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Is Cedar Chips Safe For Dogs? 5 Dangers + 5 Answers

Cedar Chips For Dogs

You’ve heard good things about this one…

Fellow dog parents highly suggest cedar chips…

They say you can use it as bedding for your dog.

However, before you do, you wanna make sure of a few things…

Moreover, will it be safe to use for your pooch?

Keep reading to find out:

  • If cedar chips can keep your dog warm.
  • 5 dangers when using cedar chips for dogs.
  • Whether cedar chips are toxic to your dog or not.
  • If using cedar chips can help repel fleas and ticks.
  • And many more…

Are cedar chips safe for dogs?

Cedar chips are safe for most dogs as they don’t contain any added harmful chemicals. Moreover, it’s natural and biodegradable. But, some dogs have an allergic reaction to cedar chips. Large-sized chips are also a risk when chewed. Such can cause mouth abrasions and GI issues. 

5 dangers when using cedar chips for dogs

#1: Some dogs are allergic to it

Cedar chips, in general, are safe for dogs.

That’s because it’s an all-natural product. So it doesn’t have any added dangerous chemicals.

However, some dogs are still allergic to cedar.

Such will show when your pooch comes in contact with the cedar chips.

Moreover, the condition is called contact dermatitis. And it has 2 types, namely:

Type of contact dermatitisDescription
Allergic contact dermatitisYour dog’s skin is specifically sensitive to a substance.
Irritant contact dermatitisThis type of allergy shows when your dog comes in contact with an irritant.

Both types bring damage to your dog’s skin.

However, for this specific scenario, the irritant type is to blame.

Now, this condition starts when your dog’s immune system overreacts.

And in this case, such a reaction is triggered by touching the cedar chips.

Then, the reaction shows through your pup’s skin.

That’s why the leading symptom of this condition is skin irritation.

While the other signs are:

Moreover, secondary infection can occur as well.

That’s because the area affected might be moist and open.

With that, it becomes an entrance and environment for bacteria to multiply.

Last but not least, PetMD says that some dogs are more prone to allergies. Those are:

  • Poodles.
  • Bulldogs.
  • Shih Tzus.
  • Cocker Spaniels.
  • Golden Retrievers.

But, every dog can still develop allergies.

Continue reading: Help, My Dog Is Constantly Scratching And Biting Himself!

#2: Trace presence of plicatic acid

As I said earlier, cedar chips are safe for dogs. That’s due to them being as natural as they come.

But, they’re not that perfect…

You see, cedar shavings can also have traces of the so-called plicatic acid.

What’s that?

It’s a widely-known component that’s mostly found in Thuja.

Such is a group of trees in the cypress family.

Now, Western Red cedars belong to that group…

And although many suggest that Thuja can work for dog warts

It poses a rare and minimal risk in this specific case…

That’s because a compound called plicatic acid can be traced in red cedarwood.

Moreover, that acid is a known allergen. And it can affect both dogs and humans.

Apparently, its wood dust can impact someone’s health.


Plicatic acid can cause inflammation in the lungs.

Therefore, creating respiratory issues…

The damage that plicatic acid does

I’ll be talking about this study‘s findings…

What they did was expose cells from the lungs to plicatic acid. That acid is extracted from cedarwood.

Now, their results show that it causes the destruction of the lung cells. 

With that, their conclusion is:

Repeated exposure to plicatic acid can lead to chronic lung damage. 

Now, here are the signs that your pooch is affected by this:

  • Fever.
  • Nausea.
  • Lethargy.
  • Coughing.
  • Wheezing.

If these signs show, discontinue the use of cedar chips immediately. Moreover, bring your pooch to the vet ASAP.

#3: Shavings have small amounts of phenols

Cedar Chips Is Dangerous For Dogs Because They Have Small Amounts Of Phenols

Yet another natural component of the shavings of cedarwood…

Phenols or carbolic acid is an irritant to a dog’s lungs…

But there’s one thing to do before I dive further into its dangers…

And that’s to properly introduce you to what might be a foreign thing you just heard…

What is phenol?

According to the Merck Vet Manual, phenol is an antiseptic agent.

It’s powerful as it can kill anthrax spores within 48 hours.

And phenol can strongly irritate in high concentrations (5% solution). With that, it causes corrosion in the tissues.

Moreover, ingesting or applying it to the skin can cause toxicity. Then, it can lead to issues in the heart.

The phenol present in cedarwood

Shavings of cedarwood have traces of phenols.

Research tells us that the phenolic compounds content in cedarwood is 45.9%.

Now, such is known to irritate the lungs of dogs.

And when it does, it can weaken the structure of your dog’s lungs. Then, it allows bacteria to enter that body part…

With that, the lungs become home to harmful bacteria.

All in all, it can lead to respiratory issues.

Want a more detailed report of what can happen?

Here’s a study about phenol poisoning in dogs…

The subjects are 3 canines that were accidentally given phenol.

Those dogs have the same dog parent. And unfortunately, the person received misinformation about the use of the compound.

Now, these dogs developed ulcers in their mouth and gastrointestinal tract.

Moreover, all of them had abnormalities in their blood.

A specific one is a decrease in white blood cells. 

And those cells are known to defend the body.

So with that down, their body becomes weaker. Moreover, that also makes them more prone to infections.

Lastly, reports of death in their GI tissues were recorded as well.

With that the research concludes with:

Phenol is indeed a caustic agent. That means it works similar to acid. Therefore, phenol can be highly poisonous.

#4: Chewing hazards

This is a danger brought by your pup’s tendency to chew…

Because surely, your pooch is going to be tempted to munch on these cedar chips.

Now, most dog parents’ response to this is to just opt for the smaller chunks. 

And yes, that’s the right thing to do…

However, doing so doesn’t guarantee that your pooch will stop chewing these chips.


It’s because of your dog’s urge to get tempted by even the small chunks.

With that, it still poses the same danger.

How so?

No matter the size, these chips can cause the following:

Mouth abrasions

Unfortunately, these chips aren’t made for your pup’s chew toys.

With that, its corners and edges aren’t protected. And you can expect such to be sharp…

So when they chew on these chips…


The chips will cut their mouth as your fur baby munches on them.

Therefore resulting in mouth abrasions.

And if that’s left untreated, it can lead to infections.

Gastrointestinal upset

Gastrointestinal Upset

Not only did your pup munch on those chips…

But they also ingested some of it.

Whether they intended to do that or not, your pooch is in danger…

That’s because cedarwood isn’t food. With that, their stomach won’t digest it.

Instead, it’ll create a blockage on their gastrointestinal tract.

Now, according to AKC, that jam is called a bowel obstruction.

And it can either be a partial or complete blockage.

Regardless of which between the two, it can prevent food from traveling through the GI tract.

Moreover, this can also decrease the blood flow around their bowels. When that happens, damage in the tract is likely.

Then, the stomach will also absorb the contents of the cedarwood. Such can contribute to making the condition worse.

Here are the symptoms that your dog has a bowel obstruction:

Warning: If your pooch shows these signs, they need vet attention ASAP.

#5: Harmful to some group of dogs

So you’re sure that your pooch isn’t allergic to cedar chips…

However, don’t be complacent just yet…

That’s because there are dogs who are considered weaker.

And they’re the type of pups that shouldn’t be exposed to new things immediately.

I’m talking about the following:

  • Puppies.
  • Senior dogs.
  • Sickly canines.
  • Dogs that are hairless or have sensitive skin.

Does your dog belong to any of those groups?

If they do, you need to take an additional step before proceeding…

You must consult their vet first. Tell the doctor about your plans of adding cedar chips to your dog’s beddings.

And whatever advice they give will be the best to follow.

5 answers about cedar chips for dogs

Are cedar chips good for dog bedding?

Cedar chips are good for dog bedding. If you use this as stuffing on their bed, your pooch has so much to gain.

Benefits of using cedar chips

#1: These chips are eco-friendly. 

As I mentioned, cedar chips are as natural as they come.

So, after you use it, you can dispose of it without any guilt. 


Well, these chips are something you can throw in your garden. Then, you can treat it as mulch to fertilize your garden soil.

#2: It provides extra cushioning for your pooch.

Some dog parents worry that lying on these chips might be uncomfortable.

Well, believe otherwise…

That’s because cedar chips are definitely cozy to lie on. 

Note: If you put these chips on their bed right, Fido will reap this benefit. (See ‘How to use cedar chips as bedding’ section)

#3: It helps minimize doggy odor.

Cedarwood has this sweet and pleasant smell.

That scent comes from the tree’s natural oils.

With that, it overpowers your dog’s odor. 

So, bye-bye to the rug-smelling doggy bed…

That’s because these cedar chips are gonna leave your dog’s bedding smelling good.

How to use cedar chips as bedding

To ensure comfort, you must put these chips properly in your dog’s bedding.

I recommend not to directly make them lie down on the chips.

That’s because of the dangers that I talked about many sections ago.

So, that aside…

Here’s how to properly set up their new bedding…

Step #1: Get a pillowcase with a zipper. Choose one that best suits your dog’s size.

Important: Make sure that the cloth material is thick. This is to ensure more comfort to your pooch.

Step #2: Fill the pillowcase with cedar chips.

And while you do, make sure that you remove large pieces. Again, you’ll be doing it for your dog’s amenity.

Step #3: Close the pillowcase shut. Then, fluff it with your hands and settle it for your pooch to enjoy.

Do cedar chips keep dogs warm?

Cedar chips can keep your dog warm. Wood is known to be a good heat insulator. With that, your dog’s bed is going to be extra warm and cozy with these chips.

According to experts, wood has a high-insulating capacity.

What does that mean?

Well, insulators are objects that hold heat.

And with wood’s high tendency when it comes to insulating…

It means that they do well in storing warmth.

That’s due to the empty space that wood contains. This is also the reason why wood shrinks or swells in different temperatures.

With that, using any wood chips is ideal during cold weather. See how you can make the most of it by watching this video:

So surely, adding these wood chips will keep them from getting frosty.

All in all, your doggo will definitely have a goodnight’s sleep.

Editor’s pick: 9 Astonishing Reasons Why Your Dog Sleeps Under The Covers

Do cedar chips repel fleas?

Cedar chips repel fleas. It’s due to the insect-repelling component found in cedarwood. Moreover, that’s why you can also use cedar chips to control insects in your garden.

First of all, fleas appreciate warm and damp areas. That’s why they enjoy clinging to your dog’s warm fur…

Moreover, I mentioned that cedar chips could provide warmth.

So, many think that such can invite fleas to the bedding…

But in truth, fleas hate cedar chips.


That’s because of the natural chemical that cedarwood contains.

It’s none other than thujone, a natural insect repeller.

So, the wood secretes some thujone oil. And that has this odor that insects hate so much…

With that, fleas won’t surely try to go near your dog’s bedding made of cedar chips.

Did you know? You can put cedarwood mulch in your garden to control insects. When you do, you’ll observe fewer mosquitoes, moths, cockroaches, and even some ants.

Do cedar chips repel ticks?

Cedar chips repel ticks. As I mentioned, this quality is from a natural insect repellent called thujone

Just like fleas, ticks dislike the odor that thujone brings.

With that, they’ll definitely stray away from anywhere that cedar chips are present.

So, you wanna achieve a parasite-free home for you and your pooch?

Then, don’t just put these chips on your dog’s beddings.

Instead, spread it around your house accordingly.

In doing so, use small cloth bags with a seal.

You can place them in areas where most fleas and ticks thrive. Those are:

  • Tall grass.
  • Carpeting.
  • Cracks around the house.
  • Furniture with cushioning (couch and bed).

Can cedar chips be toxic to dogs?

Cedar chips aren’t toxic to most dogs. That’s because they’re a natural and eco-friendly material. However, they might still harm your pooch in some ways.

As I mentioned, most dogs won’t have any problems with cedar chips. They can enjoy the comfort and benefits that the chips offer.

But, some canines are found to have an allergic reaction to the material.

Moreover, cedar chips might contain traces of plicatic acid and phenols

In rare cases, those affect your dog’s health. 

To be specific, those components can cause damage to their lungs. Then, it might lead to respiratory issues.

Moreover, cedar chips can be a chewing hazard to your pooch.

And it won’t matter what size the chip Fido munches on…

Large chunks or small chips can cause the following:

  • Mouth abrasions.
  • Gastrointestinal upset.

Lastly, you shouldn’t immediately expose some dogs to this new type of bedding. 

I’m talking about young and old dogs. 

Moreover, you should also consider sickly and hairless canines.

Do you plan to use this as bedding, and your pooch is among those I mentioned?

If yes, then I suggest that you seek the advice of their vet first. 

Ask if you can use cedar chips as bedding for your pooch.

Reason: Dogs in those groups are more likely to react differently when they come in contact with the wood. 

Moreover, their health might be weaker. That’s why you have to take precautions.