Dogs have terrifying teeth. With bodies built to chase pray and eyes to see movement, dogs are hunting machines. Their teeth are no exception. Why Do Dogs Chew Sticks?
Chewing sticks is good practice. A stick may be a poor substitute for a bone, but a dog has few options. Dog teeth are designed to shred flesh, crush bones and kill other animals. The problem is these fierce chompers can get out of shape.
Wild dogs chew on sticks just like domesticated dogs do. The reason is to stay in biting shape. The old adage is, if you don’t use it, you lose it. When it comes to their jaws, dogs use.
It Isn’t Only About Sticks
Dogs are instinctual creatures. Your puppy may have generations of breeding away killer instincts, but we never quite got rid of the need to chew. In fact, most popular toys and treats for dogs have always been chew-able.
From buffalo horns to rawhide’s, we give dogs things to chew. Even if it is not designed to be chewed, your pup will chew it. Stuffed animals do not last long. Shoes get eaten. Furniture will be destroyed.
This instinct kicks in as soon as something is in your dogs mouth. It may start with an innocent ‘lets move this’ but it ultimately turns into ‘I need to destroy this.’
Why Do Dogs Chew Sticks?
Sticks look a lot like your puppies favorite meal. A big, meaty bone. An adult dog can chew through metal (I have seen it too many times myself) if desired. Puppies on the other hand cant.
Puppies find sticks as a suitable replacement. Sticks are shaped like a bone would. You can chew a stick and tear or shred the bark off. This mimics how a dog would eat a bone. To a dog, this is as close as it gets to ancestral feeding.
Apart from instinct, the chewing is calming. Repetitious activity is calming to people. Our pets are no exception. Your dog will chew when stressed and a stick is a perfect companion.
Sticks fit between paws easily. Dogs are designed to hold a bone and clean it. Your dog easily can hold a stick and peel it apart. Young puppies prefer fresh soft sticks, while adults want something firm. Although sticks do not taste like bones, dogs do like musky and earthy flavors.
How to Care for Your Dog’s Sticks
You should treat sticks like you would a bone or bully stick. If it is too short, your dog can swallow it. Frayed and splintered wood can easily be lodged in your dogs throat like fish or bird bones. You need to keep an eye on your dog to ensure nothing happens.
Clear your yard of small sticks and twigs. You do not want your dog to eat sticks, so anything small should be removed. Rotting wood should be cleared as well. Again, it is about doggy health. When doing yard work, anything under six inches is removed.
I remove anything too large for a lawn mower and pile them up. I keep a count as well. The reason is I want to know if any go missing or are eaten. When I scoop up dog poop I rake up the sticks as well. Any bits left over are removed from the yard.
A Happy Puppy
Why do dogs chew sticks? It is natural. Sticks are like bones. A pup can shred and tear at a stick just like they would a bone. Sticks taste earthy and musky, something dogs love.
The problem is dogs will eat small pieces of wood. Splinters of wood can get lodged in a dogs throat. A stick can be extremely dangerous. You can’t beat nature. You know why dogs chew sticks, now you can help your puppy chew safely.