What you should do if your dog runs onto a stick

by | Dec 15, 2017 | Be Aware

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What you should do if your dog runs onto a stick

by | Dec 15, 2017 | Be Aware

Being armed with the information in our Blog Post – ‘The danger of sticks’, hopefully you’ll never need the information below. But, just in case, it’s important that you know what to do should your dog ever suffer a stick-impalement. Be aware that the steps you should take can vary slightly with the area of penetration, the number of helpers you have, and your distance from the nearest Animal ER. However, there are some steps that are important regardless of these influencing factors.

Here are some general tips about what to do in cases of stick impalement:

  • Get your dog in for veterinary evaluation and treatment as quickly as you can. Delay doesn’t just prolong pain, suffering, and distress, it’s likely to increase your dog’s risk of death, too. If possible, call the hospital while en route to advise them of your impending arrival – doing so can allow the medical team to be better prepared to more quickly care for your dog when you get there.
  • Avoid the urge to remove the stick. It’s typically better to leave the penetrating stick in place, so that it can be removed and its path evaluated once at the vet. Sometimes the mere presence of the stick is the only thing preventing a massive loss of blood and/or a collapsed lung, too. Your default action should be to leave the stick in place, if possible and safe to do so.
  • Prevent the protruding end of the stick from getting caught on anything during transport to the vet. Try not to snap or saw the stick, as the jarring motion that can result from doing so can dislodge the stick or even cause further damage. If you can safely cut the protruding end of the stick, without causing too much vibration or movement, and if doing so won’t unnecessarily delay your arrival at the vet hospital, this can be attempted.
  • Wrap the protruding end of the stick with a t-shirt, towel, bandage material, or some other bulky material. This won’t only prevent the sharp end of the stick from injuring you, or whoever else is carrying your dog, but it can also help by preventing the stick from migrating further into your dog and causing more internal damage.
  • If the stick has penetrated their chest, you should try, if at all possible, to keep your dog lying upright, on the bottom part of his chest and his belly, rather than on his side, during the drive to the vet. This will help by allowing the unaffected side of the lungs to work as efficiently as possible to compensate for the damage that is likely to have occurred to the lungs on the side of the stick penetration. Translation… it’ll help him breathe better.

Here are a few photos. It all happens so quickly and sometimes with fatal consequences. Don’t throw sticks for your dog and discourage them from playing with them. If you don’t seem interested in playing with them, they will be less inclined.

Kong makes SafeStix and other throwing thing for dogs. Another brand is ‘Fun Stick’. If all else fails, there’s always Ann Summers – best not to include batteries.

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