Should You Allow Your Dog To Chew On Sticks?

by Perfect Puppy Care on October 10, 2011

Chew Stick

If you have a dog that loves to chew on sticks, don’t fret. You are not alone. There are a lot of dogs out there that derive pleasure from chewing on wood.

Understanding why your dog chews on things is a big part of the battle to get him or her to quit the nasty habit. Once you understand why, you can take corrective action to eliminate a bad habit.

The craving to eat nonedible things is called pica. There can beseveral different reasons for this. Some chew sticks because they have a nutritional deficiency or an underlying mental or physical condition. For other dogs, chewing on sticks can be a behavioral issue.

One of the first issues to look at is the breed of the dog. Some breeds have a genetic predisposition to chewing. Dogs that hunt or retrieve are known to be a bit orally-fixated. They simply enjoy having something in their mouths. If they’re not doing what they are bred to do, they become bored and resort to the undesirable behavior of chewing on sticks.

It is important to note that dogs are creatures of habit. Some easily become anxious when they are forced to deviate from their normal routine. Whether it is a schedule change or something simple as a change in décor, stressed dogs may chew to overcome their anxiety.

When training a puppy, it is very important that you do not promote bad habits. Do not allow a teething puppy to get away with anything that can later develop into a bad habit. You cannot expect to encourage a puppy to chew on a stick and have him or her not resort to that behavior later in life.

It is important that owners fulfill their dog’s nutritional needs. Dogs will chew wood if they are not getting enough to eat or if they have a mineral or vitamin deficiency. Don’t be afraid to discuss the problem with the dog’s veterinarian.

Dogs that don’t see enough activity are prone to chewing on nonedible items such as sticks. If a dog cannot rid itself of excess energy, he or she may resort to chewing.

Boredom is a big factor. Keep in mind that dogs are pack animals. If the family, which is the dog’s pack, is away all day, the dog may become bored or upset that it is not getting attention.

What can you do to stop your dog from chewing on wood? One answer is to make sure the dog has access to plenty of chew toys. This will help eliminate boredom.

If the problem turns out to be a nutritional deficiency, it is important to change his or her diet. Be sure that you are giving the dog enough food to keep it satisfied.

Watch your dog closely. At the first sign of chewing on a stick, give a firm ‘NO” command.

Dogs like to please their master, so this can go a long way in eliminating the unwanted behavior.
You can also try some of the commercial products that are designed to discourage dogs from chewing. This may work indoors where it is feasible to spray wooden items that might attract a bored dog.

A little attention can go a long way in correcting the bad habit of chewing on wood, so sacrifice a few minutes every day to keep Fido from eating you out of house and home.

Comments

  1. MikeM says:

    What is so bad about chewing on a stick? You call it a bad habit, but why?

  2. Jeff Van Dalsum says:

    Hi Mike,

    Sticks are notorious for splintering which can then become lodged in the dogs gums. Another common problem is the splintered wood shards can damage both the intestines and/or stomach.

    Here’s an article on the specifics of why it’s a bad habit: http://perfectpuppycare.com/why-dogs-chew-sticks/

    - Jeff

  3. chandan m n says:

    I have a rottwhieler (10 month )……..and it is not having on any kind of chewsticks .does it effect his head size to be on adult age

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