Many dogs love to play fetch and it’s a great way for you to interact and play with them. When playing fetch it is always safest to use balls or equivalent toys that reduce the risk of trauma to the mouth and throat. Unfortunately playing fetch with a stick can quickly go wrong. If the stick is caught on the wrong angle and driven into the back of the mouth or throat it can cause significant damaged to soft tissue structures such as the larynx or become a foreign body. Similarly playing fetch in the water can results in dogs getting balls lodged in the back of the throat if they lunge and miscalculate, or inhaling water into their lungs.
Some dogs will become obsessive compulsive in their mission to play fetch. It is important that if it’s a hot day, or they are overexerting themselves that you stop the game to reduce the risk of heat stroke and collapse. Brachcephalic (squashed nosed dogs) and dogs with heart conditions are at a higher risk of suffering in the heat, and should only be exercised in the coolest parts of the day over the summer.
If you are using other toys such as Kongs, ensure that the size is suitable. Kongs, or equivalents can be a great way to keep your dogs entertained as well as being a cool snack. You can fill them with treats such as yoghurt mixed with kibble and freeze them before giving them to your pet to keep them entertained for longer. As with any toys or chews, if they become damaged or broken they should be removed and replaced to reduce the risk of them being ingested and becoming a foreign body.
Brought to you by Dr Alice Edwards