It's natural for a dog to chew things, but giving him wood or sticks to chew can be potentially dangerous. Pieces of wood can break off and cause injuries, along with further problems, to your pooch's mouth, digestive system and his respiratory tract.
The Dangers of Splinters
It's not advisable to give a dog wood to chew as splinters and fragments can get wedged between his teeth and embedded in his mouth and throat. These injuries may result in inflammation, infections and painful abscesses for the poor pooch. If he swallows fragments, they can result in an obstruction or damage to any part of his digestive system. While inhaled pieces of wood may cause the dog to choke. They can also get lodged in his respiratory tract, where mucus can build up behind the fragment and allow bacteria to breed. If your dog is pawing at his face, drooling, gagging, regurgitating, vomiting or you think he may have wood stuck somewhere, see your veterinarian immediately.
Changing Your Dog's Chewing Habits
If you catch your dog chewing wood, or anything harmful or inappropriate, get his attention by making a loud noise and then offer him a safe chew toy. Praise your dog when he takes the toy in his mouth. You can also teach him to leave the stick or other object by offering him a yummy treat for it. Once he understands what you want, add the "give" command as a cue to leave the object.
- Caring For Your Dog; Dr. Bruce Fogle
- Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook; Debra M. Eldredge DVM et al.
- The Humane Society of the United States: Chewing: The Whys and Hows of Stopping a Gnawing Problem