Dog Eating Wood: How To Make Them Stop

To sustain this free service, we receive affiliate commissions via some of our links. This doesn’t affect rankings. Our review process.

Dog chewing on piece of woodDogs chew on wood because they like chewing on things. That’s why you see dogs play with chew toys, and why chew bones and treats are so popular with dogs. 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?

Why Is Wood Bad For My Dog?

The problem with your dog eating wood is two-fold.

  1. Small pieces of wood can lodge splinters in the mouth and esophagus, causing damage.
  2. Large pieces of wood can cause even more significant problems, including perforated intestines or stomach lining, and obstruction of your dog’s bowels.

How Do I Keep My Dog From Eating Wood?

Get Free Pet Insurance Quotes

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.

Clear The Yard

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 firewood pile, it’s essential 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

Provide them with something else to chew. 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 wood. With time, they’ll hopefully get used to leaving the wood alone.

My Dog Won’t Stop Eating Wood

If they don’t stop the behavior, you may want to consider:

  • Add something to the wood that will keep them away (bitter apple, or the sprays used to keep dogs off furniture).
  • Use negative reinforcement – say “no” as they approach or start eating wood
  • Shake a can filled with coins above their head when they go near the wood
  • Put them in their “bad room” and ignore them for a while if they get a hold of a piece
  • Reward them with treats for good behavior

These are all ways to let your dog know that wood is bad for them.

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.

More Tips For Your Wood Loving Dog

If these solutions still don’t work, you might consider a behavior modification dog training class or training collar. And if your dog does swallow a wood piece, they might choke or get an upset stomach. So you will want to be prepared by learning how to give CPR to your dog and how to cure their upset stomach.

Has your dog eaten wood before?

About The Author:

Alex holds BS degrees in Management Science from the University of California at San Diego, and Computer Science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is the co-founder of Canine Journal and his first dog was a Dalmatian named Domino. Alex and Domino quickly became best pals as dog walks, hikes, an uncanny sense of what Alex was going through at any particular time, and other canine adventures enhanced Alex's life and well-being.

Alex's experience as a parent to several dogs since then have given him over 15 years of canine insight and perspective that he brings to Canine Journal. While he's been versed in everything from basic dog training techniques, canine diet and health, to pet insurance, the takeaways he holds most dear are the inspiration to live every moment to the fullest, and start each day with gusto and a tail wag.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

Leave a Reply

newest oldest most voted
Cathy Austin
Please help, how do I get my two month old puppy to stop chewing on the wood mulch that is all around my yard. It would take a dump truck to get rid of all of it and it’s way to big of an area to spray anything. Any suggestions?
Adam Hawryszko
I have a bullarab/great dane. She is a wonderul dog, but really destroys the backyard with her random hole digging. They are only tennis ball size holes and some double that. But I am starting to get a little grief from my landlord and I wouild hate to be evicted and try and relocate. I know its her natural instict to be this way, especially as she is a hunting dog. But does anyone have any experience with these kind of breeds, to maybe help lessen the amount of hole digging going on. I walk her and run her alot. She has plenty of toys to chew on and play with. Im just not sure what else to do. I have even put her poo in the holes and ash from the fire. She still just moves it and continues to dig. Much appreciate any advice given.
Lisa M
That’s not negative reinforcement dude.. The procedures you described are punishment.
Negative reinforcement IS punishment. It’s the opposite of positive reinforcement. Agreed not the ideal way to train.
No friend. It’s not. Reinforcement means that the behavior will continue and punishment means that the behavior will decrease. Negative means you’re taking something away and positive means you’re giving them something. Yelling no or hitting someone is positive punishment IF it actually decreases the behavior in the future. Don’t post online about things you don’t know about.
My adult American bulldog has an incessant desire to lick/chew on dead tree stumps. He foams at the mouth! Is there something in tree stumps he needs or enjoys?
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
It’s probably a nutrient deficiency that your dog is experiencing. Speak with your vet about his diet and see if there is an element he needs more of. It could also just be that your dog is bored and wants to lick/chew on the stumps.
My Yorker is eating mulch chips..
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Your dog could be lacking a nutrient, but more commonly, dogs do this because they are bored or curious. Try to keep your dog away from mulch. Ingesting wood can cause issues for your dog.
jason weeks
I have a 4 year old dog he is rot/red healer/blue healer/pit and golden retiever. I know a big mix… he is chewing the vinyl siding on my house and my wood porch. What can I do to get him to stop chewing on these things.
My dog smokie a gray doberman/pit mix has chewed the back of my china cabinet, the legs on my desk, the wood frame on the door, the baby gate. I’ve tried the sprays that are suppose to discourage, the can filled with coins. It doesn’t work. Please help.
Mary chambers
I have an older 10 year dog recently he srarted chewing on our deck..wood and nails. We have had this deck fir at least 4 years. I gave ny granddog she is 3 so i need to watch her close when she is outside. What should i do to keep the older dog to wuit chewing on my deck. He will not play with toys. Help please
My daughter had a Minnie Doberman . Her dog was okay and they turned her lose with her male dog they went outside and she said that afternoon she was bleeding on the bottom and didn’t look good. She said she thought she was chewing on the fence well she called vet and friend they told her what to do the dog last night ended up dying .
My 1yr old Malamute is eating the wood mulch in the yard. We have a large area on a hill and it is covered with mulch. We are looking for an alternate ground cover that will work on the hill and or trying to get her to stop eating the mulch. She has had GI issues and is on a hypoallergenic diet for her stomach and this is not helping. She has toys, a large yard to run etc. When she is eating a piece of wood and sees us she runs away to finish it. We are at our wits end with this. Any ideas for alternative ground cover for a large hill or some way to get her to stop would be great.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Oh no, that is not good! Have you considered replacing the mulch with river rock? You could also go to Home Depot/Lowes/Menards/etc. and ask them for recommendations. In the mean time, I suggest not letting your dog outside unless she is supervised or she is on a leash/stake to prevent her from eating the mulch. Eating wood can be life threatening to dogs. She may enjoy snacking on it but she has no idea what it could do to her.
Gill Watson
My 7 month old German Shepherd has started to strip the bark off my young tree. and the demolish the branches from it…. any ideas how to stoop this or if its dangerous?
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Hi Gill, did you read the article and watch the video? It has information regarding your comment. 🙂
I have a golden retriever with a similar problem. The article recommends removing the wood, but my dog will dig up roots and strip trees. The removal solution is not effective. In addition, negative reinforcement becomes a game when he is left outside since he is getting attention. Are there other resources to access to solve this problem?
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I am not a trainer, but my next suggestion would be to only allow the dog outside when he is on leash with you so you can prevent him from digging up and eating wood.
Cassie Mitchell
My great danes wont stop eating my porch they have toys treats bones but they prefer the porch my last great dance did the same treated un treated it doesnt matter but they dont eat sticks unless were at my moms out of town plus the lick my floor vent all the time would both of these fall under pica how do vets treat it
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. 🙂