Dog and bone is a combination as old as time. Dogs have been shown chewing bones in popular media for so long that it’s hard to tell where the association came from. However, the association is not going anywhere, especially since it has many roots in reality.
So why do dogs love bones so much? Many dog owners can attest to the fact that dropping a bone in their dog’s paw can keep them busy for hours and help release a lot of pent up chewing energy. Here are three reasons your dog loves bones.
3 Main Reasons Dogs Chew Bones:
1. They are Delicious and Nutritious
Bones are an excellent source of nutrition for dogs. They are omnivores, so they get their nutrition from plants and animals.
Bone marrow contains many important nutrients and healthy fats that are tasty and nutritious. Historically, dogs would chew on bone marrow to help support them while hunting and protect their masters.
It’s not just the marrow that contains fat. Fat holds bones together structurally, so chewing on bones alone provides essential nutrients. In addition to healthy fats, bones are also an excellent source of calcium for dogs.
Raw bones also often have meat residue that can be eaten when chewed. While today’s dogs get all of their essential nutrients from their dog food, their ancestors needed to make sure they got every ounce of nutritional value they could get from their environment.
2. It’s Fun for Them
It’s not only healthy for dogs to chew on bones; it’s fun for them too! Dogs like to chew something just for fun, and bones can be a healthy way out for this behavior. If you have a dog who likes to gnaw at things and accidentally break things, bone marrow can be a great addition to their toy repertoire.
Dogs learn to chew when they are very young. Chewing toys and other objects help relieve discomfort during the teething stage. This chewing stimulates them mentally and satisfies many of their prey’s impulses.
As they get older and have sharper teeth, chewing can become a destructive behavior. So distract your dog from your shoes and onto the bones or horns so they can head to town without damaging them right away!
3. It Helps Clean Their Teeth
Chewing bones also helps clean their teeth. The chewing motion not only helps remove food particles that are stuck to their teeth, but also helps prevent plaque buildup as their teeth will erode whatever surface they chew on.
This makes bones ideal for improving the health of their teeth because the solid bone marrow or horn will help scrape off the plaque on their teeth.
How to Safely Give Your Dog Bones
Still, don’t start throwing your dog’s bones off the dinner table. Despite these health and wellness benefits, giving your dog bone is still dangerous, and many veterinarians would recommend against it because irresponsible feeding practices can be fatal.
Here are some basic tips for giving bones to dogs:
- Cooked bones should never be given to dogs as cooking them makes them brittle and prone to breakage. These flakes can cut your dog’s mouth or throat if ingested and can be fatal.
- Small bones should not be given to large dogs. They can be swallowed, and dogs can choke on bones, even to death. Any given bone must be the right size for your dog to avoid a choking hazard.
- While some big dogs can handle small bones, it’s often better to be safe than sorry. You know your dog’s chewing style best; so, use your best judgment on the size of the bone they receive. If you have a dog who can’t be trusted not to swallow small bones, make sure you take the bones from your dog once they are small enough to fit in his mouth.
- Commercial bone marrow, horns, and other chew toys can be given to your dog. They are made with dogs in mind and are never cooked so they are not brittle. Raw chicken, lamb, turkey, and beef bones can also be given to your dog.
- Any raw bones should be refrigerated when your dog is not chewing them and discarded after a few days. Storing raw bones for too long, even in the refrigerator, is a breeding ground for bacteria that can make your dog sick.
- You should always monitor your dog when they have a bone. Even if the bone isn’t brittle, it can still break or break, and you’ll want to be able to respond quickly and retrieve the bone if that happens.
- If you have more than one dog, watch for signs of aggression between them. Dogs can protect bones and may react aggressively when they have bones, even if they are usually very docile.
Bones are a great addition to your dog’s diet. They present a variety of health and wellness benefits when fed responsibly and can help entertain and stimulate your dog! As long as you are aware of the conditions and circumstances under which your dog gets bones, they should not pose a significant health risk.
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