Why Do Dogs Like Bones?

You have probably heard the saying “like a dog with a bone.” That saying didn’t come out of nowhere, but rather is built on the well-known fact that dogs love bones. A dog and his bone are often inseparable… but why? What makes their bond so strong?

There are many reasons for this special connection some of which are as follows: 

Combating Boredom

Chewing a bone can help your pup to combat his boredom. Dogs are naturally playful and energetic animals so often seek a way to release this energy and banish boredom. Chewing on a bone is often the quickest way to abolish boredom.

So, providing your dogs with regular bones could help him to relieve energy in a positive way rather than through negative behavior.

More negative ways of releasing such boredom could include jumping up at people, biting, chewing household objects such as sofas or chairs and barking loudly in the hope of receiving attention. 

Innate Urge To Chew

Dogs are very well developed and intelligent animals that have undergone many adaptations throughout their long history. These adaptations have allowed them to avoid extinction and to outlive many other animals.

Dogs have been around for more than 30,000 years and have managed to survive attacks from all of their predators and even outlive some. They have achieved this long existence partially by being good at defending themselves but also by being excellent hunters.

Therefore, today’s canines have an inbuilt desire to chew as this replicates killing, disposing of and even eating their enemies but as domesticated family animals chomping on a bone is often the only way to get this fix.

Release Of Endorphins

Just like human beings, dogs love to be happy. They crave positive emotions and will do whatever it takes to feel genuine happiness. The act of chewing a bone is a very natural way for a dog to release endorphins. Endorphins are also known as little pieces of happiness as they are what are responsible for positive moods and emotions.

For instance people who have depression are often put on medication to encourage the release of endorphins as this is known to reduce low mood, endorphins have the same effect on your four legged friend.

So, if you ever see him looking down give a dog a bone! However, if you continue to see your dog looking blue it may be a good idea to take him to see a vet to get to the root cause of the problem.

Dental Benefits

Perhaps the most obvious of all of the reasons that your pup loves his bones is the dental benefits that chewing them brings. Frequent chewing is a great way to maintain his sharp, strong and healthy teeth .

Dogs aim to keep their teeth in good shape in order to make it through survival of the fittest and fight off enemies. Obviously, today this adaptation is not generally needed as dogs now live in houses with their owners and have no need to fight.

However, it is still useful for them to have the ability should they need to fight off other animals in the wild or simply defend their owners in the event of a breakup. Dogs are protective so therefore consistently feel the desire to be good protectors. 

Are There Any Negatives To Constantly Feeding Your Dogs Need For Bones? 

Your dog is part of your family so it’s only natural to want to make sure that his needs and wants are met. However, sometimes over pampering your pup can have disastrous consequences. Some negative results of your dog having too many bones can include: 

Sharp Teeth

As previously stated chomping on bones regularly can have a positive impact on your dog’s dental health. However, the fact that it gives them sharper teeth does have its downfalls.

In today’s society dogs are a family pet and very rarely need to defend themselves so this is no longer a positive, rather sharp teeth can be dangerous if your dog enjoys nipping. If you have children in the home this can be especially dangerous. 

Hyperactivity

Furthermore, chewing bones can help to alleviate boredom and stimulate endorphins. It’s always good to have a happy four legged friend, however happiness and excitement go hand in hand.

Over excited dogs can often display hyperactive behaviour which can be expressed by being more jumpy or biting. Therefore, before giving your dog bone after bone you should try to monitor how their bone intake is impacting their behaviour. 

Increased Aggression

The whole purpose of giving your dog a bone is to make him happy. In all probability you do not want your dog to behave aggressively however giving him too many tasty treats could cause just this.

Biting and destroying bones consistently can get your dog used to the notions that surround attacking. He could then start to practise this exercise in inappropriate situations. For instance, he could easily become aggressive towards you or your family. 

Final Thoughts

The vast majority of dogs enjoy a good old bone. Dogs have always enjoyed bones just in very different contexts. Throughout history a dog’s desire to chew bones has changed from a need to more of a want.

Back when dogs were first roaming our planet earth, 30000 years ago, their teeth would grapple with the solid bones of prey as they used their gnashers to destroy and eat their evening meal.

Similarly, they would use their wicked smile to threaten and warn off predators in order to protect themselves. However, today most dogs live in the safety of a loving family home and do not need to chew bones when defending themselves in violent attacks, but it is still innate for them to feel a sense of pleasure and a release of endorphins from enjoying a bone.

Dogs are so used to chewing as a treat that it is still a great way of defeating boredom while maintaining healthy teeth.

As discussed there are some negatives to allowing your dog to chomp on bones too frequently but as long as you feel able to manage your dogs bone intake there is no negative to treating him or rewarding his good behaviour in this loving way. 

PuppyLists is written by J., who has owned, trained, volunteered with, and loved dogs for nearly three decades. When she isn't writing or researching, she's out adventuring with her 14 year old Lab mix.