Monty Don warns of dangers of throwing sticks for dogs after his golden retriever is impaled

Caroline Allen
·3-min read
Monty Don often shares updates about his dogs. (Getty Images)
Monty Don often shares updates about his dogs. (Getty Images)

Monty Don has warned of the dangers of throwing sticks for dogs after his beloved golden retriever, Nellie, was impaled by one during a walk.

The Gardeners’ World presenter explained how Nellie had a brush with death after the stick “speared her throat, missing two arteries by millimetres”.

He wrote on Twitter: “Last night Nellie had a very near miss. Chasing a stick, she impaled herself on it and speared her throat, missing two arteries by millimetres.

“Thanks to our brilliant vet, working at night, she is fine - if very sorry for herself. So please DON’T THROW STICKS FOR DOGS.”

According to the British Veterinary Association (BVA), three in four vets have seen dogs in their practices who have been injured by sticks.

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There’s no doubt that playing with your dog is beneficial for both the dog and the owner and according to the BVA, there are ways to do this safely.

“If you and your dog enjoy this type of activity, vets recommend using more safer alternatives such as dog-friendly frisbees and rubber sticks,” they say.

“Speak to your local vet if you would like information on alternative dog-friendly toys. In addition, if you suspect your dog may have incurred a stick injury, seeking veterinary attention as soon as possible can be life-saving.”

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Despite the warnings, some pet owners were a little reluctant to encourage their dogs to part with their much-loved sticks.

One person wrote: “Hang on Monty. Dogs love chasing, fetching and carrying sticks! And they're a darn sight more eco-friendly than anything manufactured we might use instead. Condemn the use of sharp sticks and I'm with you.”

To which Don replied: “They do - Nell is obsessed by it. But this was just something she picked up in a field. By all means let them pick and carry them - but dont [sic] throw them. My vet says this kind of damage and worse - happens all the time.”

A vet’s wife, who knows all too well the dangers of stick throwing, added a comment of support for the presenter: “This vet’s wife has huge sympathy chances of survival limited cos of splinters in throat and/or infection so please total vigilance for next two weeks.”

Don confirmed that his golden retriever had “lots of quite large material removed” and is now on a course of antibiotics to stop infections.

Many people shared their own experiences of throwing sticks for their dogs and a lot shared that they’ve since moved over to tennis balls because of the dangers sticks can present.

It seems tennis balls and other dog toys offer a much safer option for our fun-loving (and not always very cautious) furry friends.

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