>U Mom Knows Best: Is It Safe to Let Dogs Play with Sticks?

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Is It Safe to Let Dogs Play with Sticks?

    image source:https://www.pexels.com/

 Dogs are known for picking up all kinds of items and playing with them as if they were toys. Many dog owners have reported that their dogs love to play with sticks they find in the yard or at the park. However, have you ever stopped to consider whether or not allowing your dog to chew on the sticks in your yard could be dangerous?

Are Sticks Dangerous to Dogs?
 Sticks don’t seem like they would cause a problem for your dog, but there are a few hidden dangers that most pet owners haven’t even considered. First, as dogs chew on sticks, chunks come off, and not all dogs are going to chew them properly before swallowing. Not only can these chunks become lodged in your pet’s esophagus, but they can also get into the gastrointestinal tract and cause damage there, too.

 Dogs have been treated for a variety of different injuries related to playing with sticks. Dogs can get sticks lodged in the roof of their mouths, get splinters from the wood, puncture or lacerate themselves with the sticks, and injure or lose eyes. These injuries can lead to severe infections that will also need treatment from a veterinarian. Vets have even treated dogs for impalement of the heart and lungs after playing with sticks.

 Some trees are also toxic to dogs. Should your pooch decide to take a bite out of a black walnut, black cherry, yew, or red maple tree stick, they could need immediate veterinary care to prevent the spread of toxins.

Why Do Dogs Play with Sticks?
 So, why are dogs so drawn to playing with sticks if they are so dangerous? Dogs are foragers, so they like to find different items. If they were wild, they would be looking for food, and without other sources of food, a stick might be the best option. Plus, dogs are known for being curious creatures, and they explore the world around them with their noses and mouths. Anything that smells safe is often put in the mouth for a little further examination.
Puppies chew on sticks for other reasons. During teething, chewing on sticks can help soothe the pain of cutting teeth. Puppies chew on nearly anything they can get their mouths on. Any wood object can be very dangerous, and you should try to prevent your puppy from chewing on anything that isn’t a dog toy.

Preventing Stick-Related Injuries
 As a pet owner, you want to keep your pet safe and healthy, so how can you prevent these scary injuries? First, it is a good idea to limit your dog’s contact with sticks. Try to keep sticks and twigs out of your yard as much as possible. When out and about, keep your dog away from any sticks found on the ground. You can also teach your dog a command to drop a stick or leave it alone altogether.
Instead of playing fetch with sticks found in your yard, you can use balls or toys made specifically for dogs. Some manufacturers even make stick-shaped toys that you can play fetch with. No matter what toys you give your pet, make sure that they are supervised during playtime. Even toys can lead to choking or gastrointestinal blockages. Tough chewers often take large chunks out of their toys, which can lead to ingestion.

 Any injuries or illnesses caused by chewing on sticks should warrant a visit to a veterinarian. Be sure that you contact a veterinarian right away if you think your pet has been injured by chewing on a stick.

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