*WARNING - there may be an image in this article that people find distressing.

County Durham dog owners have been issued a warning after a beloved pet's tongue was pierced by a stick - leaving the pooch in a lot of pain and its owners worried.

Dice the dog was having a normal walk in a park in Seaham with his owners over the Easter weekend when a stick was thrown for him.

The Northern Echo: Dice the dogDice the dog (Image: SEAHAM VETS)

While this had happened numerous times before, and Dice had retrieved it without a problem - this time, the dog yelped in pain after picking up the piece of tree branch. 

After cowering in the park at first, the pet was taken to Seaham Vets, where the practice says the dog was "gulping and yelping".

After a full vet examination, further investigation was needed to get to the bottom of the pain.

After finding the wound, the vet nurses at the Seaham-based facility took some X-rays to make sure no stick fragment was present further down the throat.

The Northern Echo: The damage sustained to the dog in SeahamThe damage sustained to the dog in Seaham (Image: SEAHAM VETS)

According to the vets, "Sedation, Stitches, medication, and a whole load of cuddles later", Dice is back to his normal self.

Most read:

Get the latest news, sports, and entertainment delivered straight to your device by subscribing to The Northern Echo here. 

Although this was an isolated incident, Seaham Vets has warned County Durham dog owners about the dangers of throwing sticks for dogs, due to the impact it could have on their throats. 

Seaham Vets said: "Throwing a stick for a dog can cause serious injuries to the mouth and throat. Please avoid at all costs to prevent urgent veterinary attention

"Pop into the practice to see a range of safe toys for your dog to play with at the park."