You’re walking your Husky outside.
Suddenly, you notice them chewing on something…
Oh…it’s just a stick. Phew!
But wait…they ate it!
Days later, they look for sticks every time you walk.
You wonder if it’s dangerous and what you should do to stop this.
In this article, you will learn:
- Why Huskies eat sticks.
- Whether this behavior is normal.
- What can happen to your Husky if they do this.
- 7 easy tips on what to do if your Husky keeps eating sticks.
- What you need to know to stop this habit once and for all.
- And a lot more…
Table of contents
- Why does my Husky eat sticks?
- 7 reasons why your Husky eats sticks
- 3 dangers if your Husky eats sticks
- 5 tips to stop your Husky from eating sticks
Why does my Husky eat sticks?
Your Husky Eats sticks because they might be suffering from pica which makes them eat non-food items. They could also like the stick’s structure and smell. If your Husky Is a pup, it could be due to teething. Or they eat or chew on sticks because of behavioral problems.
7 reasons why your Husky eats sticks
#1: They might suffer from pica
If your Husky eats things that are not food, they might have pica.
Pica is a condition that any dog can get if they lack proper nutrients. Some dogs eat only one item but others eat a variety of non-edible objects.
Labrador retrievers and Dachshund are more prone to pica but your Husky can also have this condition.
If that’s the case, there is a chance that they are sick. Bear in mind that pica is a behavior, not a disease in itself.
Diagnosing pica is tricky. But what is harder to find is the reason why your Husky suddenly chose to eat sticks.
Sometimes, Huskies eat non-food items secretly. This means they know that you don’t like them to eat sticks, for example.
Breaking them from the habit is harder when this happens.
And if the vet finds your Husky with the condition, they will run several lab tests to know if the cause of pica is medical.
Here are some symptoms of pica:
- Lack of appetite.
- Swallowing non-food items.
If this is the case, some of the conditions your Husky might have are:
- Liver disease.
- Poor nutrition.
- Stomach problems.
#2: Behavioral problems
If your Husky is not sick, then they might have behavioral problems. This can affect your dog on a larger scale.
Unlike medical conditions, you need to change a dog’s habits if you want them to be better.
One of the biggest reasons why Huskies have behavioral issues is because of exercise.
Now ask yourself, do you take your Husky on walks?
Do they have enough exercise? Do they socialize with other people?
If no, then it might be the reason why they like to eat sticks. Depriving them of their physical and social needs will get them stressed for sure.
Your Husky might be stressed and they try to remove the stress by biting and eating sticks.
#3: Steroid usage
If your Husky took steroids for medication, you should also watch them. They might get hungrier and eat sticks if they have no food.
Increased thirst and hunger are some side effects of taking steroids. Vets prescribe steroids to reduce inflammation.
Your vet will recommend this if the inflammation is crucial and there are no alternative means.
If your Husky took steroids, they might show similar signs to pica. But it does not mean that they have it.
A study found that dogs who took steroids can be less playful and more lethargic.
#4: Your Husky loves the stick
Your Husky probably loves sticks. Most dogs do and it is genetic.
Before the fancy tennis balls and chew toys, owners played fetch with the man’s best friend using sticks.
A dog with a stick in its mouth is a normal sight. There is nothing to worry about.
If your Husky always brings sticks after walks, it is because of their retriever instinct.
Your Husky has this instinct because they “retrieved” their prey and gave it to their owner. This was the custom when people used to hunt for their food.
If your Husky brought a stick inside your house, they might think that you would love it as a gift.
Sticks also make a great toy for your Husky. They can play with it for hours unless of course, they eat the stick.
Huskies are very smart. But like other dogs, they are suckers for sticks.
Sticks might be similar in shape to bones but have a different appeal. Your Husky eats them because of the texture and taste.
#5: Teething puppies
Your Husky is more likely to eat sticks if it has oral problems or if they are still teething. Teething can happen to your Husky pup when they are 3 to 4 months old.
When your puppy reaches this stage, their puppy teeth fall out. After this, 42 adult teeth will grow.
This process is painful for a Husky. Bear in mind that it can last until your puppy is 6 months old.
If you take your Husky out during this stage, they might chew on twigs and sticks to ease their pain.
But does this mean that you shouldn’t take your puppy outside? Of course not!
Sticks are ideal for Huskies who are teething because they numb the pain. The hard surface of the stick makes it the perfect chewing material for your dog.
Yes, teething is really a pain for Husky pups. But what about adult dogs?
#6: Dental problems in adult Huskies
Dental problems can also be the reason why your Husky eats sticks. After all, it affects 80% of all dogs before they are 2 years old.
The buildup of tartar in the teeth can infect your Husky’s mouth. This can lead to more serious problems like kidney damage in the long run.
And once their tooth is painful from the tartar, they will eat those sticks.
Some signs of tooth pain in dogs include:
- Bad breath.
- Unusual drooling.
- Visible changes in mouth.
- Sneezing and nasal discharge.
If you notice your Husky Chewing on one side of its mouth only, they might have a painful tooth.
Just like humans, dogs with painful teeth will have a hard time chewing their meals. The gums can also be a problem.
A study said that small breeds are more prone to periodontal and gum disease because 80% of them have gum disease before the age of 3.
But this doesn’t mean that can’t happen to your Husky.
#7: Cleaning their teeth
Your Husky might also use a stick to clean its teeth.
Wild dogs and wolves have this similar behavior. They gnaw on either sticks or the bones of their kill to keep their pearly whites in good condition.
A stick removes tartar buildup from your Husky’s teeth. Sticks and bones may have the same shape, but eating raw bones won’t do your dog much harm.
In some cases, your Husky will prefer sticks more than their chew toys because sticks have a unique taste.
Sometimes, dog parents see the stick as a treat for their Huskies. They let them chew sticks but with supervision.
What they do is make sure the sticks don’t have thorns or anything dangerous. They also prevent their Huskies from eating the sticks.
3 dangers if your Husky eats sticks
#1: Tummy block
Your Husky must never eat sticks because it can injure them.
Your Husky can swallow a piece of the stick they are eating. Depending on the size of the piece, it might block your Husky’s intestines and cause a “blockage.”
Your Husky will need surgery to remove the stick if this happens.
#2: Mouth wounds
Your Husky can also puncture parts of their mouth when they chew a stick. The gums, tongue, and esophagus are most endangered in this situation.
Wood can also block their breathing. They can have chest and respiratory infections if this happens.
And remember when I said that sticks are different from each other? It is not quite a good thing.
Your Husky might also impale themselves if they run with the stick.
#3: Some sticks are toxic
Some sticks are tastier than others. But there are these that are toxic or can give your dogs a bad stomach.
Sticks from fruit trees like apple and pear can give your Husky a bad day. It might give you one too, after you have to clean a horrible mess from your dog’s diarrhea.
Also, there are trees that are toxic for your Husky. These trees are:
Wood from white willow trees can actually make your Husky feel better. Chewing a stick from this tree is relieving for your Husky.
In fact, the bark of a white willow tree contains salicin, the active ingredient for aspirin. But, chewing on this tree for long periods can also be poisonous.
5 tips to stop your Husky from eating sticks
#1: Get them a healthy lifestyle
Chances are, your Husky has pica. The only way to end pica is to provide them a good health and lifestyle.
You should know how much your Husky should eat and what kind. A healthy Husky won’t eat sticks again.
Vets recommend feeding dog food with 80% dry kibbles and 20% fruits and vegetable formula.
Look for kibbles with plenty of protein. Huskies need this because they are a physically active breed.
Fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals are also important. A balanced portion of this can go a long way.
You should feed your Husky 3 times a day for six months. After that, it is fine to feed them only twice a day.
Exercise is also important for your day. Make sure that your Husky has at least 1 hour of exercise per day.
Exercise helps in removing stress from your Husky. They also get mentally stimulated when you exercise them regularly.
And if you think that playing with other dogs is exercise, no. If you are busy, spend at least an hour walking with your Husky.
If this doesn’t solve anything, your Husky’s pica may be behavioral. They weren’t corrected every time they ate a stick.
Now, they think that this is acceptable behavior. What you can do is hire a behaviorist to teach them not to eat sticks.
#2: Buy them chew toys
Your Husky might not go crazy about sticks if they have a variety of chew toys Chew toys remove the risk of infections and swallowing debris.
Chew toys are great for puppies who are in the teething stage. And you should choose chew toys suited for Huskies.
Ask for durable chew toys for big dogs becauseHuskies are known to be toy destroyers. If you buy them chew toys made from fabrics, their sharp teeth will surely penetrate the toy within days.
But chew toys made of rubber can do the trick. There are also chew toys you can fill with dog treats like peanut butter and dog biscuits.
Check out these adorable Huskies testing different chew toys:
When you go outdoors with your Husky, bring their favorite toy. They can chew that instead of a stick.
#3: Get their teeth sparkling
Huskies chew sticks to remove plaque from their teeth. If you clean their teeth, they won’t resort to dangerous methods such as eating sticks.
Regular brushing with a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste is a must. You should brush your dog’s teeth at least twice a day.
Warning: Only use canine-specific toothpaste. Regular toothpaste has ingredients that can harm your Husky.
To do this, get your Husky comfortable with you touching their mouth. You should touch and rub your Husky’s teeth and gums with your fingers.
Then, introduce the toothbrush. Let them smell it, and very gently rub it on your Husky’s teeth.
There is a huge chance that your Husky will refuse brushing at first because it might feel weird for them.
You need to be patient when doing this. Your Husky might have anxiety if you rushed them to brush their teeth.
You can try dental wipes if you want a hassle-free option. They are like wet wipes but for your dog’s teeth.
You can also buy treats and dental chews for them to enjoy.
Dental chews are tasty. They also keep your Husky’s teeth clean.
If your Husky hates brushing, you can always buy a dog mouthwash. All you have to do is add the mouthwash solution to your Husky’s water and you’re set.
If your Husky has no dental problems, it won’t chew on branches. Regular visits to the vet can also help your Husky’s oral hygiene.
#4: Use distractions
You can prevent your Husky from eating sticks if you engage with them more during walks. Keeping them busy sets their mind to another activity than eating sticks.
Some distractions that you can provide are frequent short training exercises. One exercise you and your Husky can do is playing tug.
You can also walk your dog in areas that are grassy. This way, they have less opportunity to find sticks.
Another game you can have with your Husky is the “treats for sticks” game. So, what you’ll do is train your Husky to give you every stick they can get for a treat.
In no time, they’ll no longer eat sticks. Instead, they’ll give them directly to you in exchange of a reward so keep those treats around you.
#5: Teach them to “drop it”
The best thing to do is to teach your Husky the “drop it” command. When your Husky knows when to leave sticks alone, all you need is the command.
Here are the steps in teaching your Husky how to leave sticks:
- Place a low-value treat (such as kibbles) on the floor.
- Make sure the kibbles are several feet apart.
- Ensure your Husky is leashed.
- Bring your dog in front of the treat.
- Say “leave it” every time they try to eat the snack.
- Reward them with a tastier treat every time they ignore the kibble.
- After you reward them, walk to the next kibble in line.
- Repeat steps 4-6 until your Husky masters the command.
Note: Try to cover the kibble with your foot if your Husky tries to eat it. Use the leash to prevent the Husky from reaching the food before you.
Once your Husky masters this command inside your house, try it outdoors. Take them to a stick and try commanding them to leave it.
If they followed your command, you can give them a tasty treat or reward them with a game.