Franny has this thing about sticks. At the park, on the beach, and anywhere in between she will forget everything to stop and chomp a stick into little bits. The strangest thing is, she is very selective about her sticks – some lovely wood chips she passes by in favor of others. It’s mystifying and, after awhile, I began to get concerned and looked it up:
Dogs that eat wood chips/sticks is a relatively mild form of a syndrom called Pica. Pica is the ingestion of non-food items and often extends to household items like shoelaces, candy wrappers and rags. There could be a few different reasons for a dog’s Pica:
1. Your dog is bored
2. Your dog does not have enough fiber in their diet or has some other dietary deficiency
3. Your dog has esophageal dysphasia, or difficulty swallowing food.
4. Your dog is continuing a behavior they picked up in childhood
Eating sticks can be dangerous for your dog because the wood may splinter and become lodged in their intestine. Because Franny is more interested in chewing the wood than in eating it, I suspect this is a habit she picked up as a puppy and carries on today.
If your dog is showing evidence of Pica, contact your vet.