve will result in said dog looking at the stick and thinking, “when are you going to pick that up, because I for one am not going to touch that disgusting thing!”. However if you are the owner of any of the retriever breeds in particular, you will likely know all about throwing and retrieving until your tennis elbow plays up or it gets dark! As the graphic photo of an injured dog’s mouth in this post shows, the injuries caused by sticks splintering can be not only painful, but also deadly.

So what is the alternative? There are always rubber balls, but they can be a source of choking in their own right too. Being firmly in the non-PC camp, we thought their must be an alternative to sitting around all day, holding paws and singing  songs with our dogs about world peace with cats.

The Safestix throw toy is a great idea for safe play with dogs
A safe throw-toy for dogs

Fortunately for us it looks like we have found one – the Kong “Safestix” (and no – we aren’t being paid to say so). We thought this was a great idea, with more information here.

With so many of us having hi-tech, sedentary lifestyles these days, walking and playing with our dogs is one of life’s simple pleasures that is not only fun but great for the health of all involved too. So the people who thought up the “Safestix” ought to be congratulated in our opinion. A quick check on eBay shows they’re going for AU$12-$24, which is not bad, given they last. We’d like to hear from anyone who has one (or a similar product we could let our readers know about). That they float, are chew-resistant and flexible ticks lots of boxes for us. The fact their use obviates the injuries warned about by the AVA is of course the most important aspect to be considered if purchasing a Safestix or a similar product.

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