Random Thought: Dog Bones

May pet parents (mainly canine) don’t give their pet children big hard bones to gnaw on because they believe the bones will break the pet children’s teeth. Fear is for beginner pet parents. Dogs in the Philippines hunt like their wild ancestors. They don’t get dog food that come in bags. They get fed table scraps and leftover food, and they hunt rats and rodents and animals not enjoyed by humans. At times, the pet dogs tend to get a bit rambunctious and kill one of the free roaming chickens, but it’s a price to pay when you have both predator and prey free ranging the premises.

Pol and Princess knew how to chew on chicken bones without choking. My mom actually taught Pol how to slowly chew on it by holding the bone while he chewed on it. He always wanted to swallow it whole at the beginning of his training which is what most pet parents fear.  Pol and Princess never had shards of bone ripping their stomachs, and they got a lot more calcium from the bones than from their food.

Syren used to get chicken bones from me, thigh and drumstick bones only. However, when my husband and I got together, she lost that privilege due to the fact that Duke doesn’t know how to chew on bone. He’s had rawhides, but he didn’t really experience human food until I came into his life. (Human food and dogs are a whole different topic, but I will discuss it down the road.) It’s hard to teach an old dog how to do things, especially when it comes to bones, so Syren unfortunately had to be steered away from chicken bones.

She still has her ham haunch bones. I got her one with some marrow in it while we were still living in California, and Duke steals and chews on it after she gets it all wet and slobbery. It got to the point that they were arguing over it, so I bought a second haunch. This is the one that has brought this article about. On Monday, Syren was lounging beside me in my office loft, and for three (3) hours straight, she was gnawing on it, her teeth grinding away at the bone. She’d stop and all I’d hear was her licking the bone.

Here’s where I really got interested. I never noticed her lick the bone before, so I watched her without actually staring at her. I was clicking away at my computer and sneaking glances at her (if I stare at her, she stops and comes up to me.) and after 30 minutes of observation, I understood what she was doing.

Canine teeth are like human teeth. When they’re pups, they go through a teething stage and they do lose their baby teeth. (cats too and cat teeth hurt when you step on them!) As they grow older, they gnaw on bones to take care of their teeth: (1) To clean their teeth, and (2) to get calcium by grinding the bone down and licking the ground bone.

The second part is what I didn’t comprehend before. I knew some tribes of monkey and ape did that with calcium-filled rocks, but my brain didn’t register that dogs would do it too. Duke has picked up on how to chew on bone from Syren, and he’s now doing the slow, grinding chew and lick the bone clean routine.

I’m glad that I’ve provided them a way to keep their teeth clean and maintained and to get their dose of calcium. Teeth cleaning at groomers and vets can get pricey, and calcium can get expensive too.

Besides, dogs and bones are a natural match. Regardless of what we humans call them, whether it be pets, children, or babies, dogs are still descendants of wolves and wild dogs. Their instinct is to hunt and eat meat and gnaw on bones. I’m definitely a believer in dog bones. Just make sure that if you decide to give your dog a bone that it’s a natural bone and not a man made bone.

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