Chasing sticks leads to as many doggy injuries as running around on roads, a leading British vet tells the Times of London. With their pointy ends, erratic trajectories, and tendency to break apart, nature's fetch toys can cause all sorts of canine injuries, from stab wounds to paralysis to slow deaths from infected splinters.
"I have seen injuries that have cost up to £5,000 in treatment fees—but where the dog has still died in the end,” says animal surgery professor Dan Brockman. In lieu of sticks, he recommends balls and throwing toys. But be careful the ball isn't too small: Brockman has "had to operate on dogs that have swallowed tennis balls."