Dog Eating Wood: How To Make It Stop

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Dog chewing on piece of woodDogs chew on wood because they like chewing on things. That’s why you see dogs constantly playing with chew toys, and why chew bones and treats are so popular with dogs. The problem with wood is that it’s not the best thing for your dog. While it’s fairly common for a dog to chew on wood (especially if you use sticks or small logs to throw to them when you’re playing fetch) your dog will thank you if you help them lay off the wood. Why? Read on to learn more.

Why is Wood Bad for my Dog?

The problem with your dog eating wood is two-fold. First, small pieces of wood can lodge splinters in the mouth and esophagus, causing damage. Second, large pieces of wood can cause even greater problems, including perforated intestines or stomach lining, and obstruction of your dog’s bowels.

How Do I Keep My Dog From Eating Wood?

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The key to keeping your dog from eating wood, as with anything you don’t want them to ingest, is to keep it away from them. Understandably, keeping wood away can be more difficult given your environment, especially if you live near a forest or wooded area. Basically, you’ll want to go out in your yard or wherever your dog is allowed to roam, and pick up all the sticks, logs, and other pieces of wood you can find. You don’t need to do a perfect job, but the more you clear out, the better. If you have a wood pile, it’s important that you cover it up to prevent your dog from accessing it. You might need to tie down the wood cover or tarp to keep your dog from getting to the wood.

Give Your Dog a Chew Toy

Finally, the key to keeping your dog from chewing on any little piece of wood they find is to provide them with something else to chew on. In this case, try different chew toys until you find one that he or she likes. Leave a couple out in the yard, and encourage your dog to chew on the toy instead of the wood. With time, they’ll hopefully get used to leaving the wood alone.

My Dog Won’t Stop Eating Wood

If they don’t, however, and keep going back to your wood pile, for example, you may want to consider adding something to the wood that will keep them away (bitter apple, or the sprays used to keep dogs off furniture). Finally, if you’re present, use negative reinforcement – say no, shake a can filled with coins above their head when they go near the wood pile, or put them in their “bad room” and ignore them for a while. These are all ways to let your dog know that wood is bad for them. Trust us, they will thank you for it.

Video: How to Stop Dogs From Chewing Wood

This three-minute video goes into more detail about some causes for this bad habit and additional tips for getting your dog to stop eating wood.

Has your dog eaten wood before?

Alex's first dog was a dalmatian named Domino, who at the time belonged to his girlfriend (now wife) Michelle. Alex first met Domino in Redondo Beach, California and they quickly became best pals. In North Carolina, a black lab mix, Storm, was added to the family. Domino lived to be 14 years old, and Storm 9, and Alex looks back fondly at all the love and happiness these pups added to his life over the years. Alex now lives happily in Winston-Salem, NC with his wife Michelle and their two dogs Bella (yellow lab mix) and Lily (Brown Carolina dog), and he doesn't take for granted for a second how much meaning canines add to his life, and how many lessons he learns from their love, happiness, and eagerness to live life to the fullest.

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We have two small mix-breed puppies. Brothers nearly 3 months old. They are what we are calling Yorki-Poo-Chiweenies. But our flowerbeds all around the house from the previous owner are pine or bark mulch. It seems nearly impossible to keep them away from it. The runt, Gus 4.5 lbs at 3 months is obsessed with these little hard pieces of wood. We’ll see him emerge from flower bed trotting away with a chunk of wood in his mouth. It’s keep-away at this point while he runs and we try to catch that little mug. But they are constantly supervised while outside. We are going to try the can of coins or other noise-making devices.
Mulch is especially dangerous for animals to ingest as it is chemically treated and/or artificially colored.
Jo lorns
My dog Springer will just chews wood for attention. It’s a ‘i will chew wood until you take me for wallies!’
That’s just what poppy is like though!
Why would a nine year old dog suddenly start to eat sticks? They have always liked to destroy a stick, but never eaten them. Could this be a medical issue or behavioural? We are trying to find out why suddenly after 9 years she has started to eat them?!
Many Thanks
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Hmmm that’s very interesting. I would suggest calling your vet and asking. I would think they should be able to answer your question over the phone without paying an office visit fee and then you can assess whether a trip to the vet is necessary or not. I have called my vet before with questions and she is always great about helping me assess my dog’s health and determine if an appointment should be made.
Meredith Sena
My 11 month old hound/lab mix loves to chew on my furniture and has destroyed a few pieces. I have used that bitter apple stuff and it doesn’t phase him. What else can I do to stop this? Chew toys only last so long before he goes back to my furniture.
Those “antlers” you can buy work really well for my two puppies. A year old husky and a 1 year 2 month great pyrenees – we’ve had them both since they were young pups. They can’t easily eat or swallow them like every plastic or nylon toy, they can’t splinter like wood, and they don’t cause diarrhea like himalayan yak chews or bully bones or rawhide. I also recommend buying yourself a dozen “Kongs” and stuffing them with kibble, whole milk unsweetened plain yogurt and peanut butter and only feeding your dog with Kongs from now on. Make your dog work for the food you give him, and freeze the Kongs; it takes them 45 minutes to eat the frozen food out of them and that’s 45 minutes of peace and quiet for you. Your dog will be tired from working at it and chewing on it. Do this for a few weeks and all of the sudden the chewing and destructive behaviors dissipate. Walk your dog so he isn’t bored. A tired dog is a well behaved dog. Good luck!
Jennifer c.
My chihas started chewing on wood right after her puppy’s were born. She use to never chew on anything. Now destroys everything. Mostly wood. Her and her 6 month old pupps are spoiled, have plenty of chew toys, bones, etc..but yet only wNt to chew the wood off of the bottom of the house, off the trees in the yard..and it’s getting rediclious.
I have a 2 yr old Chihuahua and she absolutely will not stop eating wood. She’s destroyed many pieces of furniture but even worse is that she can’t poop and it’s very painful for her. I’ve had to sit with gloves and help her to extract it because it will just get stuck . My question is that someone told me this might be a vitamin deficiency and is it a possibility?
Yes it is a possibility. If she does eat sticks that is probably the issue.
Like in the information and video, you need to prevent her eating any, or little sticks.
You could also try and give you dog more fibre instead.
Brian Hall
My Dog Rosa AKA Lickamatic used to lick medal, but a few years back she switched over to wood, unvarnished Doors, the Feet of our couch, a mirror that leans against the wall [n Sometimes you see her tail sticking out from behind] the bottom of our coffee tables, any wood, i asked my friend Randy what he thought about it. He said because it’s tasty. LOL or OCD[C].
Ben Wilson
I live near a small forest, so it is incredibly difficult to stoo my dog frim chewing wood, moreover she only does it when outside the house – garden included. The reason im only now searching for ways to stop this is because she had recently got a wood splinter stuck in the roof of her mouth; when i carried her home to stop her from trying to claw it out she had already swallowed it and I’m worried about the repercussions of that. So are there any other methods to use.
Sara Halverson
I have the same problem. I just got a 9 week old chocolate lab last week. I live near the woods and there are tons of small pieces of wood spread all over the yard, along with sticks and he just won’t stop eating them. It’s almost impossible to make him stop! Every time I would turn around I will have to say ‘no’. I don’t know what else I can do. I’ve tried giving him toys, but he can’t carry them all over the yard. I don’t know what to do.
Doug Vause
I had the same problem. Buy a multi-level shock collar (tone, vibrate, shock) that allows you to adjust the level of input then when your dog goes to do the undesired behavior use a voice command (drop it) accompanied with a tone at first to reinforce the voice command. If this works great! If not, next time use the voice command and vibrate, if yes great if not, next time use voice command with accompanied shock. It will only take one shock for the message to be received. You can adjust the intensity of each of the three which means you can change the reaction so they quickly learn what’s next if they choose not to respond with the appropriate behavior. These are a great teaching training device for curbing bad habits quickly especially on some dogs that are slow learner’s. They are used by a lot of trainers especially in field training. Here is one on Amazon that is water proof and works great Dog Training Collar, CUXUS 1968ft.
Brenda p
I became the owner I a 5yrokd corgi mix last Xmas tim he had beenwned by peeps who left him in fence 24 7 may be rain water table SCRAPS etc but he had no ideas bout commands of NO stop etc. So HE dug out of the fence and roamed ALWAYS for as much as h could get by with. After animal control cited him twice I finally took a day to devote to him and he is the perfect dog. Ahah AND a couple of GOOD BOY and Roscoe is eager to please worked with the furniture and all chewing . I tell this bc any negative words or thinking he’s bad only makes him run off. But the term GOOD BOY really works EVEN if I ALMOST whisper it
My dog is an old dog and never chewed on anything as a puppy but now she chews the fence up and gets out and if we leave her in the house she chews walls and door facings we don’t know what to do anymore. My husband is a truck driver and he left his truck to go inside to eat and while he was inside she chewed his bunk up. Please help
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Have you tried buying a kennel and putting her in it when you’re away from the house?
She is out most of the time. We have a large garden with lots of wood and stuff for her to chew on.
I’m at home most of the time and she still does it. I can’t put her in there all the time!
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Hmmmm, I’d suggest speaking to your vet about this and possible a trainer. Not only is your dog destroying a lot of things around your home, but she could also ingest something extremely dangerous to her. Dogs can be so sneaky sometimes! I’m sorry you’ve been dealing with this for over a year now! I hope you can find a solution for this.
Jo lorns
When she was younger she may have been having more exercise and food. Do you give her lots of excersise?
She may not be eating enough.
You may want to think about changing her feeding times, and doing more activity with her.
Thank you
Helen Kellogg
Help! My dog is eating the walls and base boards in my house
Daisy Castillo
Hi my name is daisy. I have two wonderful puppies . A 7 month old named buddy and a 4 month old named lola. So the problem I have is that Lola is making a habit to chew on anything that’s wood. She chews on the corners of my drawer, night stand, table chairs, and even corner walls. I’m very afraid for her if one day she gets a splinter or chokes on a piece. It’s very hard for her to stop doing this as much as I tell her to stop. Any advice ? Thank you
Brenda p
Change from NO to ah ah or something less said than no or stop also reward sweet talk mine love the u to praise them so much for. They literally would do anything for just being kind. Both were in bad homes with heavy discipline and loud voices
My sons dog tears the branches off the trees, rats the landscaping bark, inside the house he’ll find and eat laundry sheets, hand towels, socks and underwear. They try to make changes but he has to be in back yard. He’s from a rescue, Great Dane and only 8 months so still a puppy. We are worried for his health and he’s very high strung and attention needy. Love this baby. Any info to help. I’ve never seen this behavior.
I also have a rescue puppy, who happens to be a great Dane, and also happens to be 8 months old! She also has all the same devouring habit. Laundry sheets, paper towels, toilet paper, wood of any sort, socks and the like. My method for combating this is to just be mindful of it and correct her when she is trying to eat anything that she shouldn’t. It is a daunting task cause she is also high strung and full of energy; always getting into something.
Best of luck
Liz wood
My dog is the same way I have an English Springer spaniel, very sweet loving dog constantly needs attention. But anything she can find she will try and eat. Sticks wood, coal from our outside fire pit, rocks, socks laundry sheets she steals. It’s heart breaking and she is a year old. She turned 1 in March I’ve tried the bitter apple spray doesn’t work. I’ve tried a spray bottle to make her stop her bad behavior with sticks doesn’t faze her. The only thing that does work and gets her attention and I hate using it is a jar with coins in it she hates the noise and gets scared. But it’s only bc I want her to stop eating sticks and knowing it’s bad for her. I don’t want my girl to get sick or worse die from eating sticks
Susie Wells
My puppy is chewing on wooden furniture. Coffee table, chair legs, etc. She tears the stuffing out of all stuffed toys and dog bed. Help
My advice is to have plenty of chew toys for when you leave the puppy on its own (try to remember to remove most of them upon your return, so that they don’t lose their novelty). Every time you catch the puppy chewing something it shouldn’t, tell it “no!” and offer it a chew toy, to show it the correct behaviour.
Also, changing out the comfy bed for a folded sheet is often better for your bank balance until the puppy is past the initial ‘chew everything I can reach’ stage.
Hope this helps, good luck!
P.S. I should add that sometimes excessive chewing can be a sign that the puppy just needs to burn off some energy – generally, a tired dog is a content and obedient dog, so make sure your puppy is getting the exercise it needs and you’ll find it much easier to train. 🙂
Beside simple commands, there are two basic things I have been trying to fix with my dogs since I got them 18 months ago. First, peeing/pooping on the grass. Second, eating wood. In either case, they won’t do it when I’m with them. They know it’s not allowed (far as I can tell, at least). But the thing with dogs is that they really don’t care about you and your grass and your vet bills. If they think I’m not around, they sneak out the pet door to kill the grass. One of them has consumed who knows how many wood chips, a few wooden kids toys, chewed up baseboards, tree trunks and roots, and he’s even consumed portions of his own dog house that I built for him. Nothing that I have tried actually works other than a visible electric fence, so now my yard looks slightly like a prison. Our next phase is the training collar, which we just started. Maybe they’ll stop when they’re older, but the pain principle is the only thing that has worked consistently with my young dogs. It sucks to hear them yelp, but it’s been much better for our relationship now that the wire dishes out the punishment and I don’t come home furious to a destroyed yard or house after work.

I really like dogs. But I also really hate dogs. They aren’t loyal friends so much as insolent, dirty, destructive, needy, self-loathing slaves. I’ll never get puppies or rescues again.

The Game
Are you retarded?
Oh I feel so bad for your dogs. I’m glad to hear that you plan to never get dogs again because you shouldn’t be around them. I hope you can find a happy home for them instead of continuing to torture them.
I REALLY hope you never get your hands on a dog ever again.
Just the word hate in your text, is enough to know you should not own any dogs, or animals! Leave them to animal LOVERS!
You really have no business owning a dog. Please give it to a shelter. Both of you would be much happier.
Give your dogs to someone who will love them unconditionally. What wrong with you. If you wanted a loyal pet u love them. You get back what u sew. Obviously they don’t respect such a unkind authoritarian. Buy one of those robot dogs that u can set commands for n it certainly won’t poop on your precious grass. My goodness did u ever think to take the dogs out for a run around twice a day to poop on public grass that u can pick up of course n dispose of it so the poop doesn’t kill off the grass everyone uses
Yikes. You need to give your dogs to a local shelter. Dogs are not for you, Michael Vick. Get yourself a nice goldfish.
Josue, you should not be allowed to own a pet, sorry, you’re attitude sounds dangerous to me. If I knew your location, I would report you.
Annika Nicole
I have an 8 month old puppy named Finn. When I leave him home, he has taken a fancy in making chew toys of my mother’s collection of eye glasses. Any advice on how to stop this?
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Annika Nicole
Thanks so much!
ollie krapf
Thoughtful comments. I appreciate the specifics. Does someone know where my business could get access to a sample DD 1750 document to work with?
Cristina Sulzener
I took my puppy from a dog foster home about a year ago. I love him to bits; he has a great personality, and I feel that he loves our family so much. BUT, he bites and chews a lot. How to stop it?

My husband and I were thinking about taking him to ‘doggy school’, but then again, it’s extremely expensive, and the nearest ‘doggy school’ is far away from us. Maybe you have some advice? Thank you!

Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Checkout this article for some tips on puppy chewing. Good luck!
Zoe's mom
My dog loves to chew the mulch one puts around on outdoor areas. She is already reaching 9 months of age and will not stop. She also chews my rose bushes. If I get her to stop for a short period on one she goes to another and then decides to chew on small pebbles. I have tried everything, chew sticks she likes, (but she ends up swallowing those whole). She is a shih-Tzu, albeit a crazy one but this is a smaller dog! Help!
Stephen Begosh
I keep reading chewing sticks is bad for dogs, but have there been any studies on the instances of complications due to wood/stick ingestion. My 7 month old lab is mouthy and everything goes in. He is outside as much as possible and obviously I don’t want him eating crap his body can’t handle, but I can’t constantly track him down and take every stick/pine cone, etc. he encounters away. So, when you wrote this article, what scientific studies/journals did you find your information and what are the sources?
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Hi Stephen, thank you for your comment. We consulted with several vets and professionals about this issue and while wood isn’t harmful to ingest, it’s the size of the sticks and the splitter shape that can cause issues. While you don’t need to hunt down your lab every time he eats something, we recommend keeping an eye on him so you don’t cause him pain and suffering if he were to choke on a larger piece of wood. As mentioned in the article, splinters can cause internal damage and if he ingests too large of pieces he could develop perforated intestines or stomach lining, and his bowels could become obstructed.
I have a puppy who loves sticks, and pine cones. I have found out that pine trees are seriously not good for them. He breaks out around his mouth when he chews on them. Trying to get as many of the sticks and cones out of the yard. But living surrounded by pine trees is making it difficult
At ʍʏ ɦօʊsɛ աɛ ɦaʋɛ a աօօɖ քɨʟɛ ʄօʀ օʊʀ աօօɖɮʊʀռɛʀ aռɖ ʍʏ ɖօɢ աɨʟʟ ռօt stօք ɛatɨռɢ tɦɛ աօօɖ! Sɦɛ ɨs aռ Aʍɛʀɨċaռ Bʊʟʟɖօɢ aռɖ sɦɛ ʟօʋɛs աօօɖ!! Pʟɛasɛ ɦɛʟք!
Have a 10 month Labrador chewing the post supporting my deck. I’m considering trying a chew solution used for horses. Thought I would share the idea…products: Halt Cribbing and Chew Stop.
manu tewhata
I need some advice I have two dogs who like to bite the door frames, how can I stop them doing this?
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
That’s a great question! Sometimes this means that the dog needs more exercise and interaction. When your dogs are doing this, put their leashes on and head out to the park or go for a walk. (It’s important not to punish them because they won’t understand and it most likely won’t work.) If your dogs are chewing on the door frames when you’re away, leave some toys and treats out for them. When you return home, if nothing has been chewed on give them all the attention you can. Show them that you are happy with their behavior. If you catch your dogs chewing on the door frame, stop them. Try to redirect their attention to something else but again, don’t punish. You can also purchase anti-chewing spray and spray it all over the door frames. It has a bitter taste that dogs don’t like. Hopefully these tips help you out!
manu tewhata
Thank you Kimberly for your advice I let you know how it goes.
My husky will not stop eating sticks. Yes, they say to keep them picked up but that is impossible. There are too many. So now what do I do? I am going crazy!
You must dump chili powder on the affected wood or a stronger powder but not something like a ghost pepper.
Carole Dardin
With acres of trees this would be kind of hard. I do like the vicks suggestion but that would have to apply to furniture rather than sticks etc.
Kimberly Smythe
this didn’t work for my lab puppy. I used it for the holes she dug. She licked it up and it did not affect her at all.
Really these tips are useless. These are things you use on a good puppy with occasional behavioral slip ups. My dog is 6 months old and he has destroyed anything in his path. He bites on the wooden door frames and my parents want to give him away. Give us some real help here… not this helpless info.
J Davíd Guzmán
My puppy is also over 6 months and is a pure black labrador retriever. He can be a handful sometimes, and chew up things, but only when he hasn’t gotten enough attention. Puppies need a lot of attention, enough so that they can be worked out. Whenever they have extra energy to chew on furniture, that is often when the pup is alone. A preventative step would be to work your puppy out before leaving it alone, so that it sleeps throughout its alone time. Your puppy will also learn to respect you and your things more if you work it out often and to the core.
I agree with this post, my dog goes out and luckily has met a dog he gets along with! They run round until we have to carry him home in the morning and he loves it! We have no choice but to leave him alone for a few hours as we both work. 1 of us will come back at dinner time and he’s still asleep, and his reaction is, why are you disturbing me? But we have a problem with him chewing and eating wood, toys, socks, my favorite shoes! And anything that fits in its mouth, surely it’s not from a lack of love, attention or exercise? Can it?
Walk the dog before you leave, feed the dog entirely in treat dispensing balls, give the dog a good bully stick everyday when you leave, spray bitter spray on the door frames. And get some battery powered motion sensors to position near problem areas (for us it is chewing couches).