Sticks and stones can break dogs' bones
The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is warning that an innocent game of fetch can ruin a day out and lead to serious injuries to your dog.
Dr Matthew Miles, Exectuive Officer of the AVA's small animals interest group said that dog owners should avoid throwing potentially dangerous objects for dogs to retrieve such as sharp sticks or objects they can swallow.
"Veterinarians see a seasonal influx of dogs suffering from distressing injuries they suffered while retrieving objects", Dr Miles said. "Most commonly we see serious injuries where dogs have injured their mouths or impaled themselves on sharp sticks. These injuries can be fatal or lead to infections and long-term health problems".
"Larger dogs also have a problem with choking hazards like smaller sized balls such as super-balls or golf balls".
"A game of fetch is great exercise for dogs, but we would encourage dog owners to buy a purpose-built fetching toy", Dr Miles said
Dr Miiles said it was also important not to over-exercise dogs during retrieval games.
"Vets also see a number of dogs with injuries to their legs as a result of being over-worked during games of fetch", he said.
Safeguarding pets during bushfires
The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has some tips for animal owners on how to look after their animals during the summer bushfire threat. Dr Matt Makin says that it is very important for pet owners to know how to take care of their pets in a bushfire emergency situation. The key is to plan ahead.
"Even if you don't live close to the bush you should have a plan for yourself and your animals. Make sure you have the equipment to move your pets such as labelled carriers or cages plus plenty of water and under no circumstances should you lock pets in cars", says Dr Makin.
"Ideally pet owners should have a place to send their animals if they need to evacuate. Family or friends may assist or you could get together with neighbours and make a plan for your area that includes a safe place for pets", say Dr Makin.
The AVA advises pet owners to check with their local council and see if animals can be brought with their owners to designated evacuation centres or if they have a special place for animals to go. If animals can't be evacuated then the AVA advises identifying a safe area that poses a minimal fire hazard.
"Bush fires have taught us some tough lessons, especially in regards to the importance of animal identification. So remember to ensure all your animals are appropriately identified in case you get separated from them", says Dr Makin.
If your animals are injured seek veterinary assistance immediately but expect delays. Burns should be treated in the interim with cold water and the animal kept in a shady area.