When a puppy is in his teething stage, it is very normal for him to chew on anything his mouth can get. This is helpful to the puppies because at this stage they are trying to massage their gums which sometimes become itchy due to the budding teeth.
It is common to find a mature dog still chewing on things including wood despite passing through the teething stage. At this point, your dog has now acquired the chewing habit and he is mostly doing it now for entertainment and stress relief.
Chewing on wood is perfectly normal for dogs but it becomes a great worry when he is now destroying things in the house.
For puppies, you can keep your valuable item in a secure and raised place and you can be certain that he will not reach it. A major disadvantage with adult dogs who like chewing is that they are tall enough to jump to any level they desire.
On the question of how to stop a dog from chewing on wood, it is important that you first secure and confine the items which you would desire to keep off from the dog. Some items like the T.V cabinet and wooden coffee table cannot be confined in any other place apart from the living room. So, it is very important that you train your dog to avoid such items.
Is Wood Bad for Dogs?
You might ask yourself, is wood really bad for my dog? Is my dog safe when playing in the field? When your dog plays in the fields, he is exposed to many types of woods and it is particularly dangerous when he is unmonitored.
Whilst your dog might chew on other things including shoes and curtains, it is particularly important to know the dangers associated with him chewing on wood.
3 Concerns to Worry About When Your Dog Chews Wood
1. Sharp woods might cause injuries and dents to your dog’s gums, tongue, or mouth.
2. Small chippings of wood might get lodged in your dog’s mouth and eventually find their way to the respiratory tract giving rise to health concerns.
3. When your dog ingests large wood pieces, it might go down the digestive tract creating some perforations in the stomach walls and intestines.
Having hinted at one of the reasons that make puppies chew wood, other reasons can make your dog cherish this behavior which has now transformed into a habit.
5 Reasons Why Dogs Chew on Woods.
1. Teething in puppies. As I mentioned earlier, puppies will tend to chew on wood when they have budding teeth because they are trying to relieve the pain from gums during this stage. Aside from that reason, puppies will also have a natural affinity to chew because they are trying to interact with their new environment.
As part of exploring new things, young dogs will also sniff and lick a lot. Within the first three weeks, a puppy will have started growing some teeth and at the end of four months, he will have completed the teething process. Other puppies take six months to develop adult teeth from the milk ones depending on the breed.
2. Your dog is bored. If you have the habit of leaving your dog lonely for long hours, then he can interact with other things in your house including chewing on furniture. A bored dog can do even more disastrous things including escaping to the nearest field to chase birds.
Always be mindful of how long you intend to leave your dog alone in the house. If you don’t have any family members within your house, you can consider getting the pet sitting or dog walking services near you.
3. Separation anxiety is also another condition that makes dogs chew on wood. Separation anxiety arises in dogs when they are not able to see you as often as they are used to. If you have been staying with your dog for say, ten hours a day then you abruptly change it to two hours a day, this can be a cause for separation anxiety in dogs.
Your dog will chew on the furniture as he tries to cope and alleviate the stress of your absence. Please observe when your dog appears to suffer from severe anxiety and stress and visit a vet for this case. You can also opt for specialized training that will reduce this condition.
4. Entertainment or playing. Your dog might simply be playing around and entertaining himself by chewing on various items at his disposal. Sometimes, your dog might have learned how to play with woods by your actions of throwing a stick at him whenever you are playing together.
In this way, your dog has learned that sticks and wood are the only interesting tools of engagement during playtime.
5. In rare circumstances, your dog might be chewing on wood because of a medical condition known as Pica where he is fond of chewing and eating items that have no nutritional value. This condition can also arise in other pets and human beings.
Despite the reasons that make your fur baby have this habit, there are some proven measures you can take to stop dogs from chewing on wood.
5 Tips on How to Stop A Dog from Chewing on Wood
1. The first thing you would want to do is keep the delicate wooden items in a place where your dog will not easily find. Here there is a challenge when you are dealing with an adult dog because he can jump higher to get hold of something.
You will need to figure out a confined place where you can securely keep your item. For example, if your dog tampers with the flower pot, you can decide to hang the pot on the ceiling of your house.
2. Give your dog a chew bone to play with. Whenever you notice that your dog is chewing on wood for entertainment, you can immediately hand a chew bone to him as a substitute. Most chew bones have a pleasant scent to dogs that make them play with them for long and your dog will also start to realize that there are other more pleasant items to play with.
Aside from that, your dog also gets beneficial values when playing with a chew bone. Some chew bones can remove plaque from your dog’s teeth hence keeping his mouth clean with sparkling teeth.
3. Clean your Yard regularly. You need to visit your yard where your dog finds time to spend outdoor moments and remove every lying stick, wood chippings, or pieces of logs that your dog can easily pick up. It is important to make this clean-up exercise a regular habit rather than a one-off activity.
If you have a pile of firewood somewhere, you can cover it properly with a bag ensuring that your dog will not have easy access to it.
4. Confine and have control over your dog when in the house. Some people believe that giving their dogs the freedom to roam everywhere within the house is a good idea. When you give your dog too much space to go, he might be indiscipline and tend to play and chew with anything that comes his way, after all, he sees a very huge house.
This step should not be taken literally in the sense that you now put your dog as a slave. Having your dog under control will come as a result of consistent training where the dog will know the most important things that he should not play and destroy. You can start by leashing your dog and teaching him to sit and be calm outside playtime hours.
5. You need to spend enough time with your dog to discourage him from chewing out of boredom. You can have common playing times and regular outdoor walks. Whenever you are playing with your dog, avoid throwing sticks at him as a method of enticement.
At this point, make use of safe toys and treats. You also need to ensure that you have got the right toy for your dog’s age. Monitor your dog’s toys regularly and check for cracks and dents. If cracked, you can dispose of the toy before it brings injuries to your fur baby.
3 Further Steps to Take If Your Dog Continues Eating Wood
At this point, it is important to know that your dog is chewing on wood because he has developed the habit. This means that he gets more pleasure when chewing on wood rather than paying with the toys and chew bones.
You can take the following further measures to correct this habit.
1. Spray your vulnerable wooden items with bitter dog repellant spray. Make sure that the spray you are using in this procedure is non-hazardous to dogs and other pets within your household. It is recommended to use a spray that is suitable for both dogs and cats.
Do not go for one that can be used for dogs only while it chokes your cat completely. You can use this spray to train your dogs on the things he should avoid and the ones he is free to play with. Ensure that you keep the dog toys and chew bones far from the sprayed items.
2. Apply the use of negative reinforcement to stop your dog from chewing wood. When your dog approaches a wood to chew, you can create noise to frighten the dog followed by a definite NO! Every time your dog sees the wood that he likes to chew, he will associate it with noise and a no from you hence staying away from it.
3. Reward your dog with treats for a positive behavior change. Do not ignore the little milestone your dog does when recovering from the chewing habit. Have treats in place and show him some appreciation every time he does good.
If your dog is completely out of control in this behavior, you can now seek the services of a trainer to carry out specialized training on your dog.
What Not to Do
- Some people have the habit of sprinkling wood with cayenne pepper and chili as a way of trying to keep dogs from chewing wood. Whilst this may work by irritating your dog against the items, I do not recommend it because when the cayenne pepper or chili lands on the dog’s eyes, the effects might be lethal. Your dog will try and do everything within his means to remove the cayenne powder from his eyes and in the process, he might injure himself severely.
- Do not hit or punish your dog for chewing on wood. It is not only bad behavior, but it also poses a potential danger to your dog. After hitting your dog when chewing, he will become so frightened and resort to running. In the process, you may find that there was a piece of wood that was in your dog’s mouth.
Due to the sudden move, your dog might internally injure his mouth using the wood to the extent of bleeding. Also, dogs can be aggressive and when you punish them, they might fight you back in revenge on top of ruining the relationship with them.
While chewing on everything including woods is completely normal behavior for puppies during the teething stage, you need to start early enough in teaching your dog what to chew and what not to chew after he has developed all teeth.
Have a look at the video below by Dr. Saro where he gives a specific example on how to stop dogs from chewing on woods.
Did your puppy continue chewing on wood even after he got all teeth? How do you feel about it? Please let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading through my article.