WHY DOGUES DE BORDEAUX LOVE CHEWING ON STICKS
I think every one of us Dogue de Bordeaux owners think it is charming how obsessed and amused our big guys are with something as fundamental as a little piece of wood. I think we have all also wondered “why?”.
Keeps The Jaws In Shape
One look at a Dogue de Bordeaux’s mouth tells you that it was designed for serious business. Those intimidating teeth suggest this was a creature whose ancestors had to rip, tear, and crunch to get themselves fed. Holding those teeth are strong jaws, capable of biting with several times more strength than human jaws.
One reason dogs chew sticks is that it helps keep their jaws strong, says Char Bebiak, an animal behaviorist and head trainer at the Purina Pet Care Center in Gray Summit, Missouri. At one time, they got nutrition from every part of their prey, including the tough skins and bones, Bebiak says. Dogs in the wild probably chewed on sticks as a way of staying in shape for their next meal.
“Sticks let dogs really work their jaws. Even though they do not need to hunt anymore, the urge to keep their mouths strong has not diminished all that much,” Bebiak says. Chewing sticks gives them satisfaction they might not get anywhere else. Thus, we at times find our yard turned into a pile of wood chips.
“Even dogs who aren’t necessarily thinking about chewing will often do it once they have a stick in their mouth” -Jeff Nichol, D.V.M. Once they’ve chomped down, sticks provide instant gratification, Dr. Nichol adds. Sticks have a firm texture and a little bit of crunch which dogs enjoy. Plus, they’re relatively easy to shred, and Dogues de Bordeaux enjoy seeing that they’re making progress.
Looks & Tastes Right
From young puppyhood, Dogues de Bordeaux are attracted to sticks more than many other objects they come across. Wood is easy to chew and a stick has a perfect shape resembling a bone. Obviously, sticks don’t taste like bones, but they do have their own appeal. They have a musky, earthy taste that seems to appeal to dogs. “The logic seems to be, ‘If I had a bone, I’d chew that. But since I don’t, this will do,'” says Dr. Nichol. Sticks are also easy to hold and carry around in their mouths.
Remember, puppies need to chew to relieve the pain of teething. When they can’t find sticks, they look for a substitute such as a wooden leg on a piece of furniture.
Caution Should Be Exercised
Branches from certain fruit trees, such as apple and pear trees, should be cleared from your yard. These types of wood have a rich, aromatic taste, but also contains small amounts of toxins that can upset your baby’s stomach, says Cynthia Jacobs, D.V.M.
Dr. Jacobs goes on to explain that Azaleas, Black Walnut, Black Cherry, Red Oak, Black Locust, Yew, and Red Maple trees contain substantial amounts of poison which can also make your dog sick – in some cases seriously so. If you are not sure what type of wood your pup is chewing on, it is best to keep it out of reach until you find out.
Sticks that are too small can get wedged inside your Dogue de Bordeaux’s mouth, sometimes causing their jaws to be locked open. “If you allow your dog to chew on sticks, make sure they are too big to fit all they way in his mouth,” Dr. Jacobs says.
Most Dogues enjoy shredding their sticks leaving the debris on the ground around them without actually ingesting very much. However, some do swallow what they chew. The risks here are choking and intestinal blockages. In some instances, dogs might actually eat sticks in place of regular food. If your Dogue de Bordeaux falls into this category, steer him toward an appropriate alternative to release his chewing energy on.