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    Why Do Dogs Chew Sticks?

    Why Do Dogs Chew Sticks?

    by Behavior / 3 min read

     

    Estimated read time: 3 minutes

    Summary: In this blog, we'll learn why dogs chew sticks. Is it because they love the taste? Is it the texture, or is it some innate behavior that comes naturally to our canine companions? Keep reading to find out why dogs chew sticks...

     

    Dogs and sticks are two things that often go hand in hand (or paw in paw!). Dog and owner have been playing fetch with sticks for years, but what is it about sticks that dogs love so much?

    Why Do Dogs Like To Chew On Sticks?

    Not every dog likes to chew on sticks, but it's a very common habit among our four-legged friends...

    There are countless videos on social media of pet parents filming their dog running around with a huge stick that is triple the size of them and many of us have watched out own pups find a stick and chew on it for hours - sometimes even eating it! But what is it about sticks that dogs love?

    They Just Want To Chew

    One reason why your dog is chewing on sticks is simply that they enjoy it! Chewing is a normal and natural behavior for dogs. For centuries dogs and their wild ancestors have used chewing as a handy way to clean their teeth and keep their jaws strong. You see, when a dog chews on a stick, they are exercising their jaw muscles while also removing plaque and tartar from their teeth.

    Chewing can also release endorphins in your dog's brain, which can help to reduce stress and anxiousness. Plus, the texture of a stick is exciting and interesting, making it very fun to chew on.


    Fluffy black and white dog playing with stick in the snow

    They're Learning

    Dogs have an amazing sense of smell. With their nose and their mouth, dogs are able to gather information from their surroundings, learning the environment in ways that we can't.

    For example, if another dog has chewed on the stick or marked it with their scent, your dog may want to satisfy their curiosity and investigate further, which means having a good ol' chew.

    They're Bored

    Your dog could be chewing on a stick simply because they're bored and want something to do. Dogs are intelligent, active animals that need mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy. If your dog is feeling under-stimulated, they may start chewing on sticks as a way to pass the time and keep themselves entertained.

    This is something that happens a lot during the early juvenile stages. Puppies love to chew on anything they can get their mouth on - and when a puppy is bored, their need to chew can get intense!

    Should You Let Your Dog Chew Sticks?

    So, is it safe for dogs to chew on sticks? Now, this is when things can get a bit more complicated. 

    On one hand, chewing on sticks can be beneficial for a dog's dental health and can provide mental and physical stimulation. However, there are also some potential risks associated with stick chewing...

    Bella, the chocolate Labrador is chewing a stick. She is laying on fresh green grass in the sun.

    The Dangers of a Dog Chewing Sticks

    From the biggest tree trunk size stick to a tiny twig, chewing sticks brings many risks and dangers…

    A Choking Hazard

    As your pup chews, the stick can splinter or large chunks can be ingested, resulting in a potential injury to a dog's mouth or digestive system. Not to mention, if swallowed, the splinter of wood can become lodged in their throat or intestine, causing serious problems, which may result in surgery to remove it. 

    Toxic Plants

    Some sticks can actually be poisonous for your dog. Yew, walnut, elderberry, and black cherry trees can be toxic to dogs. In serious cases, the sticks from these trees may affect your pup’s stomach or cause potential breathing difficulties

    Final Thoughts

    From enjoyment and boredom to exploration, dogs chew on sticks for a variety of reasons. While stick chewing can be beneficial in some ways, it is important to be aware that it can also bring potential risks, and, as a puppy parent, you need to take steps to ensure your dog's safety. With a little bit of supervision and caution, stick chewing can be a harmless and enjoyable activity for your four-legged friend.

    To avoid all the risks completely but still get the health benefits of chewing, try providing your dog with safer alternatives, such as chew toys - then you and your pup can enjoy the best of both worlds!

    Sources

    Author Kozlova, Irina “Should I Stop My Dog From Chewing on Sticks?” Mad Paws Jun 28. 2018 https://www.madpaws.com.au/blog/dog-chewing-sticks/  

    “Why Do Dogs Eat Sticks” Wag! https://wagwalking.com/behavior/why-do-dogs-eat-sticks
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