All dogs love to fetch and most dogs will play fetch all their lives without ever experiencing any fetch related injuries.
However, there are many dangers associated with the game of fetch, particularly if it is played with a stick, which it is important to be aware of if you are a dog owner so that you can avoid them.
The Dangers Of Fetch
Over Heating & How to avoid it
Peak summertime in India gets ridiculously hot, far too hot for dogs to be comfortable playing outside for any significant length of time.
Avoid walking your dog and playing fetches during the hottest hours of the day, instead walk your dog (and play fetch!) either early in the morning or later on in the cool of the evening.
A few rounds of fetch can leave your dog very thirsty so make sure that you keep your dog very well hydrated, it is also a good idea to add a bit of water to their food too.
Splinters & How to avoid them
Splinters in the tongue are a big deal for a dog. They are incredibly painful, making it difficult to eat or drink. Dogs can be very good at hiding pain, so you may not notice anything wrong with them until a few days later when their appetite seems to have completely disappeared.
Splinters can also potentially lead to infections which can be very nasty so it is important that you do everything you can to prevent them from happening.
To prevent your dog from suffering in this way there is a simple solution-all you need to do is swap the standard wooden stick for a rubber stick or toy such as a tennis ball. These can be obtained very cheaply and definitely won’t cause any dangerous tongue splinters, you can even buy ball throwing machines for dogs to make the whole experience of exercising your dog a lot more hands off than stick throwing if you want!
Knee Joints Damage & How to avoid it
When a dog runs their center of gravity is roughly in the middle of their torso with their weight evenly distributed across all four legs.
When a dog carries a stick in its mouth their center of gravity moves forward onto their front legs.
A study found that up to 80% of a dogs weight can be supported on its front legs when it is carrying a stick. This means that their knee joints take the brunt of the weight, which, over time, can cause significant stress. This is even more of a concern if your dog is 10 years old or more, as this is the sort of age at which joint health becomes noticeable.
In order to preserve the health of your dog’s knees long into its senior years simply ensure that you use something which is not too heavy.
An easy alternative is throwing a ball or rubber toy. If you get into the habit of using a rubber toy with your dog when they are young this will help avoid joint complications years later.
Stick Lacerations & How to avoid them
One of the primary dangers of playing fetch is that it only takes a few things to go wrong for your dog to get a nasty puncture wound from a stick. For example, if a stick gets caught in the ground as your dog is running at full speed towards it, then the skin can easily be pierced as your dog collides with the stick, especially if the stick has sharp ends.
While many dog owners will laugh at the thought of stick throwing being dangerous if you speak to your local vet you will quickly realize that not only are stick injuries common but they are very dangerous too!
Once again the way to avoid a nasty stick injury is predictably simple, don’t throw a stick rather a rubber toy or ball makes a perfectly safe alternative which will definitely not cause any damage to your dog.
Thanks for reading our article and keep enjoying your dog walks!