It might be a fun game to play, but a leading vet has warned against throwing sticks for dogs after reports of a rise in pets receiving terrible injuries.

Grace Webster, president of Scotland’s British Veterinary Association, advised owners to use rubber toys, balls or flying discs when playing “fetch” to help avoid dogs receiving nasty injuries to their mouths and gullets.

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She told The Times: “Throwing sticks for your dog can be dangerous and lead to horrific injuries that can be very distressing for both you and your dog, such as causing cuts to their mouths and tongues or, as in this case, getting the stick lodged in their throat.

“Even when the initial wound is treated, splinters of wood have often got stuck and require subsequent operations.”

The advice came after a collie named Maya got a 10cm stick stuck in her throat, puncturing her tongue and damaging her larynx.

Sarah Stevenson, of Bishopbriggs Veterinary Centre in Glasgow, who treated Maya, said she had seen an increase in cases of dogs being injured from sticks.

She told the newspaper: “Stick injuries may not be initially obvious and may cause long-term problems. For these reasons we are warning pet owners against throwing or encouraging their dog to play with or chase sticks.”

There were mixed reactions to the advice on Twitter…

… with many sharing their own similar stories, and praising the fact that it’s been brought to mainstream media attention.