Sometimes chewing can be a problem -- not just for your favorite shoes but for the dog as well, if he ingests things he shouldn't. But chewing isn't always cause for alarm. Puppies chew on anything they can get in their mouths to explore their surroundings, and they chew on things to soothe the pain of teething. Some dogs chew to calm their nerves amidst stressful situations, and some do so for pure enjoyment. A stick from the yard is tempting and handy, but chewing on sticks generally isn't safe and can lead to various health problems.
Amy D. Shojai, author of "The First Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats," confirms that chewing on sticks can lead to mouth injuries in dogs. Chewing on sticks can cause injuries due to scraping and piercing. Chewing on sticks puts the dog at risk of splinters in the mouth. If you ever notice any sign of a problem because of your dog chewing on sticks, get him veterinary care immediately. Canines are significantly more vulnerable to mouth trauma than their feline buddies are.
Not only can chewing on sticks lead to unpleasant injuries inside of the mouth, it can trigger infection. Particularly pointy sticks are especially perilous to pooches. A pointy stick, ingested, could make holes in his gastrointestinal tract. This, in turn, can lead to infection, says Tracie Hotchner, author of "The Dog Bible." Splinters are also major hazards. When the small pieces travel to dogs' digestive tracts, they can cause puncturing. Foreign body obstruction in general is severely dangerous to dogs. A stick stuck in the gastrointestinal tract could require extraction by surgery.
Choking is another serious health concern associated with dogs chewing on sticks. Sticks can easily get wedged in the back portions of dogs' throats. They can also get caught on the upper portions of their mouths. Since dogs can easily find sticks on the ground outside, whether in public parks, on hikes in the woods or even in your backyard, it's crucial to closely monitor your pet's actions when outdoors.
Play it safe for your precious pet's sake. Don't allow him to chew on sticks. Potentially harmful sticks are more than just those that fell from trees. Toothpicks, teriyaki sticks, barbecue skewers, sticks from old popsicles, craft sticks and drink stirrers are hazards, too. Instead of allowing your pet to chew on sticks, talk to your vet regarding suggestions for exciting, dog-friendly chew toys instead. Rubber chew toys, for example, might make suitable options for your cutie.