Sticks are magical instruments for dogs. You pick one during your walks, and your pet becomes all excited. You throw it away, and they retrieve it like crazy! When your pet has a stick, they will chew on it with gusto. Thus, most pet owners wonder, why do dogs like sticks so much?
We all know that dogs like to chew on sticks. But why do they enjoy it so much? There are a few different reasons why dogs like to chew on sticks, but many of them have to do with the dog’s instincts and needs.
Dogs need an outlet for pent-up energy, and chewing is one way for them to release that energy more appropriately than just running around the house. They also use their mouths as tools, which can be very difficult when getting at something hard or long inside their mouths.
And finally, they often carry things in their teeth while hunting prey, which is why they enjoy carrying things between their teeth now too! This blog post will cover ten reasons why dogs have a seeming obsession with sticks and anything that looks like it!
Reasons Why Do Dogs Like Sticks
Dogs love sticks – they carry them around, and they chew on them. Canines have had this love for sticks for generations. Some dogs would even carry the biggest sticks they can and bring them home! Here are some of the reasons why dogs like sticks:
1. It is Fun to Have a Stick in Their Mouth
Dogs enjoy having something to carry or chew on. It is a calming activity that provides the dog with an outlet for pent-up energy, and it satisfies their natural need to hunt prey using what they have learned from hunting. Dogs also feel like they are fulfilling their instincts by carrying things between their teeth, like hunting prey.
Sticks are also viewed as toys, and your pet can have fun chasing and chew it for hours.
2. It Actives Your Dog’s Natural Hunting Instincts
Some dogs may be more likely to pick up sticks because of this instinct. Even the most domesticated dogs will pick up sticks and show them off like a fallen prey.
Having a stick in their mouth is also like hunting prey. Dogs have an instinctual need to hunt by carrying something between their teeth or using it as bait, and they will often use sticks for that purpose. Other animals might do the same thing with leaves!
3. Sticks Look Like Bones
There is a reason why sticks look like bones to dogs! They are not just similar in appearance, but they also share the same texture and smell. Dogs will often chew on their bone-shaped toy or stick as if it were another animal’s leg.
Wooden sticks can be a great alternative when gnawing on bones is not an option.
4. Your Dog is Teething or Have Sore Gums
If your dog has sore gums or is teething, they might be chewing on sticks more often. It could also explain why puppies chew on them so much!
Also, chewing on sticks is a natural stress reliever, so it calms most dogs to have a stick around.
5. Mouth Exploration
Some dogs will chew on sticks to explore their mouth. It is an instinct, and they might use the stick as an exploratory tool when there are no other opportunities for them to do so in real life.
If your pet likes to have something in its mouth to play with constantly, it must be for this reason.
6. Sticks Smell Good
Dogs have an amazing sense of smell. They would sniff, lick and taste things that smell good to them. It can be anything, including sticks, rocks, or dirt.
Even if you don’t or cannot smell it, your dog picks up enticing scents from sticks. And this is probably the reason why they are interested in it.
7. Your Dog Has Nutritional Deficiencies
Another possible reason why your dog keeps on chewing on sticks is that they have nutritional deficiencies.
If this is the case, you need to consult with your vet and get an expert opinion about any underlying medical cause for this behavior.
8. Sticks are For Fetch and Play
Sticks are a great toy to play with your dog. Get two sticks, one for you and the other for them lay them on both sides of their face, and ask them to “fetch.” Your pet will go crazy trying to get that stick!
Some dogs might not enjoy playing fetch, but they will still chew on it.
9.Sticks are Dog’s Natural Pacifier
Some dogs may be chewing on sticks because they are bored. You need to make sure that your dog is getting enough exercise and that the house is not too boring for them!
It’s a way of coping with boredom or stress by having something in their mouth all the time, similar to why babies put things into their mouths.
FAQs about Why Do Dogs Like Sticks
Is it Normal Behavior?
It is normal for dogs to pick up sticks and chew them. They might even prefer it over other toys!
But is this Behavior dangerous?
Generally, dogs would chew and spit out wood that comes off from the stick that they are gnawing.
However, there are also instances when dogs swallow small bits of wood which can cause stomach issues and potential bowel problems.
More so, stick fragments can also poke the lining of your dog’s mouth, tongue, or esophagus. It can cause bleeding and other serious injuries.
Are There Toxic Sticks that We Should Avoid?
Although sticks are typically harmless toys that bring hours of fun to your dog, some of them can harm your pet. It may have toxins and parasites that your pet can ingest and cause illness.
If you are to play with sticks with your dog, avoid red oak, black locust, black walnut, black cherry, yew, and red maple, as these are poisonous types of wood. If your dog ingested a piece of any of these types of wood, bring them to the vet immediately.
Medical Emergencies From Checking on Sticks
There are also cases of dogs eating sticks that have sharp edges or splinters. If a piece of wood punctures the dog’s stomach, it can quickly become life-threatening.
- Oral punctures and splinters in the gums or tongue
- Punctures in the esophagus, pharynx, and dogs hard or soft palate
- Obstruction in the respiratory tract, irritation or infection in the chest area including heart and blood vessels.
- Dogs that ingested pieces of wood may experience bleeding, irritation, or obstruction in the digestive tract.
- Ingestion of fungus, pathogens, and parasites from infested sticks.
- Impalement in the mouth, eyes, or face.
- Toxicity from poisonous sticks.
Tips to Stop Dogs from Eating or Chewing Sticks
Getting your pet to dislike sticks can be a challenge because their interest is rooted in their instincts. And since you cannot keep your dogs indoors all the time, here are some tips to help you out.
Bring a Chew Bone or Toy
Every time you go out for a way, stop your dog from picking up sticks on the way. You can offer them the chew bone or toy to distract them from any sticks they may find during your walk.
Supervise Your Dog When You are Outdoors
Sticks are a fun find for dogs, especially when you are outdoors. If you will let them play with a stick, make sure to keep an eye on them and do not let them eat the fragments.
Discourage Them From Chewing on Sticks
You may also apply insect repellent such as bitter apple or use hot sauce at the end of the sticks that your dogs play with. It will discourage them from chewing on it or eating it.
Have Toys That You Can Fill With Treats
There are also toys for dogs that you can fill with treats. Your pet will have hours discovering how it dispenses food or treats until it has gone empty.
Remove All Sticks Around at Home
If your dog has developed an unhealthy obsession with sticks, you have to act to correct this. Some pet owners discover piles of sticks in their backyard or indoors.
It might be hard for your dog, but start removing any sticks lying around at home before your pet has the opportunity to find them and chew on them again.
Get a Long Pole with A String as An Alternative
If you can’t remove the stick, try getting a long pole (like a broomstick) with a string attached to use as a toy for your dog!
Are There Alternatives to Dog Sticks?
After removing sticks from your home, make sure to provide your pet with plenty of toys and chew bones to keep them entertained.
With plenty of engaging and safe items to play with, your pet will not even notice the missing sticks.
Providing your pet with alternative toys is one of the best ways to stop them from chasing, picking up, or chewing any sticks.
Overall, the simple answer to why dogs like sticks are because they are fun.
Dogs can’t resist chewing things in general because their teeth constantly grow throughout life. Thus, they need something hard and tough to keep those pearly whites at bay!
They’re also instinctively drawn towards wood-like materials. These materials often don’t rot or decay, meaning your pup will always be able to find some tasty treats while exploring outdoors.
But there are a few other reasons related to instinct and needs that may be more important for you to know. Make sure to monitor your dog’s love for sticks so that it will not cause them harm or health problems in the future.
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