The image of a dog proudly carrying a bone around or burying it in the garden is one that most people are familiar with, and it is very common knowledge that domestic dogs love to be given a bone to chew on when they are bored and have little else to do.
Many dogs love bones as toys, and will take great pleasure in gnawing at the hard material and trying to glean any last licks of meat from it.
However, most people are also aware that bones pose a few dangers, and that leads to the question “how long should a dog chew on a bone?”
It’s important to know exactly what you are giving to your pet and how safe this item is considered whenever you provide a chew toy to your canine friend, and bones are no exception to this.
Although they are a natural material and wild dogs often chew on bones, there are still a few issues that you should be aware of and keep an eye out for. This will reduce the risk of problems occurring for your dog.
As an owner, you are responsible for the health of your dog’s teeth, mouth and digestive system, and that means providing foods that are suitable and knowing how much food to give, or – in the case of chew toys – how long to allow chewing to continue. We’re going to cover this in the following article.
How Long Should A Dog Chew On A Bone?
A medium sized dog should generally only chew on a bone for about ten to fifteen minutes, and only a couple of times a week, while large dogs can be permitted a little more time.
This allows the dog to get plenty of enjoyment from chewing the bone, but reduces the risk of any issues arising, and helps to keep the toy fresh and interesting. It might sound like a very short amount of time, but this is generally agreed to be the safest interval to allow.
It’s a good idea to space out chewing sessions, so there are a few days between each one – and that means not giving your dog a bone two days running.
Ideally, wait for about three days before you give your dog the bone back or provide a fresh one, or even offer another hard chew toy.
This should further decrease the chances of any chewing complications arising, and means your dog will be excited to get something to chew on.
Dogs like to chew on bones for a number of reasons, including keeping their teeth clean and keeping their jaw muscles nice and strong.
Chewing is also a good way for dogs to deal with any pent up frustration and to keep boredom at bay, so it’s a great enrichment activity, and it may help to keep your dog quiet on dull afternoons.
What Are The Risks Of Letting A Dog Chew On A Bone Too Long?
Letting a dog keep chewing on a bone that it is enjoying might seem harmless or even positive, but it can actually be quite dangerous in some situations.
Bones are good for your dog, but they will bruise its mouth and gums, and it’s important to give them a break to recover.
Excessive chewing could also easily damage your dog’s teeth, especially if it is an aggressive chewer and you provide hard bones for it to enjoy.
A further risk is that consuming too much bone at once will increase the chances of the dog suffering from constipation, as bones take a while to digest and will stay in your dog’s system for some time.
By spacing out the frequency with which you give your dog bones, you ensure that its digestive system has enough time to catch up with itself and process the bone properly. Not doing so could lead to stomach issues, stomach pain, vomiting, and sometimes more serious complications, especially if this happens often.
You don’t need to be ultra rigorous or time your dog’s chewing sessions to the minute, but a bit of caution is wise.
Too much chewing could also expose your dog to mouth problems and diseases, because it will cause injuries in the mouth and leave it exposed to infections. Bruising can be uncomfortable and may make it harder for your dog to eat.
Should You Even Let Your Dog Chew On Bones?
Some people say that you should never give your dog a bone because it could damage their mouth and might splinter, resulting in lots of internal complications.
However, this is generally only the case with cooked bones, although it is important to choose bones with care and make sure they are suitable for the breed of dog you own and its level of aggression when it comes to chewing.
Really aggressive chewers need to be given softer bones so that they don’t hurt their teeth.
A dog does not need bones in order to survive, but it may benefit from chewing on them, both physically and mentally.
If you don’t give your dog bones, make sure you provide other suitable chew toys to help it exercise its jaws and to keep its teeth clean and free from plaque/tartar.
It is a good idea to talk to your vet if you aren’t sure what kind of bone to offer to your dog.
Some bones are better for heavy, strong chewers, while others will be better for gentler dogs. Do not offer bones that splinter easily, or fatty bones like pork bones. Fatty bones could increase the dog’s risk of pancreatitis, and splinters may lead to an internal blockage.
How long a dog should chew on a bone does depend a bit on the size of the dog, but in general, dogs shouldn’t be given a bone for more than about ten or fifteen minutes, and not more than a couple of times per week. If your dog particularly loves bones, consider finding other suitable chew toys for it to play with, and make sure it is not damaging its mouth through over-enthusiastic chewing.