Given the opportunity, dogs would chew on just about anything. What is more, they would eat just about anything. Sometimes, anything includes wood, wood bark, wood chips, wood sticks, and even wood products like paper. In more demolishing situations that anything includes antique, wooden furniture.
Regardless of what wooden object or item dogs chew on, there is one main question – why do dogs chew on wood? Where does their irresistible urge to nibble on wooden items come from? Is this a normal dog behavior? Why do dogs eat wood? And ultimately, what can we do to stop them from chewing and eating wood?
Why do dogs like to chew on wood?
We often hear questions like why dogs eat wood bark, why do dogs eat wood chips, why do dogs eat sticks and wood, or why do dogs eat wood and paper? Well, all of these questions can be summed in one fundamental dilemma – why do dogs like to chew on wood? Do they like how it tastes? Well, the simple answer to why do dogs chew on wood is – because they can.
Here are the most common reasons why do dogs chew on wood.
Chewing on wood and eating wood is natural for dogs
Dogs experience the world through their mouths. Therefore, it is only logical that a dog would feel the urge to chew on anything, including wood. What is more, teething puppies and the younger dog feel relieved when munching on items with wooden textures. Ultimately, wild dogs eat wood bark to survive, and this habit may be wired into the modern dog’s genetic code.
Chewing on wood is a sign of boredom.
To bored dogs, only the sky is the limit and since bored dogs are quite creative in finding entertainment, chewing on wood sounds like a great idea. So the reason why do dogs chew on wood might be because they are feeling bored.
Chewing on wood as a way of coping with separation anxiety
Ever wondered why does my dog eat wood and act strangely when I leave the house? Well, chances are your dog is suffering from separation anxiety. A dog with separation anxiety is likely to exhibit a plethora of unusual behaviors, and chewing on wood can be one of them.
Chewing on wood can be a positively reinforced trait.
When in the park, we often play fetch with our dogs, and that game usually involves throwing a wooden stick or a wooden branch. By doing this, we reinforce our dogs to believe that wooden items and play are mutually linked.
Why does my dog eat wood – the lurking danger ?
Allowing your dog to do dog stuff may seem fun. Let us put the destruction component aside and assume you do not mind having your wooden furniture chewed on or your garden’s decorative trees and bushes eaten as crunchy snacks.
Chewing and eating wood can be dangerous to your dog’s health and well-being. Namely, wood is prone to splintering and breaking apart. The tiny fragments that break off can cause severe damage.
If the dog inhales a wood splinter, it can lodge in the throat and impair the breathing process. If the splinter finds its way into the lungs, it may cause aspiration pneumonia – a potentially life-threatening condition. If the splinter gets swallowed, it can perforate the digestive system triggering lethal infections. Alternatively, if the dog eats a larger wood piece or bark, it may develop gastrointestinal obstruction. Each scenario may end up in invasive and life-saving surgery.
Ultimately, it is worth mentioning that some woods are toxic to dogs. The harmful types of wood include red maple, yew, black walnut, and black cherry.
How to stop dogs from chewing and eating wood?
Now that we have explained the most common causes of why do dogs chew on wood, it is time to list some simple yet efficient prevention methods.
Invest in different dog toys
Providing your dog with many toys will prevent it from finding toys independently. Just keep in mind that not every toy available at your local pet shop is safe. If in doubt about which toy to choose, talk to the salesperson.
Make sure your dog does not feel lonely while you are away
It is essential to keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated, even when you are not at home. You can provide toys and puzzles to keep your dog’s mind and body entertained to achieve this. Alternatively, you can hire a dog sitter or enroll your dog in a doggy daycare.
Avoid using wooden sticks and branches as toys
We still advise you to play fetch with your dog; just avoid using wooden items. You can still enjoy a friendly game of fetch in the park while fetching a Frisbee or a tennis ball.
As mentioned, dogs like doing dog stuff. Some of them are fun, harmless, and easily relatable. However, others can be hard to understand and potentially dangerous. Chewing on wood and eating wood or wooden items is definitely one of those hard to understand and scary dog stuff.
Although there are several reasons why do dogs chew on wood and why do dogs eat wood, and just because those reasons are entirely typical for the dog, it does not mean that we should encourage such behavior. Chewing and eating wood can have life-threatening consequences and should be stopped promptly. If you have trouble managing the problem, do not hesitate to consult with your trusted vet or a canine behavior specialist.