Why Do Dogs Like Chewing On Bones?
[Updated Edition]

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

As dog owners would agree, there is a feeling of euphoria shown by dogs every time they receive a bone to chew. However, it seems like bare bones are difficult to chew, taste-less, and void of nutritional elements. Have you wondered why dogs like bones so much?

We often forget to realize that evolution has gifted the canine family with tailor-made teeth to tear apart even the hardest of bones. Additionally, dogs derive mental stimulation and exercise for jaw muscles as part of chewing on bones. Also, not to mention that this activity is an effective technique to keep their teeth clean.

Clearly, bones provide far better benefits to your dog than any chew toy you can provide. Dogs get engaged with their piece of bone for several hours. There are also cases where they regularly work on the bone for days and bury it once they are done with the bone. Burying the bone is a canine version of refrigeration: a measure to store it safely and prevention from damage. Dogs always remember where they buried the bone for chewing it at a later point.

Without any further delay, let’s move ahead to the core theme of this article.

Why do Dogs like Bones so much?

We have classified the reasons or driving forces for a dog’s attraction towards bones. Let’s go through each of them below.

Nutritional Element

The marrow found in the animal bones can be a rich source of fat. This reason makes bones a nutrition-packed, tasty snack for your dogs. Stray/wild dogs often rely on the bone marrow of the prey that is the body’s last reserve of body fat for survival in harsh conditions. 

Fat is not the only nutritional aspect involved. Bones are also rich in minerals like Calcium and Phosphorous. Chewing on bones has a proven effect of improving the dog’s skin and fur texture significantly.

If your vet has recommended more calcium to be provided to the dog, raw bones can be beneficial. This scenario is especially recommended for large-sized breeds that are undergoing the growth phase.

In most cases, bits of meat or tendons remain attached to the bone. Dogs find it very rewarding and morale-boosting to gather every tiny piece of meat they can extract from the bone. At the end of the day, cognitive stimulation and bodily nutrition are taken care of.

Release of Endorphins

Chewing on bones enables the release of endorphins, or the “feel-good” hormone in dogs. It is pretty similar to what humans feel after a good workout. 

As chewing chemically makes the dog feel good, they tend to repeat this action regularly. Besides, there is a level of mental stimulation the dog undergoes while chewing bones. This factor also has a positive effect on their cognitive response to commands and tasks.

Dental Cleaner

This aspect is one of the primary reasons for the question “why do dogs like to eat bones?”. The chewing activity is useful in cleaning dental plaque and tartar. 

Also, while chewing on raw bones, the salivary glands get activated and generate saliva in the dog. This liquid helps keep the dog’s teeth and gum in a cleansed state.

Do All Dogs prefer Chewing on Bones?

We discussed the three major reasons why dogs like to eat bones. But do all of them prefer to chew on it? Dogs do show a preference for bones irrespective of age, breed, or size. But each one is different. Their choices can vary. 

Not all dogs are fans of bones. Some of them don’t care for this chewing activity. They may have undergone awful experiences in the past when it comes to it. For instance, an injury or digestive illness can be a repelling factor for them.

While the other category that we are more aware of feels on cloud nine when given one. We can infer that bones are not a universal favorite for dogs.

Points to Consider While Giving a Bone

  • Ensure to give the dog a raw bone. Do not provide cooked bones. Cooking makes the bone devoid of the multiple nutritional benefits, removing the precious marrow fat component from it. Cooking can lead to the bone being brittle and vulnerable to breaking into pieces.
  • The chosen bone size should be large enough so that the dog does not swallow it whole. A knuckle bone or a big leg bone would be a decent choice.
  • Keep the meat bits on the bone to a minimum. Although your dog will tend to sing praises about you if the meat content is more, too much of it on the bone can be hard on their digestion and stomach condition.
  • Initial supervision of how your dog handles the given bone is strongly recommended. This measure can help avoid any mishaps.
  • Dogs don’t find it preferable to share bones with other dogs. So, make sure to give individual bones to each dog if you own multiple canine friends.

Some Alternatives to Bones

If the risks associated with providing your buddy with a real bone make you bothered, you can always consider some safer alternatives to bones you can give them.

Deer Antlers

They are strong and indestructible. Your dogs can gnaw on them for hours, and this can help with their dental cleansing too.

Frozen Form of Treats

This alternative is beneficial during the summer season. Your pup can enjoy a few ice cubes, frozen broth, or peanut butter without any safety hazards. The risk of choking and mouth tearing is avoided in this case. 

Hard Rubber

Hard rubber can be a great alternative to raw animal bones. The key consideration to bear in mind is that the rubber must be hard enough and non-brittle so that your buddy does not swallow it.


Evolutionary science shows that the canine family is precisely designed for chewing hard materials like raw animal bones. The nutritional goodness bone chewing can provide your dog is a crucial reason for the query “Why do dogs like to eat bones?.” Dogs and bones can be considered to be like two peas in a pod.

As dog owners, ensure to consider all necessary precautions discussed before giving bones to your dog. Never shy away from taking medical guidance in case your dog shows signs of trouble chewing bones.

We hope you enjoyed this article on the benefits of chewing bones for your dog when done right. It can be a delightful and tasty experience for your canine buddy, spending hours enjoying their treasure.