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Why do dogs eat wood?

Updated on July 6, 2009

People have different reasons in getting a dog. Dogs are hunted, utilized to herd and guard livestock, used to perform farm works and guard the family. Dogs though are most commonly kept as companions. Dogs are much loved and highly valued because they are loyal and affectionate animals. A responsible owner would spare no expense to provide the dog with the best care and high quality food. However, dogs do have some very disconcerting eating habits. An owner would certainly be puzzled by the dog’s habit of eating feces, vomits, dirt, mud and many other non-edible things. A new dog owner would surely be surprised if he finds the new sofa without a leg because the dog has eaten the wood.

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Pica is the habit of eating non-edible things. We know that dogs have great appetites, they are voracious eaters but it would still be perplexing to the owner if the dog that is provided with enough food would still eat things with no nutritive values. There is no definitive reason for this abnormal eating habit of the dog.

An attention-starved dog

Dogs are pack animals. In the wild they stay together. Domesticated dogs consider the family as its pack. Because of busy schedules the family may not have time to spend with the dog. Often times this would result into a lonely pet that craves for the attention of its people. The dog will be destructive…dig holes in the garden, chew the carpet and eat wood to gain the attention of the master. The dog will surely be scolded. But for the dog negative attention would be much better than no attention at all.

Nutrient deficiency

Some dog experts believe that the wood eating habit of the dog can be its way of filling up the nutrient deficiency in the diet. Low grade commercial dog food mostly contains cereal fillers. Various studies have been conducted on the behavior of dogs but the dog’s uncanny ability to know what is wrong with their system was never explained. The nutrient deficiency theory however is not accepted by some dog owners given that even if a dog is fed premium quality foods, the dog would still manifest the wood eating habit.

Is wood eating dangerous for the dog?

Dog owners would agree to the need of stopping this bizarre eating habit. Not only would it be too expensive to change the wooden door or the furniture eaten by the dog but this habit can have dangerous repercussions to the health of the dog. Wood splinters can get embedded on the mouth and can perforate the esophagus and the intestines of the dog. Wood can block the throat and the intestines as well.

Wood Eating Dogs

ben eating a chunk of wood

The Dog Who Loves Wood


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      Flo Martin 4 years ago

      I also have adog who eats copious amounts of sticks the whole thing,she swoollow.s all of the stick .

      What is the best thing to do? She is four years old.

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      haley blanche 5 years ago

      My dog (pit bull) eats big pieces of wood, she ate an entire log in one hour, she carries them around with her too ( she's two) she plays ball gets two walks aday and three bowls full of food, she continues to eat it even after she gets splinters, don't know what to do with her

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      John B 5 years ago

      My dog (an English Setter) eats wood and hard plastic. If the wood had not become lodged in his esophagus we would not know that he had hard plastic in his stomach. The vet had to scope him (3 hours sedated)to unlodge and retrieve the wood then explored this stomach and found the hard plastic. The plastic was retrieved through his esophagus. We were told that it would have eventually killed him because it was cutting the lining of stomach plus would eventually cause cancer. He gets great food and lots of attention. Can't figure out why he does this.

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      Sam 6 years ago

      My Dog is an outside dog and gets plenty of exercise as well as attention. He also is feed kibbles and bits dog food by the weight scale on the bag, but yet he continues to eat and swallow wood. Whether it be sticks or chunks of wood. He is 3 years old and is still very playful. I do not know how to stop this behavior. I fear my dog is going to become ill from this bizarre behavior. When he was a puppy he got very sick and it took weeks to get him well again, whereas all 4 of his siblings and mom and dad died. No known cause. This is when he started this habit. Does anyone have any idea of how to stop this behavior?

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      wordscribe41 8 years ago

      My puppy (well he's 8 months old) is the stick eating king, I tell you. And, he enjoys a nibble on our trim from time to time. Has all the stimulation, attention, best food in the world. They're just programmed to chew and it becomes habit. Great hub.