It’s perfectly fine to use pine shavings for puppies when they reach 3-4 weeks of age. However, the bacteria in pine shavings can be harmful to newborn pups under the age of three weeks. For newborn puppies, it’s best to use a few layers of newspaper as bedding.
Getting a new puppy is an exciting and stressful time. Whether this is your first furry friend or you’re a seasoned pro at taking care of dogs, each puppy is different and requires special care.
With all the information thrown at you when you get a new puppy, paired with the stress of making sure the puppy is acclimating to its surroundings, it can be hard to find the right products for your puppy.
On top of that, you have to find out the puppy’s likes and dislikes and consider any individual issues or differences they may have.
Some of the most important things to get for a new puppy are bedding, potty-training materials, toys, and food.
Pine Shavings as Bedding – Why?
Puppies are much more sensitive to temperature than adult dogs. Since puppies cannot regulate their temperature as well as older dogs, their bedding is especially critical to make sure they’re warm and safe.
While there are many options to make sure your dog’s bedding is appropriate for their age-specific needs, pine shavings are one of the most popular options…but are they the best option for puppies?
What Are Pine Shavings?
Pine shavings are a type of wood shaving. They come from the pine tree, a type of evergreen tree that grows worldwide with over 126 species. Pine trees can live from one hundred to one thousand years old.
Pine shavings are one type of wood shaving; another popular option is cedar shavings.
What Are They Used For?
Pine shavings are used for small animal bedding and can typically be found in barns and stalls.
While these are popular with exotic animals, small animals, and barns, pine shavings are great for puppies. You can use pine shavings with puppies as bedding or to help with house-training your pup.
How do you use pine shavings, though? Before you go out and buy pine shavings for your puppy, understand how they are used so you can figure out if they are the right for your pup.
As mentioned, pine shavings can be used as bedding for dog houses or wherever your dog sleeps. While this is not necessarily an essential part of your dog’s life, as many dogs have survived sleeping on the bare floor, as a dog owner, it’s important to make your dog safe and comfortable.
For bedding, simply spread the pine chips where your puppy sleeps. Know the risks and precautions you should take before using pine shavings as bedding.
Be aware pine shavings are not suitable as bedding for very young puppies (under the age of 4 weeks).
If your dog seems uncomfortable or does not want to sleep on the pine shavings, add a few blankets or linens to help them feel more comfortable.
Check the pine shavings periodically so that you can identify and replace any wet or soiled pine shavings with fresh shavings.
If you’re interested in using pine shavings for house training, it’s a bit more involved.
First, you’ll want to choose a specific spot where you want your dog to go when they need to use the bathroom.
If possible, dogs prefer a private spot. Try to put it off to the side or in the back, but still easy for your puppy to access.
Make it clean and free of any dirt or weeds before putting your pine shavings down.
Depending on your puppy, take them to the area you’ve chosen every half hour to an hour. If you’re not sure how often to be taking your dog out, consult your veterinarian, as the time recommendations vary with age.
Always reward your puppy with treats and praise when they use the bathroom to reinforce the behavior. If they don’t go, bring them back in a few minutes.
If your dog has an accident indoors, pick them up and take them to the pine shavings. This will train them to understand the pine shavings are designated for them to go to the bathroom.
Clean the chips as much as necessary with a rake and shovel and replace the pine shavings once a week. This is imperative, as your puppy may not want to use it if it becomes too dirty.
Advantages of Using Pine Shavings
There are plenty of advantages to using pine shavings for your puppy.
Wood shavings made of pine or cedar are soft and comfortable for puppies.
They also absorb moisture and help control odor, which is especially important if you plan to use them for potty training.
If you’re planning to use pine shavings for bedding, you’ll be happy to know pine shavings naturally repel fleas and other pesky insects that can bite or irritate your puppy.
Pine shavings as bedding also protects the floors from your dog’s claws and helps keep your dog warm, especially in the winter.
They are also environmentally friendly and easy to dispose of.
Disadvantages of Using Pine Shavings
Just like any other option, there are disadvantages and precautions you need to keep in mind when considering pine shavings for your puppy.
Some experts say that pine shavings contain volatile compounds that can harm your pet.
While this is a hot button issue that doesn’t have a simple answer, be especially aware of dogs with sensitive noses or respiratory problems like asthma.
If your dog starts to sneeze more than normal or has any kind of nose or lung issue, stop using the pine shavings immediately.
If you’re worried about these volatile compounds, look for kiln-dried pine, which is safer for dogs than other types of pine shavings.
Also, cedar shavings are considered more dangerous than pine shavings because there is more data directly linked to these volatile compounds.
Any type of wood shaving is not suitable for pregnant or lactating dogs or young puppies due to the bacteria it carries, which can be extremely dangerous for puppies.
Pine Shavings Alternatives
If you are worried about the potential dangers of pine shavings, they may not be right for you. Always check with a veterinarian, especially if you’re bringing a new puppy into your home.
There are other options for bedding that will work just as well as pine shavings.
Soft materials like linens or rugs are both comfortable and safe for your dog and will also work to keep them warm. Of course, dog beds are another option you can consider.
An alternative that is not ideal but will work is newspaper. If you’re only using it as temporary bedding in a pinch, it’s perfectly safe for your pup. However, long-term, it’s not as comfortable as other options and doesn’t provide as much support or warmth.
Based on recent studies, pine shavings may carry too many risks for newborn puppies under 4 weeks of age. Instead, consult with your veterinarian on other options. Pine shavings can be a great option for bedding or house training for certain dogs and owners.
Whether you have a new puppy or are simply looking for a new bedding option for your older dog, there are advantages and disadvantages to pine shavings. Choose the option that’s right for you and your dog by doing your research and considering what will work best.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.