If your dog has a strong urge to eat bark, and you want to know what causes his weird behavior, this post will shed light on you.
Your dog is eating bark because he likes the taste and texture of it. He has a disorder known as Pica that causes him to have an urge for nonfood items. He is chewing to relieve his stress and anxiety or to ease his teething discomfort. Dementia is causing him to lose his ability to recognize nonfood stuff.
He Likes The Taste Of The Tree Bark
It is often a mystery why some nonfood items such as mud, soil, tree bark, poop or even sand could be so appealing to dogs.
There are some thoughts that this is because they are all rich in minerals and can provide an essential source of nutrients for dogs.
So, in the case of tree bark, it is not merely the texture of the bark that attracts your dog but the nutrients that come with it.
Pica Is Causing His Eating Disorder
When your dog gets to the point where he fancies chewing nonfood items, he could be suffering from a disorder known as Pica.
This condition can cause his eating to get out of hand, which drives him to eat nonfood items such as plastic, clay, cement, gravel, wood, glass, or anything that is not food.
It could cause your dog to be prone to accidents such as poisoning or choking.
Pica is usually associated with nutritional deficiency, but in some cases it is caused by other issues such as depression, anxiety and dementia.
So it is very important to rule out what is causing your dog to have Pica before administering the treatment.
Studies have shown that dogs who are fed with only dry kibble are more likely to develop Pica.
This is because dry kibbles lack essential nutrients required by dogs and do not contain any moisture which is required for proper digestion.
So, if you are feeding your dog with only dry kibbles, it is very important to ensure that he has a proper intake of water, or you can have the kibbles soaked in water before feeding him.
Also, you should feed your dog a raw food diet at least twice per week to ensure that he gets all the necessary nutrients and minerals.
Remember, the best way to treat Pica is to provide a balanced diet for your dog.
So, if your dog is struggling with Pica, give him a variety of healthy foods and not just dry kibbles.
As A Means Of Relieving His Stress
Chewing is often a sign that your dog is anxious.
If you find your dog exhibiting this abnormal behavior when he is in an unfamiliar place, it could be a stress-related behavior.
This behavior is a sign of fear of the place where your dog is in. And it is possible that he has been through similar situations before, and it brings out fear in him.
Your dog is feeling stressed in an environment that brings back his fearful experience, and he is trying to calm himself.
He will chew on things such as tree bark or fencing that he can get hold of to ease his tension if he is out in the street.
What you can do is to have some chewing toy with you during the walk so that you can give it to your dog to chew on when he is exhibiting signs of stress.
To Relieve His Teething Discomfort
Pain and bleeding in the gums is a very common discomfort in young puppies and growing dogs when their baby teeth are dropped off to make way for the growing of their adult teeth.
This usually happens during the teething period when your puppy is around 3 weeks old and can last for a period of 6 months before all his adult teeth are fully erupted.
Your dog will start chewing on objects such as wooden furniture, shoes, clothes, tree barks, rocks, gravel or even their toys and bedding to ease his painful teething sensations.
Chewing on objects helps to alleviate his discomfort as it releases a chemical known as endorphins, which is a natural pain reliever.
Though this chewing behavior is normal and necessary for your dog to cope with the pain, it can be a problem if he chews and swallows items which are harmful to him, such as glass, plastic, rocks and gravel.
So you ought to get some safe teething toys such as West Paw Qwizl, KONG Classic and Goughnuts Chew Stick for your dog to help him cope with the teething pain and prevent him from getting his mouth on any toxic substances.
You can also prepare some easy homemade teething foods for him, such as frozen carrots, bananas and strawberries for him to chew on.
However, if you observe that your dog is showing some signs of discomfort such as vomiting or diarrhea during this time, you should seek medical attention for him immediately.
Dementia Is Causing His Behavioral Changes
Your dog is having difficulty organizing his thoughts and this could affect the way he reacts to things happening around him.
This is often a sign of dementia, which is a progressive brain disorder that is responsible for the loss of his memory, language and ability to perform daily tasks such as eating.
He may look upon tree bark as a form of his chewing sticks and start to feast on it.
Dementia can also cause confusion, personality changes, aggression, depression and anxiety in your dog.
It is a progressive disease, meaning the symptoms will get worse over time.
What you should do is to seek advice from a vet on what is the best way to manage this condition.
He Is Trying To Ease The Pain From Gum Infection
Your dog is suffering from gum infection or teeth related problems, and he is chewing on some rough and tough objects to get relief.
The pain of this is often caused by an accumulation of food or debris that gets trapped in the tiny gap between the tooth and the gum. This can cause swelling and, in severe cases, infection.
The first thing you should do is to keep your dog’s mouth clean. You should brush your dog’s teeth every day.
If you are unable to do so, you can make use of some commercial products such as Doggy Dental Spray to help remove the plaque from his teeth.
Rubbing coconut oil on his teeth is another alternative as the oil is a powerful antibacterial agent, and it can be used to help reduce plaque-forming bacteria on your dog’s teeth.
You should also make sure that you don’t give your dog too much sugary foods which will only worsen the situation.
Signs to look out for if your dog has gum disease include bleeding from the gums, redness around the gums, pus coming out from the gums and bad breath.
If you notice any redness, swelling or oozing of the gums, you should bring him to see a vet immediately.
If this disorder is not diagnosed and treated on time, it may lead to tooth loss or severe gum infection.