This behaviour comes from a natural instinct within the dog to protect its food from the rest of the pack. Unlike its food bowl which cannot be picked up and carried…
It has long been said that dogs should be given bones as part of their diet, but is this advice correct? Surprisingly, the answer is in fact no. This myth has arisen over time from the way dogs were fed before complete manufactured dog foods become available and everyone could afford to buy them.
Before complete dog foods came about, dogs were usually fed table scraps left over from the family’s meal. This diet was not totally appropriate for the dog and so to add calcium to the dog’s diet, bones were given for the dog to chew on. Thankfully, today’s well developed complete foods are nutritionally balanced and provide everything that a dog needs to be happy and healthy.
So what about giving bones as a treat?
There is nothing wrong with giving your dog bones as a treat, as long as you supervise them when they are chewing them. Some bones can splinter and become lodged in the dog’s throat. Avoid chicken bones in particular as these splinter easily.
The only issue which you should watch out for is a dog becoming aggressive and possessive when they are given a bone (or any treat for that matter). This can cause problems for the dog’s owner and potentially put people in the household at risk from an aggressive dog.
This behaviour comes from a natural instinct within the dog to protect its food from the rest of the pack. Unlike its food bowl which cannot be picked up and carried to its bed, a bone is easy for the dog to move around. As it takes some time for the dog to eat a bone they will want to protect it as much as they can.
A dog which knows its place within the family ‘pack’ should allow the people in the house to remove the bone if they choose to. However, if the dog sees itself as the pack leader or even just higher than the children in the house, there is the risk of aggressive behaviour whilst they have it. Any dog which shows signs of aggression when given a bone should not be given another on under any circumstances.
Bones can also cause problems within multi dog households. It can cause fighting and aggression between the dogs. Even if each dog is given its own bone, the dominant dog may try to take the bones from the other dogs which may cause problems.
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This article is brought to you by Percy Jackson, long time pet expert and author of Percy’s Pets. With years of experience and dogs of his own, if you need advice on your dog, go to his site and ask him a question.