Can Your Dog’s Chewing Habits be Dangerous? Puppies love chewing on everything in sight. As adults, they’re generally more controlled and will contain their chewing to bones and chew toys. As your dog matures, if it continues to eat objects other than food, you should consult your veterinarian as they might suffer from a condition called pica, which makes them crave non-food items. Chewing on Wood Puppies and adult dogs love to play fetch, and they often play fetch with wooden sticks and branches. What many people don’t realize is that chewing on wood can be bad for a dog. If your dog is eating wood, two things can happen. Smaller pieces of wood can splinter their mouths and esophagus causing discomfort and damage. Secondly, larger pieces of wood can perforate the stomach and intestines and block their bowels. Both scenarios can be uncomfortable and painful for your dog and would result in having to take your pet to an animal clinic. Outdoor Risks There are also other dangers for your dog outdoors. Some dogs like to graze on grass and eat rocks. If not chemically treated, the grass is not much of a risk, but grass that has been treated with chemicals is not good for your dog as the chemicals can be detrimental to their health. Whereas, eating rocks can pose some of the same risks as eating wood. Precautions and Training There are several precautions you can take as a dog owner to prevent your dog from eating wood. If they have a habit of picking things up and eating them, then start with trying to keep your yard as clean and free of debris as possible. Remove the temptation. When playing fetch with them, use toys made for dogs. There are also several training methods you can use to try and break your dog’s dangerous chewing habits. Keeping your dog leashed will prevent it from running off to pick things up. Reward your dog for good behaviour. Train your dog to “leave it” when ordered to do so. Visit Our Animal Clinic for a Walk-In Appointment If Your Dog Is Experiencing Discomfort If your dog cannot be trained not to eat wood, then consider having him muzzled when outdoors. When he’s in your own yard, the best scenario would be to have a gated area for him clear of any debris. If you suspect that your dog may have eaten anything that may be causing pain and/or discomfort then do not hesitate to contact your local animal clinic. The local Toronto vets at the Bellamy-Lawrence are always waiting to help, often helping clients who visit us from Scarborough as well.