Basic care, General info

Can Dogs Chew On Sticks?


Sticks may seem like fun toys that dogs can carry and chew on. However, sticks are not suitable for dogs to chew on as the splinters can cause an injury and if digested, could cause intestinal blockage.

Why Do Dogs Like To Chew On Sticks?

Dogs of all breeds love to explore and find their own toys. It doesn’t matter if your dog is outside or inside; they will hunt down new play things, even if you wish they wouldn’t! This could take the shape of a shoe, your kids stuffed animal, or more often, a stick.

Dogs enjoy hunting and discovering a new treasure is a way for them to listen to their instincts. Sticks are naturally found outside and that is why they have become a favored part of treasure hunting for dogs.

Sticks, even in your backyard have enticing smells which make the object far more interesting. That is why your dog may take a stick with him or her on a walk.

Puppies are also attracted to sticks while they are teething. The soft wood makes the perfect chewable object that alleviates the pressure or pain they feel while their adult teeth come in. This is where your dog probably picked up the stick chewing behavior in the first place.

Nelly likes to fetch sticks and carry them. If she starts destroying it, we usually take it away or throw it again to distract her from chewing. If she drops a stick during the walk, she usually forgets about it as we move on.

Is It Safe For Dogs To Chew On Sticks?

If your dog is only carrying a stick around as a prize, that isn’t harmful. The danger happens when your pet lays down to start chewing. As a natural part of chewing, the stick will begin to break apart in the dogs mouth. The pieces become sharp splinters of wood that can become stuck in a dogs throat or mouth.

Sometimes a small piece of wood can become embedded in between the teeth, or in the roof of the mouth. If your dog successfully swallows the piece of wood, it could become lodged in the side of the stomach or intestines. Wood is also unable to be digested and causes blockages, or punctures in the digestive system.

If your dog swallows a piece of wood, or has a piece become stuck in their mouth, they will start exhibiting symptoms. They will paw at their mouths, drool, bleed and refuse to eat. A visit to the vet is typically required to remove the wood.

If the wood is stuck in their digestive system, surgery may be needed. You shouldn’t try to remove the piece of wood yourself, even if you can see it. Stitches might be required and it is always better for a professional to take care of it.

You should also consider what types of trees you have in your backyard.

Yew, Red Maple and Black Cherry trees are all beautiful, but poisonous to dogs.

If enough of the wood is eaten, it can be fatal. The smaller your dog is, the less they would have to eat to suffer ill-effects.

So, can dogs chew on sticks? It’s a very personal choice. Some dogs only like to carry around their prizes and not destroy them, while others plop down and start chewing right away. Consider your dogs personality and what risks there are for them.

Weimaraner chewing on a stick

How Do I Stop My Dog From Chewing On Sticks?

There are a number of steps you can take to train your dog to stop chewing on sticks. The best way to start is by removing all sticks, limbs and other pieces of wood from your yard. Your dog won’t be able to chew on something that doesn’t exist. Maintain the cleanliness of your yard regularly and your dog will learn to find other things to chew on.

Make sure to give your dog good chew toys, because if you don’t, they may find that your furniture makes a good substitute. If done right, your dog won’t even notice the lack of sticks!

Bear in mind you should always supervise your dog with any toy.

If you own a dog that loves to carry around sticks on a walk, take one of their favorite chews with you. Or, give them a chew that they haven’t seen before. When they show interest in carrying a stick, give them the chew instead. They will be happy taking a prize home, and you won’t have to worry about their safety.

Sometimes your dog will find a stick in your yard. It will happen and in these cases, don’t chase them around for the stick. Dogs love chasing games and you probably won’t get the stick back. Call your dog and offer them a treat, or a safe chew instead. When they leave the stick, just toss it into the compost or trash and go on as normal.

What Are The Best (Safest) Chews For Dogs?

You don’t have to provide a wood chew for your dog in place of sticks. There are a wide variety of other things you can give them. You should think about your dogs personality first.

Do they carry around their chew toys lovingly and only chew a little bit, without the goal of destruction? Do they immediately try to destroy the toy and rip it apart as fast as possible? Or, do they try to rip off massive pieces and eat them?

If your dog loves destruction, edible chews are perfect. They can be torn apart without worry of danger to your dog and in the case of edible toys, provide nutrition and dental health.

If your dog would rather carry around their toys and chew gently here and there, rubber chew toys, stuffed animals, tennis balls, edible chews and rope toys would all work.

Kongs would probably be a perfect starting chew toy for your dog, no matter their personality. They come in a variety of different sizes, are tough, can be filled with treats and even be frozen to offer an extra challenge. If you need something right away, you can buy Kongs from most pet stores. Giving your dog a Kong will give you time to find more safe chew options.

If your dog is more of a lover and nibbler, consider a sturdy stuffed animal. They can carry it around which may be comforting to them, and relieve stress. Stuffed animals in pet stores come in a wide variety of sizes, fabric textures and toughness. Giving them their own stuffed animal would also probably keep them from going after other stuffed things.

Edible chews would be good if your dog is the more destructive type. They are made to be eaten without harm. The only thing is, you will need to add in other chew options along with the edible choices, like Kongs. Too many edible chews can make your dogs stomach upset, and over time, they will gain weight if enough are provided. Good edible brands are Greenies, Brushing Chews and VeggieDent.

If you’d like to see more toys suitable for your dog, I listed all of Nelly’s favorite toys in this post.

Conclusion

Your dog may be in love with sticks, but it’s typically better to give them something else. You can give your furry friend a way of fulfilling their instincts to chew and prize hunt without the danger. Not only does wood tend to splinter and cause harm, but some woods are poisonous and lethal.

If you decide to train your dog to ignore sticks and rely on other chewable toys, don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work right away. Training takes time and your dog will need time to adjust to the new rules and toys. Consider your dogs personality and work with them to find the best chew replacements.



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