Q: Are the dangers of throwing sticks for dogs not overplayed?

A: Certainly not. If I had a pound for every stick injury I have seen… (Actually, I have had more than a pound for every one and I am still not rich).

The problem with stick throwing for dogs is the sequence of events that unfolds. You throw the stick. Dog chases. Stick sticks into ground and dog gleefully runs onto it with mouth gaping. Stick rams down the side of dog’s tongue or tonsil, depositing fragments. Dog (if he is lucky) pulls head off stick but struggles to swallow.

Owner gulps and visits vet who anaesthetises dog, flushes out finger length wound down side of tongue or tonsil, attempting to remove all fragments. (Nearly impossible, some may rear their ugly head causing huge swellings even months after the event). Vet sutures wound. Vet presents large bill for surgery and a prolonged course of antibiotics. Owner is also left with nasty taste in mouth.