4 Main Reasons Why Your Dogs Eat Wood (Tips to Stop) (2023)

Is your pooch going at it with your baseboards, furniture, doors, and window frames? Does he often bring home pieces of chewed-on wood picked up from the backyard?

From teething pains, boredom to behavior issues, dogs eat wood for various reasons. Dogs are unfussy eaters and will chew on almost anything they come across. But, if Fido is nibbling away at your prized furniture, you might easily run out of patience.

Read on as we explore why dogs eat wood and what you can do to stop this behavior.

In this article, we will talk about:

  • The 4 reasons why dogs eat wood
  • The side-effects of a dog eating wood
  • How to stop your dog from eating wood

Let’s jump right into it!

Table of Contents

  • 4 Reasons Why Dogs Eat Wood
  • Is It Safe For Dogs To Eat Wood: The Side Effects When Dogs Eat Wood
  • How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Wood
  • Summary: Why Do Dogs Eat Wood?

4 Reasons Why Dogs Eat Wood

4 Main Reasons Why Your Dogs Eat Wood (Tips to Stop) (1)

Finding your dog has chewed on the foot of your treasured table or the door frame can be quite alarming. Not all wood chewing is bad, but this behavior can quickly become destructive.

Let us take a look at the possible reasons why dogs eat wood.

1. It’s a Natural Instinct

Your dog is not about to waste those sharp teeth doing nothing! On a serious note, though, dogs are natural chewers, and it is no wonder they are well equipped with sharp teeth.

(Video) How to Stop Dogs From Chewing Wood : Pet Behavior

Their wolf ancestors spent a lot of their time in the woods tearing and chewing raw meat and cutting down twigs to access their prey. It isn’t any wonder that our domestic canine companions would imitate this behavior.

Fortunately, despite chewing being an instinct, it is possible to amend this behavior. You can teach your pup what he can and cannot chew on.

2. Chewing Wood Provides Relief

Unlike chewing a rock, chewing on wood is less painful. This explains why your dog won’t chew on the curb way bricks but will eat baseboard or wooden frames in the house.

Aside from being a natural instinct, chewing is something dogs do since they are babies when they start teething.

Wood offers a nice, solid material that the dog can use to press his gums and jaws to relieve teething pain without hurting himself.

It is common for young puppies to pick up and chew on sticks outdoors. The rough texture and solid nature make these wooden sticks the perfect teething toys.

If left untrained, some dogs will mature into adulthood and continue chewing on wooden furniture, causing even more destruction than a smaller pup.

Adult dogs that have already grown out their teeth will still associate wood with relief and fun. The grown pup will continue playing with wooden items that gave him relief in the past.

3. Some Dogs Chew Out Of Boredom

Dogs find chewing to be an incredibly entertaining way to pass their time. A bored dog is more likely to resort to eating wood than one that is well entertained.

It is not always easy to keep Fido entertained round the clock. And, he might reject appropriate toys, opting instead to chew on wooden items.

If you usually use sticks as part of training and playing fetch, your pooch may get into the habit of scavenging for sticks and chewing on them.

(Video) Why Do Dogs Eat Sticks and Wood - 10 Reasons Explained

In this case, wood sticks are associated with all fun and games, although Fido might not understand that he is not supposed to chew on them.

It is a good idea to use mentally simulating toys when playing fetch with your pooch. Reinforcing positive behavior can encourage the dog to play with appropriate toys, which do not include wood sticks.

4. Your Dog Might Have Behavioral Problems

Animals, including dogs, don’t do things just for the sake of it. There is a reason behind every action.

When doggy is eating wooden parts such as door and window frames and furniture, the most common explanation is an underlying behavioral problem.

Dogs typically engage in destructive behavior such as chewing on items they shouldn’t because they are anxious.

If your dog chews on wood when you are away, for example, when you leave him behind for work, separation anxiety might be at play.

A major sign of separation anxiety is chewing on door and window frames, which Fido cleverly associates with your exit. He doesn’t understand that you will be back, and he resorts to destruction to deal with the stress of your absence.

It is also common for a dog to engage in destructive habits such as chewing furniture to gain attention.

Let’s say one day you rush over to admonish Fido after catching him chomping away at the baseboard. Your dog might ‘try you’ by engaging in this same behavior at a later date to see your reaction.

If you rush over to him again and admonish, pet, cuddle, or beg him to stop, Fido will happily figure out that chewing on the baseboard is the perfect way to draw your attention.

Is It Safe For Dogs To Eat Wood: The Side Effects When Dogs Eat Wood

4 Main Reasons Why Your Dogs Eat Wood (Tips to Stop) (2)

(Video) Truth on dogs eating wooden sticks exposed: dog health tip

Your dog will not necessarily fall sick from nibbling away at your antique console or the dry twigs out front.

But, the wood chunks or particles can easily hurt Fido. First, if the dog is chewing on wooden sticks, there is a risk of choking if a piece of the stick breaks off.

Splintered wood can blister the mouth and even perforate the throat and intestines, which can be very costly for a veterinarian to treat. If surgery is required, your dog, especially an old one, might have a long journey to recovery.

Broken pieces of wood can also block and interfere with the digestive system, resulting in a life-threatening condition that would have been preventable in the first place.

Lastly, some types of woods, such as black walnut and red maple, among others, are toxic and can be detrimental to your pet’s health.

Chewing on wood can destroy property, requiring hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs. You should take steps to stop this habit in its tracks and socialize Fido differently.

Let us now take a look at how you can prevent your dog from eating wood.

How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Wood

A lot of the time, wood-eating is a learned behavior. Luckily, you can help doggy unlearn this destructive and potentially dangerous behavior.

Here are a few tips to help you stop your dog from eating wood.

Provide an alternative chew toy

If you and Fido have been playing fetch with wood sticks, consider replacing these with chewable toys. Always use positive reinforcement when you catch your dog chewing and playing with his new toys.

Make the toys engaging

It is not enough to throw a bunch of toys on the floor and expect Fido to stop gnawing at the table leg suddenly. Get exciting, age and size-appropriate toys to destruct him.

(Video) What are dogs lacking when they eat wood?

If possible, the toy should provide positive reinforcement to keep Fido engaged for as long as possible.

Try food puzzles, which act as a toy and a feeder, releasing your puppy’s favorite treats at various intervals.

Limit access to wooden items

It might not be possible to store away your furniture or cover frames and baseboards. But, you can apply a bitter-tasting but non-toxic spray on these parts and items to deter the dog. Apply the spray for 3-4 weeks to change the dog’s habit.

If Fido is fond of picking up and chewing sticks from the yard, you will have to clear out the yard. Get rid of sticks big enough for Fido to chew on and prevent access to any storage areas where wood is kept

Encourage an active lifestyle

Boredom is a major reason why dogs eat wood. Thwart boredom by keeping your pup active, such as bringing her to the park, taking brisk walks, or going hiking. When your dog is tired and mentally stimulated, he will have little energy to munch on your furniture.

Use positive and negative reinforcement

Give doggy his favorite treats as a reward for good behavior. For example, you can reward him with a treat he will love when he plays with his favorite chew toy instead of chewing on the door frame.

Don’t be afraid to use negative reinforcement either, whenever necessary. For example, say a firm ‘no’ whenever Fido attempts to chew on wood.

You can also use noise to deter Fido from engaging in destructive habits. When you catch him attempting to chew on a piece of furniture, shake a can full of coins over his head; the noise will startle him enough to stop him from engaging in the negative behavior.

Summary: Why Do Dogs Eat Wood?

Dogs might enjoy chewing on wood, but most dog owners do not like this behavior. Dogs eat wood for fun, when they are bored, or for behavioral reasons.

It takes careful observation of your canine buddy to understand his particular reason for gnawing at your furniture. Then, you can devise easy solutions to help him break this habit.

Remember to balance negative with positive reinforcement to encourage good habits in your pet.

(Video) Why Do Dogs Eat Wood Stick?


How do I get my dog to stop eating wood? ›

Use negative reinforcement – say “no” as they approach or start eating wood. Shake a can filled with coins above their head when they go near the wood. Put them in their “bad room” and ignore them for a while if they get a hold of a piece. Reward them with treats for good behavior.

What causes a dog to eat wood? ›

Why Does Your Dog Find Wood So Satisfying? Chewing releases endorphins, relieving stress and mentally stimulating your dog. Sometimes dogs gnaw on wood items out of stress or anxiety, particularly when they are left at home by themselves.

Should I stop my dog from eating wood? ›

Bits and pieces from socks, shoes or wood can cause many serious problems, like blockages or perforation of the intestines. So, both for their safety and your own peace of mind, it's essential to prevent dogs from chewing.

How do I get my dog to stop chewing his paws? ›

Tips to Stop Dogs from Licking and Chewing Their Paws

Give your pet something to do by purchasing new toys and enrichment games and activities. Address any behavioral issues, such as noise anxiety, by reducing the triggers of stress and making use of pheromone sprays and diffusers, as well as calming treats.

Can eating wood hurt a dog? ›

Sticks and Wood

Wood splinters easily when chewed on and shards can jam into the dog's mouth causing an infection. Also, if pieces of wood are swallowed, it can cause intestinal blockage. Sticks can create very real and painful injuries.

Why do older dogs chew on wood? ›

Why Is My Dog Chewing on Wood? Your dog's behavior resulting in chewed objects can be a sign of boredom, stress, or separation anxiety.

How do you treat pica in dogs? ›

Treatment and Prevention of Pica
  1. Make sure your pet is getting plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. ...
  2. Consider environmental enrichment such as food puzzles, games, and a dog walker if you are away from home a lot to decrease boredom.
  3. Eliminate access to objects that your dog may eat.
May 9, 2019

Why does my dog eat sticks and leaves? ›

The condition wherein dogs are compelled to eat non-edible items is known as pica, and it may be an indicator of underlying issues. Eating leaves may be a part of your dog's primal instincts, but the behavior could also be a sign of other medical issues, nutritional deficiencies, or even boredom.

Can dogs poop out wood? ›

Some dogs will chew on and swallow almost anything, which can result in plastic, rubber, rocks, wood, etc. being visible in their poop a few days later. If the pieces are small and soft enough, there is a good chance they will pass through the gastrointestinal tract without causing problems.

Can a dog's stomach break down wood? ›

If your dogs eat wood, they're at risk of becoming seriously ill. The dog may pass it without incident. But whenever your pet consumes a sharp object, there's a potential risk of doing damage to his gastrointestinal system. Dogs who've digested wood often vomit and have abdominal pain.

Why is my dog throwing up when he eats sticks? ›

As we mentioned earlier, dogs love to eat things over than food. They also love to chew on things like bones and sticks. Inevitably, they will be digesting some of that bone and wood, which may cause digestive problems and throwing up.

What home remedy can I give my dog for chewing paws? ›

Apple cider vinegar is a great remedy for stopping dog licking paws. Because of its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, apple cider vinegar can help soothe the skin and eliminate possible irritants that may be causing the dog to lick.

Should I stop my dog from chewing her paws? ›

Dogs chewing their paws can be a normal part of their grooming routine. However, excessive chewing may be a sign of a more serious underlying cause. Persistent chewing should be discussed with a vet, especially if accompanied by other symptoms.

How do you know when a dog is sad? ›

Here are some physical signs your dog might be sad: Vocalizations like whines or whimpers. Mopey behavior around things they typically enjoy. Lowered energy.

What vinegar stops dogs from chewing? ›

Whether you use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar is up to you, lemon juice smells nicer around the home but apple cider vinegar can sometimes be more effective. The bitterness from either should deter your puppy or dog from wanting to chew anything that's been sprayed. 3.

What taste do dogs hate? ›

At the top of the list? Citrus. Most dogs can't stand the taste and smell of oranges, lemons, and grapefruit. Here's why — plus, how to use their dislike of citrus to your advantage.

Does lemon juice stop dogs from chewing? ›

Lemons for Puppy Nipping Aversion

Citrus fruits, in general, have chemical compounds that most dogs find unpleasant. With such a strong sense of smell, lemon is capable of deterring many nipping behaviors. Also, while dogs do tend to eat almost anything, they have a strong distaste for lemon.

What is the safest thing for a dog to chew on? ›

Backstrap and other tendon chews are a safer choice not to mention low in fat and high in protein and collagen. Trachea is a softer chew that contains chondroitin and glucosamine, so it can be a good choice for a dog with joint issues.

Does wood dissolve in stomach acid? ›

The stomach's acid doesn't break down wooden or plastic objects like it breaks down food. The toothpick can end up in the intestines, and poke a hole through the bowels or an artery, causing infection, bleeding, sepsis, and even death.

Why do dogs lick you? ›

Licking is a natural and instinctive behaviour to dogs. For them it's a way of grooming, bonding, and expressing themselves. Your dog may lick you to say they love you, to get your attention, to help soothe themselves if they're stressed, to show empathy or because you taste good to them!

Why does my dog keep licking wood? ›

"Dogs are naturally inclined to like the texture of wood; therefore, it is not uncommon to catch dogs licking or chewing on table legs or couch ends if they are bored and have nothing to occupy themselves with. Again, this is a behavior that can easily be stopped by training, exercise, and environmental stimulation."

What vitamins help pica in dogs? ›

If it's a lack of nutrition, treating the underlying condition or changing the diet to ensure adequate nutrients might be enough to solve the problem. A study in rats showed that antioxidants such as glutathione, vitamin C, and vitamin E may help reduce pica.

What do vets do for pica? ›

If a nutritional deficiency is a cause, your vet may recommend dietary changes, nutritional supplements, or changes in your dog's feeding schedule. Dogs with intestinal blockage will require hospitalization to undergo surgery. Pro Tip: The cost of surgery for an intestinal blockage is expensive.

Can anxiety cause pica in dogs? ›

Pica is a condition that may lead your dog to eat non-food items, such as rocks or cloth. The condition can be caused by a medical issue, like not getting enough nutrients. Pica can also be caused by a behavioral issue, such as anxiety or boredom.

Why won't my dog stop eating leaves? ›

Pica, a condition in which a dog experiences a compulsive desire to eat non-food items, including leaves, can have many causes, including dietary needs, boredom, or underlying medical issues.

Why won't my dog stop eating sticks? ›

Why do dogs like to eat sticks? There are a myriad of reasons dogs like eating sticks, including boredom, anxiety, nutritional deficiencies, and medical conditions. Address any potential medical issues first before moving on to training.

Should I worry if my dog eats sticks? ›

So if your pup can't give up chewing on sticks, these might be a great alternative. Chewing on sticks may be fun for your dog, but there is a risk of damaging their teeth and the soft tissues surrounding them. Long-term chewing on anything that is not specifically designed for chewing can wear down your dog's teeth.

Can a dog pass a penny? ›

Pennies contain a large amount of zinc and will cause zinc toxicosis as well so they need to be removed and not allowed to pass through the GI tract. Your veterinarian will be able to help guide you based on radiographs and the type of coin consumed on whether surgery is indicated. Good luck!

Can dogs poop rot? ›

It is organic, making it biodegradable. Given the right conditions, such as heat, microbes, moisture, and oxygen, dog poop will decompose within two months and a week. Bacteria and other microorganisms that will break down the dog poop in your yard will get to work within the first week.

Why shouldn't you pick up dog poop? ›

The parasites and bacteria in dog waste can spread disease to other dogs and even you if not properly picked up. E. coli and salmonella are some of the bacteria which are carried in dog waste.

Can my dog still poop with a blockage? ›

Sometimes. If the blockage is caused by a foreign body, the dog can often pass it through the gastrointestinal tract and out in the stool. Your vet may recommend fluid therapy—either IV (through a vein) or subcutaneous (under the skin)—to address dehydration and help the object pass.

How do you know if dog has intestinal blockage? ›

Symptoms of Bowel Obstructions in Dogs

Signs of an intestinal blockage in dogs, or a bowel obstructions may include: Straining or unable to poop. Weakness. Loss of appetite.

Can dogs eat their throw up? ›

Vomit also contains a high level of acid which can damage your dog's tooth enamel and esophageal lining. While eating regurgitated food is unlikely to cause harm, it's best to remove your dog from any food that he brings up, whether by vomit or regurgitation.

Why does my dog eat sticks and bark? ›

Pica: Pica is a condition that drives dogs to eat non-food items. Truly, anything can cause a dog to experience pica. Nausea, stress, anxiety, hunger, or underlying medical conditions can cause this strange disorder.

Why does my dog destroy sticks? ›

This activity keeps their jaws strong and their teeth clean. Dogs love to chew on bones, sticks and just about anything else available. They chew for fun, they chew for stimulation, and they chew to relieve anxiety.

Can I give my dog Benadryl for licking paws? ›

When dog parents suspect their pup has allergies, one of the first things they want to try is an over-the-counter anti-histamine. In most cases, it is okay to use Benadryl for a dog's itchy paws.

Does apple cider vinegar help with dog's itchy paws? ›

How do I Treat My Dog's Irritated Paws? ACV will soothe the irritation on paws that are infected by bacteria due to excessive licking and scratching. Soak the paws of your pooch in two-part water to one part Apple Cider Vinegar bath for 5 minutes. Just pat dry the paws and do not rinse them.

Can I put apple cider vinegar on my dogs paws? ›

For topical use, create an apple cider vinegar rinse for after your dog's bath, as a remedy for irritated skin or a dry coat (1 cup ACV per 2-4 cups water). It's common for dogs to get yeast infections in their paws; soaking your dog's paws in ACV will relieve that too.

Why does my dog bite his paws till they bleed? ›

Biting their paws due to stress

Your dog may be secretly licking or chewing their paws if they still show signs of bleeding or soreness. For dogs with separation anxiety, it is common for them to bite their paws whilst you're not there, due to feeling anxious or stressed about being left alone.

Can I give my dog Benadryl? ›

Benadryl is a great medication for use in dogs with mild-to-moderate allergies. Seasonal allergies, food allergies, environmental allergies, and allergic reactions to snake and insect bites all respond to Benadryl in most cases.

Why does my dog keep biting himself but no fleas? ›

Although scratching with their feet is the most common way a dog will address skin irritation, they may also choose to bite or lick themselves to try and soothe the irritation. This could be brought on by food allergies, bacterial infections, environmental allergies and plenty of other complications that aren't fleas.

Do dogs realize they fart? ›

Dedicated to the core, they went on to show that the dog olfactory system contains hydrogen sulphide-responsive cells. This proved, at the molecular level, that dogs have the capacity to detect their own farts.

How do you tell if your dog is happy living with you? ›

He always looks you in the eye.

Eye contact is a major sign of trust in dogs, so those loving looks the two of you share while sitting together after a long day of hanging out are sure signs of a happy doggo. Dogs also make eye contact as a way to check in with you and make sure you're feeling as happy as they are.

How long is a dog's memory? ›

Memory Span

"Dogs forget an event within two minutes," reported National Geographic, citing a 2014 study performed on various animals from rats to bees. Other animals have long-term memories, such as dolphins, but dogs don't seem to have a long-term memory that lasts much beyond those two minutes.

Does spraying vinegar stop dogs from chewing? ›

You can easily make a chewing deterrent spray using vinegar or citrus oil. Alternatively, you can rub some clove oil on items that are most "chewable." The bitter taste will deter your fluffer from noshing on your things.

How do you make homemade anti chew spray for dogs? ›

  1. Add 1 part white vinegar and 2 parts apple cider vinegar into a spray bottle.
  2. Shake bottle to combine.
  3. Spray Homemade Puppy Chew Spray onto area puppy is chewing to prevent them from continuing to chew.
Apr 10, 2018

Will vinegar keep dogs from chewing on furniture? ›

Discouraging a few destructive behaviors such as chewing on furniture can be easily prevented by using vinegar. Put vinegar in a spray bottle and spray on and around furniture which you would like to become off-limits to your pooch.


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