Wood, while natural, is not a safe chew toy for your dog. Wood can splinter when chewed, causing splinters to get lodged in your dog's mouth and throat. Pieces of wood can cause stomach, intestinal and bowel problems if swallowed. A dog who chews wood can cause serious damage to both himself and your home. Your dog needs to be taught to stop chewing wood and learn what is he allowed to chew.
Why Your Dog Chews
It is completely normal for your dog to want to chew wood, especially if you have taught him to view wood as a toy by playing fetch or other games using sticks. Dogs chew for an assortment of reasons, including teething, hunger, anxiety, fear and boredom. Direct your dog's desire to chew away from potentially harmful wooden items and towards more appropriate chew toys.
Remove the wooden temptation from his environment. You know your dog wants to chew wood, so dog-proof your house and property with an eye towards restricting his access to wooden objects. Go through your yard and pick up sticks and other wooden items that could catch your dog's interest. Cover or store any wood piles or outdoor wooden furniture. If your dog is chewing inside your home, spray wooden items with a bitter spray designed to leave a bad taste in your dog's mouth. Consider a doggy gate to keep him away from the wooden items he's chewing on.
Your dog needs something to chew on. You can give him plenty of pet-safe chew toys and edible chews, such as rawhide bones, to occupy himself with. Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise to keep his energy level down and help to avoid chewing due to boredom.
Retraining Your Dog
It will take time for your dog to kick his wood-chewing habit. Supervise your dog when he is in an area where he has access to wood to chew on. Be ready to correct your dog and redirect his attention to an acceptable chew toy. Do not yell at your dog or physically discipline him for chewing on wood or any other surface. If you cannot supervise your dog, keep him in an area of your home where he does not have access to wood. If you do not have a dog-proof area of your home, consider crating him while you cannot supervise him.
- Humane Society of the United States: Chewing: How to Stop Your Dog's Gnawing Problem
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Destructive Chewing
- Cesar's Way: 5 Steps to Correct Inappropriate Dog Chewing
- Veterinary Partner: Destructive Chewing
- Canine Journal: Dog Eating Wood: How To Make It Stop