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Avoid Throwing Sticks For Your Lab

You might often see other dog owners throwing sticks for their dogs, on the television and in magazines, and of course whilst out walking with your Lab. Although this might seem like a fun activity for your Lab, it can also be very dangerous and in some cases, fatal.

When a stick is thrown for your Lab, it is sometimes likely to stick into the ground. If your Lab runs onto it, this can damage his or her mouth in the process. Sticks can also tear the tissue under the tongue, but other injuries can occur to the top of the mouth or the oesophagus.

There is also the other danger of your Lab retrieving the stick and sharp splinters or thorns cutting their mouth.

If any of the above happens, your Lab could quite easily get injured. Signs of injury include bleeding from the mouth, salivation, extreme pain, reluctance to eat, and in some cases - depression.

Although major complications are rare, injuries from sticks should be treated as emergencies and you should take you Lab to see your vet immediately. Occasionally, a major blood vessel can be damaged, or the oesophagus can be torn. Both of these can be fatal if left untreated. The earlier your Lab gets to the vet, the better chance they have of recovering.

Think twice about throwing a stick, instead take a ball or a frisbie, which are loads safer, and not only that, your Lab will love them! :wink:

99 Posts
I heartily endorse that Bradleysmum!! My first dog was injured like this 30 odd years ago and I have never thrown a stick since. the stick 'cartwheeled' on the ground and my dog ran on to it and jammed it down his mouth. He was retching up blood and I had to carry him best as I could to nearest vet. Luckily it was in surgery hours. The waiting room was packed but with Blue bringing up foaming blood, we were seen immediately. He had to have an anaesthetic to see what damage was done. Thank God it was only a very badly scraped throat and no serious damage was done, but it could have been so much worse. Poppy has a rubber 'stick' which she enjoys and is safe.


Hi Julie

I quite agree with you. However, I do admit to throwing sticks or rather logs) for Corrie in the river for him to fetch but I only use big ones especially after what happened to one of my best friends mothers labs, Dylan

This is the article that was published in our local paper up in Cumbria.

"A Hayton dog lover is celetrating her pet labrador's miraculous recovery after having a stick lodged in its throat for over two weeks.

P K admitted she throught her dog Dylan was going to die but said the care of her family and vet helped him survive.

Now she warns other dog owners that the old favourite of throwing the stick has its dangers.

"I wouldn't want anyone else to go through this nightmare. I certainly won't be throwing anymore sticks for him" said mother of four, Mrs K. "He's a very, very lucky dog. At one stage we really thought it was the end. The vet told me if was an extreme case, a one in a thousand chance"

Mrs K's nightmare began when she and her mother, took Dylan and their three other labradors for a walk in the woods.

"I threw Dylan a stick, looked away, and there was a horrendous noise from him. He was in terrible pain. We rang the vet who x-rayed him and found two broken bones in the back of his throat"

They took Dylan home but four days later he was bleeding so much from his mouth they returned to the vet, who discovered a whole in his throat.

Mrs K continued "We are such dog lovers in my family that we were prepared to fight. There was a glimmer of hope - he's only 18 months old so youth was on his side"

Her family nursed him - one of her daughters J even spent a night in a car with him when he couldn't be moved.

"Then last week he was able to eat a breakfast of milk and meat and go for his usual walk" said Mrs K.

"Out of his mouth came a stick 5.5 inches long. It was obviously what had caused the damage. The edges were so sharp they had cut his throat"...... End

This was back in 1994. Dylan is almost 13 now and still fighting fit along with his brother Benson. He was a very lucky dog and is very much loved by all of us and needless to say he is very special. Sometimes my best friend J and I take Corrie and all her families dogs for a walk, normally about 8 labs!! We often remember that dreadful time that Dylan went through.

When I get my next lab which hopefully will not be that far away :p , I am never ever going to allow it to play with sticks.

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