Occasionally, a dog will be hurt by a stick not because he chewed it and a remnant ended up remaining somewhere in his head or neck but because he has been impaled by one. He’ll be running through the woods, for instance, and a stick that is jabbed into the ground — maybe a rotted tree limb — will be sticking out at an angle, much like those protrusions at a car rental agency that don’t allow you to back up once you’ve gone through the gate.
A common place for impalement is where the neck joins the chest. “The stick can penetrate right through the chest wall,” says Tufts veterinary surgeon John Berg, DVM, “and cause some pretty severe problems.”
What owners should not do in such an instance is try to pull out the stick. Just take your dog straight to the veterinarian’s office. “If you pull,” Dr. Berg says, “you could tear something, and that can make a bad problem worse.”
Once at the veterinarian’s office, it may take a fairly major surgery to remove the stick. The message here is not “Don’t let your dog run in the woods” but simply to know that it can in rare instances lead to stick impalement that requires immediate veterinary care.