Whether your dog’s out in the yard and chewing on a stick or log of wood, or they’re gnawing away at the wood leg of your table, you’re in the same boat with tons of other dog owners that want to know why their furry buddies are doing this exactly, and what they can do to stop this behavior.
Before we can get into the details of how you can prevent your dog from chewing away at wood, you must first know some of the most common reasons why dogs do that in the first place.
Why Do Dogs Chew On Wood?
– Nature: Chewing is an inevitable part of a dog’s nature, no matter how much we dislike it and try to change that behavior.
This is especially true for young and growing puppies that are still in that early “discovery phase”, where they’re just exploring everything around them and trying to make sense of their environment as much as they can.
Whichever way you try to look at it, dogs like to chew on many things, be that your furniture, your clothes (shoes, anyone?), their bed or, the topic of today’s article, wood!
When our dogs are still young and growing puppies, we get them puppy teething toys that they can chew on to relieve the pain they’re passing through during this phase.
When our dogs are fully grown adults, we get them indestructible chew toys that keep them entertained and keep their mind off chewing other more valuable stuff around the house that we have to pay an arm and a leg for to replace.
So, chewing is something all dog owners have to get used to because it’s very normal dog behavior, and your dog chewing on wood is no different.
(Keep it mind, though, that even though it’s normal behavior, this doesn’t mean that you should be okay with it and not aim to have them stop this behavior).
– Separation Anxiety: Separation anxiety is one of the most common reasons why dogs chew on wood, as well as many different objects you may have around the house as well.
Dogs that are stressed out from being left alone for prolonged periods of time without anyone to interact with, especially their owner, will often start to chew on whatever they can get access to in an attempt to relieve some of that stress.
– Boredom: This is very related to the point we talked about above – your dog may be chewing on wood simply because they’re feeling bored.
You’d be surprised what boredom drives your dog to do sometimes, and this type of behavior is nothing short of what normally happens.
So, to combat boredom, make sure you’ve got the basic boxes ticked, such as giving your dog all the toys they need to play with to stay happy, you’re exercising them on a regular basis so they feel accomplished and not neglected, are spending adequate time interacting and playing with them (or someone else is so that they’re not left alone for too much time at once), etc ..
Why Is It Bad For Dogs To Chew On Wood?
Again, even though dogs chewing wood is nothing out of this world and is much more common doggie behavior than one would think at first, it’s not the most ideal of doggie behavior, which is why you should seek ways to have it stopped.
The following is a list of the most important reasons why dogs chewing on wood is a bad habit.
– Tooth Damage: Your dogs’ teeth are strong, yes, as are those of most canines out there. After all, this is one of the things they’re known for most – their sheer biting and chewing power that can shred most stuff out there into pieces in just seconds.
But, even the toughest set of dog teeth out there can meet its match, and wood is a very good example of such a match.
Chances are, if your dog doesn’t estimate just how tough the wood is, and decides to take a full force chew from a stick or log of wood they get access to, they’re going to end up damaging a few teeth if the wood is hard enough.
So, unless you actually enjoy paying stacks of veterinary bills that go into repairing your dog’s teeth, don’t risk it, stay safe and keep the wood away from your dog’s reach.
Besides tooth damage, pieces of wood can also cause great damage and tears to your dog’s gums, which is also a very painful experience for them and a frightening one for a dog’s owner because of the sight of blood.
– Choking: When your dog chews on wood, there’s no being sure they won’t decide to swallow a piece of it they manage to rip off.
This is definitely not something you want to happen with your dog, as this piece of wood could very well get stuck in their throat and cause them to choke on it.
– Gastrointestinal Problems: Not only can pieces of wood your dog swallows cause choking hazards, they can also cause all kinds of gastrointestinal problems.
From splintering and causing punctures in your dog’s stomach, to causing a gastrointestinal blockage that brings on a whole host of problems on its own, trust that you don’t want to deal with any part of that headache.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Eating Wood?
To stop your dog from chewing on and eating wood, half of the battle is getting educated about the most common reasons why dogs do this, while the other half of the battle is knowing what you can do on your part as their owner to minimize the chances of this from happening.
– Training: Obviously, training is always going to be the best route for the long term and the most effective option in getting your dog to stop chewing on wood.
If you’ve got the proper experience yourself, you can invest your own time and effort into doing this, and will eventually achieve your goal with a fair bit of consistency.
On the other hand, if you don’t have the time or the energy to do this yourself, you can hire a professional dog trainer that takes care of this for you.
– Proper Substitutes: If your dog’s feeling the urge to chew on stuff like wood, then that may very well be because they don’t have that necessary outlet in their life with anything else.
They may sometimes chew on household furniture but get taught not to do that by you, and the same holds true when it comes to your clothes such as shoes, so that leaves them with trying to satisfy that chewing urge of theirs by chewing on a stick of wood because that’s all they can do without being scolded by you.
So, in case you haven’t supplied them with adequate alternatives yet, re-evaluate this part and get them a variety of different chew toys they can have all the fun they want with and satisfy their chewing urges by gnawing away at them.
If you live in an area where wood is very prominent and you just can’t keep up with removing all of it and limiting your dog’s access to it, then a good tip would be for you to place some of their favorite chew toys next to the wood they keep on wanting to chew.
This way, there’s a very good chance that you’ll divert their attention from wanting to chew on that specific piece of wood, to wanting to play with their favorite chew toy instead. You just have to be very consistent in implementing this if you want it to work on the long run, though, so keep that in mind.
– Limiting Access: Probably the easiest and most sure fire way you’ll get your dog to stop chewing on wood is preventing them from getting access to any of it in the first place.
Obviously enough, this is going to be easier said than done for some dog owners than others.
For some of you reading this, the only instance your dog ever gets access to wood is if you give them a log or stick for them to play with, which means that your task in limiting their access to wood is incredibly easy – all you have to do is just stop giving them wood.
For others, though, this is easier said than done, considering that many of you reading this live in areas and environments where wood is prominent all over the place.
What you can do in this case, though, is either prevent your dog from going outside the house when unattended and unmonitored by you, or make sure that you previously remove any wood logs and sticks from your yard before your dog plays around there (or whatever space in your property that your dog often gets to move around freely in).
– Anti Chew Spray: When all else fails, one of the best and most effective methods dog owners use to keep their pooches away from wood is putting anti chewing dog sprays into good use.
How do these sprays work for your case, exactly? They either have a terrible smell to them or an even more terrible bitter taste to them that deters your dog from ever getting close to any piece of wood (or any other object/area around your house, for that matter).
And, if a spray deters your dog from getting close to something (a piece, log or stick of wood in our example), you can be sure that they won’t want to chew on it.
To learn more about these sprays and how they can help you out with your troubles, we’ve written an entire page about the best anti chew dog sprays here that you can have a look at and learn more about over there.