Dogs are cute and lovable animals, especially those with furry, cuddly bodies and big eyes. They are known for their loyalty, smartness, and playful nature. Most importantly, they give us security and make us feel happy.
But, one thing that is the most challenging is training them. They need much more care than our house plants. Every pet owner knows about their pet’s mischievous chewing and eating habits. Dogs are often found chewing on things like shoes, wood, couch corners, and carpets.
Why do they have this wood-chewing habit? Are they bored, or do they feel relaxed by doing so? Well, there could be any reason.
We will take a closer look at why dogs chew on wood and what we can do to stop them.
Is Chewing On Wood Safe Or Harmful For Dogs?
Yes, it can be harmful!
Chewing is a habit that dogs show naturally. Chewing can relieve stress as it releases endorphins which mentally stimulate your dog. But do you know some dogs prefer to gnaw on wood?
Chewing wood can be dangerous for your dog for many reasons. The most considerable risk is that your dog can swallow a big piece of wood, and it could choke in its digestive tract. Chewing on large pieces can damage their teeth, leading to splinters and other mouth injuries.
If your dog has a habit of chewing wood, keep an eye on them while outside to ensure they are not chewing on any sticks or objects. The dirt on the stick can be harmful and cause health issues.
However, speaking with your veterinarian is the best way out in this case, and you’ll receive the best guidance from them for your dog’s health and chewing habits.
Reasons Why Dogs Chew On Wood
There are numerous reasons for dogs’ wood-chewing habits. Some dogs do it out of curiosity or because it tastes good, while others do it out of anxiety and stress. Regardless of the reason, chewing on wood can cause your dog a lot of health issues. If you have a small puppy, it is crucial to stop them and train them right away.
Your dog is likely to be anxious if it chews on the wood constantly, and numerous factors can cause dogs to feel anxious, including separation from their owner, fear of loud noises, and environmental changes. If your dog is anxious, it will chew on wood to calm down and relax, like humans do by biting their nails when they feel nervous.
You can take some actions to help your dog feel happy. Ensure to keep them occupied in things like playing, walking, etc. Make sure you provide them adequate attention and care, so they don’t feel alone. You can also try training exercises that will facilitate their comfort and relaxation in their surroundings.
2. Dental Problems
How recently did you give your dog a dental cleaning? Teeth problems are one of the common reasons why dogs chew on wood. When a dog’s teeth are not correctly cared for, they can develop tartar and plaque. Puppies generally start chewing the wood to relieve pain and any discomfort that comes during teething.
If your dog is chewing on wood continuously, it is crucial to take it to the vet for a checkup to ensure that they don’t have dental problems. If they do, your vet will recommend the best course of treatment. However, brushing your dog’s teeth on a regular basis can help prevent dental issues.
3. Boredom And Stress
If you observe your dog chewing wood more than usual, it could be a sign of boredom and stress. Dogs can be bored for many reasons, such as a lack of mental stimulation, too little exercise, and being left alone for a long time. Boredom can lead to stress, which can manifest itself in various ways. If your dog is stressed, identify the source and address it accordingly.
4. Natural Instinct
Dogs have the instinct to chew on things. It’s something that is part of their nature. By chewing, dogs reduce their stress. It is not desirable or pleasant from a human perspective.
If you don’t give them something to chew on, they may start chewing on other things like shoes, couches, furniture, etc., which can cause problems. To avoid this, giving them something safe and soft to chew is essential.
5 Ways To Stop Your Dog From Chewing Food
If you have a puppy who loves chewing wood and many other things, you can start teaching it what is appropriate to chew and what is not from the beginning. There are many ways to train and stop your dog from chewing wood.
1. Supervise Your Dog When Eating
Do you supervise your dog while eating? If so, how do you do it?
Always supervise your dog’s activity, especially when eating, as they are tempted to chew on wood. If you see your dog doing this, stop them immediately, offer them a different chew toy, and ensure they are well fed. If your dog is continuously caught chewing on wood, you should seek advice from a veterinarian to identify the problem and find a cure.
2. Give Your Dog Positive Reinforcement
When your dog chews on food, give it positive reinforcement by giving them treats, praising them verbally, and petting them. Dogs are highly motivated by positive reinforcement. Therefore, they are much more likely to listen if they know there is a reward for not chewing on wood.
If you catch your dog chewing on something they should not, simply say no in a firm voice and give them an alternative, like a toy. This will help them understand that certain things are meant for chewing, and others are not.
3. Give Chew Toys To Your Dog
You can give your dog chew toys to help prevent them from chewing on wood. Chew toys can provide mental stimulation and relief from boredom for your dog. It is essential to choose durable, safe, and soft materials when choosing chew toys for your dog.
Avoid toys that contain small parts, as your dog can swallow them. There are many types of chew toy options in the market, so spend some time looking through the best chew toy for your dog that is well-suited for their chewing habits and preferences.
You can ask a vet or pet store for advice if you are unsure about what toy to choose.
4. Use Deterrent Spray
Have you ever used deterrent spray? If not, it is the best way to stop your dog’s annoying chewing behavior. You can spray bitter deterrents on your wooden furniture and on areas of your home where you don’t want your dog to chew.
Deterrent sprays are usually safe for dogs, but if you don’t want to use them, you can also make your own spray by mixing vinegar and water. Be sure to test the spray on a small area first to ensure that it doesn’t damage surfaces. These sprays also help you train your dog not to chew on things.
5. Train Your Dog For Behavioral Change
Training your dog is the best way to stop them from chewing on wood. You can train your dog by giving commands such as “stay,” “sit,” “come,” etc., and reward them with treats when they obey your command. But keep in mind that this can take time; you have to train them with patience and consistency.
Start by teaching them basic obedience commands. This will help them see you as a leader and give them something else to focus on. When you see your dog starting to chew on wood, command them to leave it and give them something that is meant for chewing, like a rawhide bone or any soft toy. This will help redirect their chewing behavior. Do it regularly! With patience, you can successfully train your dog for behavioral change.
Dogs like to chew on wood, but if they are constantly doing it, then it is important to figure out the reason so you can address the issue and stop them from chewing the wood altogether. In most cases, dogs chew wood when they are bored and anxious. In this situation, you should spend some time with them, take them out for a walk, and play with them.
An increasing habit of chewing on wood can be dangerous for them if they digest any twig, so it is important to take measures to stop them from doing it.
There are a lot of DIY sprays that can be used to prevent dogs from chewing on wood. But one effective spray is a mixture of vinegar and water. You can also use lemon juice and garlic spray or bitter apple spray.
If you’ve been gone all day and your dog is left alone for a long period of time, it may start to chew on things out of boredom or anxiety. It is also possible that they are trying to draw your attention. So, spend some time with them if you observe that your dog might be anxious.
Yes, you can use it to stop puppies from chewing on injuries. But make sure you use a small amount of spray and avoid spraying directly on the dog’s face.
Hi, I’m Walter,
I live in Oklahoma City, USA, and have extensive dog caring and grooming expertise. In addition, I provide dog training tips and tricks through my blogs in Canine Weekly. I have a Dog Behavior and Training diploma and have previously worked as a Dog Trainer at ROC Animal Training and Behavior and Tip Top K9 of OKC Dog Training.
Apart from writing on Canine Weekly, I share my views on Twitter and Linkedin.