By Dr. Leslie Ross D.V.M BSc.
Ready? Set? Fetch it Rover!
Fetching Games are fun for almost all dogs but high-speed catches and pick-ups can result in your pet breaking some teeth, lacerating his or her gums and sometimes suffering from much more serious emergencies as a result of sharp ends of sticks or other parts of hard objects penetrating the tissues of his or her mouth, esophagus or of delicate tissues further down the digestive tract. In more extreme cases tragedies such as suffocation from inadvertent inhalation of the thrown object or (parts have broken off it), maybe the outcome of this innocent interactive game.
The great majority of these hazards can be avoided if the object involved in the fetching game is safe for your dog. As fetched objects, sticks, tree branches, and rocks can often be hazardous and should be avoided whenever possible. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of affordable dental-friendly dog toys such as fuzz-free rubber balls and Kong toys available at most reliable pet supply outlets.
Also, since the fetching instinct is so very deeply entrenched in the D.N.A. of most dogs, teaching them to “Drop-it” on command is a very valuable lesson to teach a pet no matter their breed or size.