Dog owners warned about dangers of throwing sticks for their pets

Vets are calling on owners to use a "safer alternative" like a ball or frisbee

Vets have warned dog owners not to throw sticks for their pets as it can lead to serious injuries.

The warning, from the British Veterinary Association, comes following a report of a collie, named Maya, in Scotland who suffered a punctured tongue and damaged voice box while fetching a stick her owner had thrown for her.

The injury was so serious that the dog’s owner, Catherine Pryde of Lanarkshire, didn’t realise the seriousness of the damage until the vet removed the 10cm stick from the dog’s throat.

Grace Webster, president of the British Veterinary Association in Scotland, told The Times: "Throwing sticks for your dog can be dangerous and lead to horrific injuries that can be very distressing for both you and your dog, such as causing cuts to their mouths and tongues or, as in this case, getting the stick lodged in their throat.

"Even when the initial wound is treated, splinters of wood have often got stuck and require subsequent operations."

Ms Webster advised that throwing “safe alternatives” is preferable.

"Most owners and dogs think throwing a stick is great fun,” she said.

"But so many injuries could be avoided by throwing safe alternatives like rubber sticks from pet shops, balls or Frisbees instead."

The main danger to dogs from picking up sticks is of splinters becoming lodged in the throat or cutting the mouth or tongue, causing infections.