So, Why Do Dogs Pick Up Sticks and Play With Them?
Well, this might be a trivial curiosity, but knowing the answer to this question could help you better understand your dog. Who knows, the answer to your question could be one of the keys to helping you form a stronger relationship with your pooch.
Sticks Serve As A Natural Pacifier
Human babies love to suck on pacifiers to keep themselves calm and occupied. The same can be said with puppies who are between four to six months old.
In this stage, puppies undergo teething which makes them feel uncomfortable and sometimes, in pain. To alleviate this discomfort, they would look for something to chew on and sticks are just among the right choices.
As they grow older, dogs tend to bring with them the habit of chewing on sticks. Thus, even if they are already adults, you would still see some dogs who are naturally drawn to sticks.
Dogs Chew On Things For Fun
Like all animals, dogs love to spend time having fun. Playtime is a way for them to release stress, strengthen bonds, and exercise. Playtime is also when they can get adventurous and use sticks as toys.
It is worth noting that some sticks resemble the shape of a bone. For some dogs, it’s a good substitute. Since they love to chew and rip things apart, a stick could very well serve the purpose.
Chewing on Sticks Keeps Their Teeth Clean
We brush and floss to keep our teeth pearly white and healthy. However, dogs don’t naturally do those things. So, what’s the alternative? They pick up sticks and chew on sticks. The biting and grinding motion against the wood could help in getting rid of plaques and food residue.
We Encourage Them
Dogs who are used to playing fetch will naturally go for a stick because they’re used to the game and probably don’t mind playing it again…and again. Additionally, there’s no shortage of sticks to pick up when you’re outside, so it’s easy for them to find one to play with.
Pica is a compulsive behavior that drives people to eat non-edible food such as hair, mud, paper, clothes, and others. Pica can also be seen in dogs. They may have an abnormal craving for things they are not supposed to eat which include wood and sticks. This is a big problem because it may cause nutritional deficiencies.
Pica develops due to the following:
If you believe your dog is exhibiting pica behavior, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.
To Get Or Not Get Sticks?
Armed with the knowledge of why your dog picks up sticks and plays with them, should you encourage this behavior? Yes and no. If your dog is picking up sticks to play with them, that’s fine. However, if they are picking up sticks and using them in atypical ways, it’s best to consult with your vet.