Playing with your dog is not only great fun, but it also has physical, emotional, and psychological benefits for both of you. Regular walks and playing keep your dog fit, active, and healthy, and playing with toys helps to keep their minds sharp and focused. One of the top activities for most dogs is playing with sticks.
You can spend as much money as you want on a fancy play system and expensive toys, but nothing can beat that amazing stick they just found in the woods. So, why are sticks so important to dogs? There are several reasons, and we have set out to explore why your pooch loves sticks so much.
They Provide Hours of Fun
When your dog gets hold of a stick, all bets are off. They will chase it, catch it, toss it, kill it, and tear it apart. The primary source of fun is found in the challenge of trying to splinter the wood and chew on it for hours. This is fun for your dog, but can also be dangerous—make sure you supervise your pet at all times, as wooden pieces risk injuring the mouth or making their way into the digestive system. Some dogs have even fractured teeth in their attempt to eat the stick, so always make sure they are safe.
They Bring Out the Inner Hunter
The hunting instinct of dogs is strong, even in domestic animals. Sticks allow them to harness this. They will ‘hunt down’ the perfect stick, fetching it if it has been thrown out of reach. Once they reach the target, it will be ‘killed’ and torn apart, in the same way, your dog would kill prey in the wild. This is a safe way for your dog to work off pent-up energy and feel more like a dog.
They Taste Good But Feel Bad
Many dogs will pick up a stick because it feels like a bone in their mouths. With most sticks, they will quickly realize that the taste is terrible and spit it out. Some plants, however, such as blackberries, red apples, and walnuts have a strong natural scent which is appealing to your dog, and they are more likely to pick it up and chew to explore the taste. Unfortunately, many of these varieties can be poisonous to dogs, so keep a close eye when they are playing.
They Smell Good
Dogs have a fantastic sense of smell and will be driven to sniff, lick, and taste anything which smells appealing. In addition, everything is edible—especially sticks which smell amazing. Despite their many protests, it is not a good idea to let your pet eat sticks. They may have difficulty with digestion or face serious consequences such as a pierced stomach lining. This can cause severe bleeding and needs urgent medical attention.
Playing with sticks is one of the greatest joys in your dog’s life. As long as you are watching closely, they should be safe and well. Make sure you are continually supervising, however as circumstances can change quickly, and your dog could be at risk.