Creating the best and safest environment possible for your four-legged family member is a top priority for most dog owners. For this reason, many dog owners consider the use of pine nuggets for their kennels. However, are pine nuggets safe to use in a dog kennel? The answer is yes -- and no.
Benefit: Size and Weight
Made from pieces of pine bark, pine nuggets don't break down as quickly as other materials. Because of their size, there is also less tracking of the material outside of the kennel. Their lightweight nature means removing and replacing them with fresh material is much easier
Benefit: Handling of Dog Urine
Because of the large spacing between nuggets, dog urine travels more easily to the ground. Unlike cedar, pine doesn't give off a pungent odor when it comes in contact with urine.
Consideration: Animal-Safe Dyes
Since pine nuggets are manufactured primarily as a decorative mulch around plants, they often are dyed to liven up their natural coloring. Many manufacturers use only animal-safe dyes; however, it's important to check the package labeling carefully or contact the manufacturer.
Chewing on pine nuggets can cause splintering. These splinters can injure the mouth and throat, and if swallowed can injure the digestive tract. Swallowing pieces of pine nuggets can block the digestive tract.
Watch your dog while in the kennel. If you notice him chewing on the nuggets, switch the material to something less potentially hazardous. Ensure your dog has access to appropriate chew toys in his kennel, too.
Sometimes an alternative to nuggets needs to be used. Gravel is common but does not offer the ease of replacement. Straw and shredded mulch are lightweight, making them easier to replace. Both easily track outside the dog's kennel, however.
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