Why Do Dogs Like Sticks?

If you have a furry friend like me in your life, then you know how much we love to play with sticks.

We like to find them, bury them, retrieve them for you, and sometimes we even carry them home from our walkies. 

I have noticed that my human sometimes tries to take the stick off me, when I am proudly carrying it for her, so maybe humans do not understand why we like sticks so much.

This is why I am here to give my pawfessional opinion on why us doggies love sticks. 

Why do dogs like sticks?

You may be wondering why your doggie has started to build up a collection of fantastic sticks in your backyard, and why we like to bring them home for you.

We love going out on walks and exploring, and we often find sticks that we want to carry and play with.

The truth is, it is in our nature to find sticks! As dogs, we love to find our own toys and fun things to play with, it is just an added bonus that sometimes you like to throw our sticks for us, so that we can go and retrieve them again and again. 

One of the main reasons we pick up sticks on our walks is because we want to play with them. It’s like finding a free toy in the wild that is all ours for the taking!

We might also bring them to you, to get some attention and playtime from our owners for a little bit of fun. We love it when you throw it and we get to go fetch it and bring it back to you! You always call us good. And we like that.

Another reason that us doggies love to find sticks is that we have natural instincts of the hunter and forager.

If we lived in the wild, we would have to forage and search for things like food and shelter, and so looking for sticks is a great way to unleash this natural instinct of ours. I like to use my sniffer to find the biggest, bestest sticks I can. 

We love searching and hunting! By allowing us to forage and search for things during our walkies, you are helping us to explore and follow our noses, wherever our curiosity may take us.

This is very stimulating for us, and we love to spend time sniffing, tasting, or picking up items along the way, such as sticks! We can then carry them home for you to keep. 

It is because we feel that we have hunted or foraged for the stick, that we become very proud of our stick, and want to carry it home to display in our collection in the backyard.

You should congratulate us on how big and mighty the stick is. We are very impressed with ourselves. 

We also love finding and carrying sticks because we have a natural instinct to retrieve.

You will find that most dogs will like sticks, but Golden Retrievers, like myself and Labrador Retrievers or other breeds that were made for helping humans hunt, will like to carry sticks for you.

This is because we were made to retrieve prey and deliver it to our masters. 

So, basically, when I find the biggest stick ever, like the world’s most amazing stick, I am thinking of my owner, and what a great gift this will be for them. I am going to make them so proud of me! 

Why is my dog obsessed with eating sticks?

Why is my dog obsessed with eating sticks

You may be wondering why your dog does not necessarily seem to play with a stick, but instead tear it apart or start eating it, as sticks do not make for tasty snacks!

Some dogs that choose to chew on sticks may be doing so because they have a really interesting, crunchy or crumbly texture, and this can be fun for us to nibble on.

Sticks are also a great way to relieve stress or teething pains, as some dogs prefer to sit and gnaw on the sharp edges of a stick if they have sore teeth, or even if they are just bored, and need some attention. 

Another reason your furry friend may start to eat a stick is because of our wild, hunter, forager instincts. This means that we see the stick as our prey that we have hunted, and we have carried it home proudly to enjoy later.

So, sometimes when we get home, we enjoy tearing it apart, and eating it as we would if we were wild doggies, to feel like our great wolf ancestors! There may be a mess of twigs on your carpet, but it’s just in our nature, we can’t help it. 

If you do see your dog trying to eat a stick, you should tell them no, as this can give us bad stomach aches, digestive problems or can poison us. 

Is it bad for dogs to eat sticks?

Although we find it super fun, it is bad for us to eat sticks, and if you have a dog, you should try to stop them from doing so.

This is because many different types of sticks and woods can be poisonous if ingested, but we do not understand that.

These woods such as red oak, yew, black cherry, red maple, black walnut or black locust can be highly toxic if ingested by your dog, and you should take them to the veterinarian immediately. 

It is also important that you do not let us eat sticks because we can get splinters in our gums and mouth. This can make our mouths very sore, and risk them getting infected, which will be no fun for either of us!

What is even worse is if we swallow big chunks of stick, because these can get stuck in our throats, which could cause choking, or they could get lodged in our digestive system, which would mean an emergency trip to the vet. And I hate the vet. 

Main reasons you dog may love sticks

To summarise, there are many many reasons why us doggies love to play with sticks.

For the most part it is in our nature to forage and find stuff to play with, but we also like to find sticks to retrieve and carry for our owners.

If you are wondering why your furry friend loves to play with sticks so much, then it could be one of the following:

  • Retriever instinct
  • Hunter/forager instincts
  • Seeking attention from you
  • They want to play with you
  • It is a toy that they have found on the go to play with
  • Sticks can relieve teething pains
  • It’s a new texture to put in their mouths

So, next time you see us carrying a big stick, be proud of how good we are at finding and retrieving!