Not only are sticks free, they’re also readily available, biodegradable and fun for our four-legged friends who like to fetch, gnaw and parade around with them.

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For some pooches, the stick’s allure may come from its texture, which feels good to chomp on, but this is not recommended as splinters can harm. For others, it’s a breed thing. Cocker spaniels and labradors, for example, have been selectively bred to retrieve and carry things.

For many though, it’s just fun. Once they learn that ‘stick = splendid playtime with my human’, many dogs will go out of their way to source a good stick. Be aware that throwing sticks for your pup can lead to injuries, so vets recommend safer alternatives such as rubber sticks, or a dog-friendly frisbee.

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Asked by: Sarah Hartley, Devon

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Authors

Helen Pilcher
Helen PilcherScience writer, presenter and performer.

Helen Pilcher is a tea-drinking, biscuit-nibbling science and comedy writer, with a PhD in cell biology.

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