Dogs love to chew on things.
Unfortunately for them, some items they find irresistible are also harmful to their health.
Wood is one of those items dogs will eat if left unchecked.
This article will discuss why this happens and what you can do about it.
Why Do Dogs Eat Wood?
Wood is an item that many dogs have a natural attraction to.
It’s not just because they like to chew on things, but because they like the taste of wood.
Many experts believe that this is linked to their instinctive need to chew on something in order to cleanse their teeth.
In fact, dogs who don’t chew enough may suffer from gum disease, which can cause tooth decay and even lead to death.
However, chewing on anything can be dangerous when done improperly.
For example, dogs who consume too much wood can experience digestive issues, including stomach ulcers.
Some dogs also develop kidney stones after consuming too much wood.
The main reason why dogs eat wood is due to their desire to satisfy their basic needs.
When dogs feel hungry or bored, they often turn to whatever materials are available around them.
They may even resort to eating objects that are not considered food by humans, such as rocks or grass.
It is important to remember that some dogs do not have access to other sources of nutrition at home.
If you own a dog who does not get enough food, it is possible that he or she may try to get nourishment from alternative sources.
What Are the Benefits of Eating Wood?
For a dog, chewing on wood isn’t bad in and of itself.
It’s just a natural behavior that comes with being a dog.
The problem arises when a dog chews on wood at an inappropriate time.
When a dog eats too much wood, there are several potential consequences. Some of these include:
- Damage to teeth
If a dog ingests enough wood, he could develop a serious condition known as wood ingestion syndrome.
A dog suffering from this condition may exhibit signs of vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy, and/or depression.
In severe cases, a dog may have difficulty breathing and may even die.
The good news is that most dogs don’t need to worry about developing wood ingestion syndrome.
Fortunately, many of the symptoms associated with this condition can be treated effectively.
Eating Too Much Wood Can Be Dangerous
Although a few dogs can become seriously ill after ingesting too much wood, most don’t suffer any adverse effects.
Even so, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
If you suspect your dog has eaten too much wood, take him to a vet immediately.
A visit to the vet is especially necessary if your dog has:
- Vomited blood
- Had difficulty breathing
- Seemed depressed or lethargic
- Chewed on his own vomit
- Had diarrhea
- Lost more than 10% of his body weight within 24 hours
If your dog can’t go outside without chewing on something, consider putting up a barrier between him and the wood.
Plastic rope works well for this purpose.
What Are the Risks of Eating Wood?
Eating wood isn’t dangerous in and of itself.
However, there are risks involved when doing so.
For example, consuming hardwood can result in stomach inflammation, which may require surgery.
The most common form of wood ingestion is swallowing.
Ingesting softwoods (such as pine) can cause digestive problems.
Hardwoods (such as oak) can lead to intestinal blockage or perforation.
Other risks include aspiration pneumonia and foreign body obstruction.
Ingesting wood can be dangerous for other reasons.
For example, chewing on wood can irritate the mouth, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.
Chewing on wood can also damage the teeth, gums, tongue, palate, and throat.
This can lead to an infection called pyrophosphate arthritis, which affects the joints.
Wood can also carry bacteria that can cause infections.
For instance, ingesting wood from infected trees can lead to salmonella poisoning. I
nfected wood can also harbor spores of anthrax, tularemia, and botulism.
If you have a backyard tree farm, you should know that your dog could pick up these diseases from the birds or rodents that visit the area.
You may want to make sure that all your trees are free from pests before allowing your dog to roam around the garden.
What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Wood?
As discussed in the introduction, dogs love to chew on things.
A common example of this behavior is when your dog eats wood, which we’ll discuss below.
While most dogs don’t have a problem with chewing on wood, there are many who do.
For whatever reason, some dogs get into the habit of eating wood.
The good news is that it isn’t necessarily a life-threatening issue, but it does make your dog sick.
If your dog eats wood, it is important to consult with a veterinarian immediately.
The vet will be able to determine whether your dog has an underlying medical condition that requires treatment.
In addition, he may recommend further tests to rule out other potential issues.
In some cases, your vet may suggest that you remove the offending item from your dog’s diet.
It would be best to follow their instructions carefully so that you know exactly how to proceed.
How Can I Prevent My Dog From Eating Wood?
The most common reason that dogs eat wood is because they’re bored.
They may be bored while you’re at work during the day, so they decide to play around by chewing on something.
When nothing else is available, they’ll often choose wood over other materials.
Other dogs might have a natural curiosity towards new objects.
Some dogs enjoy chewing on wood because it feels good in their mouth, especially if they’re not used to it.
The texture of wood provides a great sensation for many animals, even though it’s not good for their teeth.
In addition to these two main causes, there are a few other ways that dogs get into trouble when they eat wood.
A lack of exercise could lead to boredom.
Just like people, dogs need to stay active throughout the day to avoid becoming overweight and unhealthy.
Dogs that don’t get enough physical activity are more likely to try and fill the void by chewing on something.
Some dogs prefer certain types of food.
For example, some dogs will only eat raw meat, while others won’t touch anything but kibble.
Many dogs are curious creatures.
They want to explore new things, and this includes chewing on new objects, such as wood.
Some dogs are just plain picky.
They’ll only eat certain foods, including treats. Wood isn’t on that list.
If your dog is chewing on wood, there are three main factors that cause this behavior:
Let’s take a look at each of these causes in turn.