Why does my dog eat wood?
Are you feeling annoyed that your dog chews on everything? Why do dogs chew on wood? We’ll share the reasons and 6 easy solutions you can try.
Puppies and dogs chewing on objects are a natural part of their exploration of their environment. Chewing serves several purposes for dogs. It’s a way for young pups to get relief from pain caused by newly growing teeth, and it’s nature’s method of keeping aging dogs’ jaws strong and their teeth clean.
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Chewing also helps to ease boredom and minor anxiety or annoyance. Some dogs chew on objects like rocks, wood, plastic, strings, and more. Wood is the most common thing dogs chew on.
Pica is defined as a retained practice beyond the normal chewing and intake of non-nutritional substances that do not benefit the animal physically.
Why do dogs chew on wood?
This behavior could be a symptom of a medical problem, such as dietary deficiencies, or behavior problems, such as apprehensive uneasiness or nervousness. Pica may cause medical problems, such as poisoning, tooth decay, and gastrointestinal obstruction.
Sometimes dogs cannot resist chewing on wood for a few different reasons. Understanding the possible causes of chewing can help you deal better with the problem. Some causes are listed as follows:
1. Nutritional deficiency
When mineral deficiencies exist, some animals eat the soil. Dogs sometimes start eating wood or other foreign objects when their food is missing nutrients.
Nutritional deficiency can be due to two reasons. Firstly, it can be due to the lack of specific nutrients and vitamins in their food. The second reason is that the meal has all the nutrients, and it is adequately prepared.
The body might be unable to absorb nutrients because of a parasitic infestation. Work with a vet to solve the parasite issue.
2. Inadequate exercise
Not exercising enough can change the dog’s behavior. Dogs get attached to strange things like wood and begin to eat it. When a dog has free time to spend with anything or does not have proper exercise, it will begin to eat wood.
Separation anxiety causes dogs to chew wood to release stress. They usually only chew when they’re alone, and when they’re alone, they chew the most intensely. Other separation anxiety symptoms include whining, barking, pacing, restlessness, urine, and feces.
3. Mental stimulation
Pica-affected dogs may be obsessed with one type of non-food object or consume anything they can get their paws on. It can be due to nerve stimulation, which may result from a lack or excess of some neural hormones or some disease or some genetic issue.
4. Early weaning
Early weaning is a stressful condition that may lead to many unexpected results. One of those is eating unusual things like wood.
5. Tooth pain
In young puppies and growing dogs, this is an especially common reason. Like children, puppies suffer from growing teeth. Due to changes and growth of teeth, kicking objects can contribute to the relief of this pain. It provides the same comfort for a teething baby as a cold ring offers.
Boredom can lead to the destructive behavior of dogs. When the dog is bored, it can look for something to chew on.
7. Breed instinct
Dog ate wood symptoms
If your dog has ingested any piece of wood in small or large quantities, you may see the following signs and symptoms in them:
- Ulcers in the mouth, esophagus, and respiratory tract
- Vomiting on ingestion
- Foul smell
- Defecation problem
- Stools of black color
- Drooling of saliva
- Pain in the abdominal part
- Gastrointestinal blockage
- Choking (intestines)
- Sneezing or coughing (if an object blocks the respiratory tract)
- Infection, especially if things are dirty or contaminated (feces, for example)
- Poisoning, depending on which substances are on items (household cleaner or medication bottles, for instance)
Is it ok for dogs to chew on wood?
Below are a few of the problems dogs can get if they chew on wood.
1. Tooth damage
When a dog chews on a stick, it may put a lot of force into each bite. Chewing a hard object like wood can cause a tooth to chip or break; resulting in possible infections and pain. Dental abscesses can even occur.
Hundreds of tiny pieces float around the mouth when sticks and wood are chewed. These small parts can get stuck in their gums, causing an infection to brew beneath the tissue. It leads to abscesses. This is a severe issue as it may result in serious illness.
3. Damage to the esophagus
Parts of wood and sticks can be unbelievably abrasive to the esophagus when swallowed. The esophagus and severe pain can be severe. Sudden and excessive rumbling, regurgitation, and repetitive swallowing are signs of obstruction in the esophagus.
A partial block may allow for the passage of fluids, but not food. When it is not treated, there may be a loss of appetite, loss of weight, and lethargy. It may furthermore perforate the esophagus which may require an operation.
4. GI obstruction
Wood and sticks are therefore not easily digestible and must not be eaten. Twigs may remain in pets’ intestines or stomachs, which leads to GI obstruction. It results in the blockage of food and water, which may be partial or complete. Both the condition of blockage can lead to anorexia and lethargy.
5. Airway obstruction
Stick pieces can get lodged in their throat. It can cause extreme distress and even breathing difficulty. Everything which affects the breathing of the dog is a severe health emergency.
Every one of these complications can be extremely painful, cause a severe infection, and, if left untreated, may be fatal. Contact your veterinarian ASAP if you think your dog has consumed wood or sticks and fears any of the above scenarios.
How to stop dogs from chewing wood?
Once you know what causes your dog’s destructive chewing behavior, you can take specific measures, such as prevention and behavioral training, and exercise. Here are some of the things you should do to prevent your dog from chewing on wood.
1. Provide chew toys
One of the easiest ways to stop a dog from chewing wood is to give it something they are allowed to chew on like an appropriate dog toy.
2. Create physical barriers between the dog and wood trim
One solution is to physically keep your dog separate and away from the wooden object in your home. Gates can keep your dog out of areas that have coffee tables or other furniture they want to chew on. Crates are an excellent puppy training tool and can be your adult dog’s haven. For dogs, it’s intuitive to look for small, safe spaces.
3. Give your dog enough attention and exercise
Physical and mental stimulation is essential for dogs every day. Fitness is necessary for the overall well-being of a dog. Dogs can get bored and anxious without such stimulation and will chew items like wooden sticks and furniture.
Dogs are highly social, giving them chances to socialize with people and other animals. If necessary, you can hire a dog walker or take it to doggy daycare.
4. Use a bitter spray
The use of bitter spray (you can find one at your local pet shop) on the furniture and all the preferred chewing spots is also a solution. The dog is not going to chew on anything that tastes horrible.
5. Behavior modification training
Give your dog a firm “No” when you see him starting to chew on the corner of wooden furnishings. Do not punish or chase your dog when chewing begins, following basic dog training techniques. Instead, offer treats, pats, or praises when he stops but you have to say ‘good’ right after he stops. Do this until your dog knows that chewing won’t get any treats.
6. Medical Treatment
Vets can prescribe medication to help your dog with behavioral problems. Also, get your dog examined to see if a medical issue is causing the chewing.