Few things will occupy a dog’s time like the chewing of a bone. In fact, it is my go-to solution when I need them to be safely occupied and out of “dog-trouble” while I’m working (that’s a big deal with a 10 month old puppy). The comforting sounds of gnawing, chewing, picking up and dropping the bone while trying to angle it just right for a really good chew, these are the sounds that remind me of my dogs’ total focus on the job at hand. Chew, chew, chew until there’s nothing left.
I wonder why that is?
According to a study presented at the First Joint Congress for Evolutionary Biology, four million years ago dogs traveled in packs in order to work together for more efficient hunting. “They developed strength in their muscles – especially the muscles that close their mouth… so they could support the mechanical strains of biting the prey,” explained Dr. Joao Munoz-Doran. He further stated, “they have the tools to do that and they like to use their tools.” You can read more here: No Bones About it Dogs Love Bones, Redorbit.com
So that explains the evolution behind chewing behaviors but is there any benefit to having your dog chew bones?
Chewing bones helps keeps the dog’s teeth clean which can’t be underestimated. Dr. Brook Niemiec reported, “Periodontal disease is the number one health problem in small animal patients. By two years of age, 70% of cats and 80% of dogs have some form of periodontal disease.” (You can read his article here). There is evidence that periodontal disease has been linked to other serious diseases so prevention is very important.
You have to be careful what type of bones you give your dog to chew. Cooked bones are a no-no because they can splinter and cause serious harm to your dog if swallowed. Raw bones are best and you can also try elk antlers and Himalayan Churpi Chews.
For some great information on the pros and cons of feeding bones check out this article at HealthyPets.com.