Is it safe for my puppy to chew on sticks and hickory nuts?

Our question this week was:

I have a 7-pound yorkie poo. He is 4 months old. He loves to eat outside sticks and hickory nuts that drop free from the trees. There is no way possible that I can rid my huge yard of all the nuts and sticks. Any suggestions? Will it hurt him if he chews up a hickory shell or stick?


Kim Brazil


Hi – thanks for your email. Gosh, this is a common problem in puppies as they explore the world. I know it can be impossible to clean up a yard from nuts!

First, let's address if it is dangerous. The answer is yes, it can be. If he chews on them and doesn't eat them, he may get some stomach upset. However, if shells and nuts if fully ingested can cause an obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract. I'd recommend that you carefully watch your pup and even take him out on a leash. If you see him chewing on nuts, tell him no. Replace the nut with a chew toy such as a Kong brand toy. When he plays with that instead, praise and reward him. He may outgrow this behavior but in the mean time, I know it can be difficult.

An article that might be helpful to you is on our is "How to Choose the Best Dog Chew Toys".

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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