Many dogs have a tendency to bury their bones, sometimes without their owner being aware of it. What are the reasons behind this canine behavior and is it something to be feared?
- Burying bones is a natural and instinctive behavior in dogs
- Stress and anxiety may be contributing factors to this behavior
- Is he looking to build up a food reserve for later?
- How can the dog find its bones?
- How can bones be a danger to dogs?
- Should you stop your dog from burying his bones?
Burying bones is a natural and instinctive behavior in dogs
To understand why dogs need to bury their bones, it is necessary to go back a few thousand years and examine the lives of their wild ancestors. In order to survive, wild dogs, along with other canines and animal species, used to bury their food. At that time, it was not possible to count on a regular diet, so it was important to be able to store surplus food to cope with times of shortage. Burying bones and other food remains was a way for them to get food in case of famine.
Even though our domestic dogs are used to being fed regularly today, many of them have retained the instinct to bury their bones and other precious objects, such as treats or toys that they particularly enjoy. This habit allows them to keep these items out of reach of potential predators, thieves, or even their owners who might dispose of them if they are not eaten. If dogs can't dig in the ground, they can hide their treasured items by covering them with a blanket, pillow or other fabric to conceal them.
Stress and anxiety may be contributing factors to this behavior
It is possible that this behavior may appear suddenly in a dog that has never shown this habit before. In these cases, stress may be the cause. Stress and anxiety can lead to behavioral changes in animals, such as the need to bury things.
In some cases, a stressed, anxious or frightened dog may seek to calm itself by digging and burying objects, including bones. The animal may want to hide its food in a place it considers safer than its immediate environment. This may indicate that the animal does not feel safe at home, even if it is normally fed there. It is important to identify the cause of the stress quickly so that the pet can be helped. If this anxiety persists, the dog may become depressed. It is therefore crucial to take care of him and put him in a safe environment to calm him down and avoid future episodes of burrowing.
Is he looking to build up a food reserve for later?
As previously discussed, many dogs have retained the instinct of their ancestors to dig and bury objects, including bones. This practice may allow the animal to build up a food reserve and keep bones cool in the summer. Food buried in the ground benefits from the natural coolness of the earth, which helps it stay fresh longer and better retain its nutrients for the animal.
Bones are beneficial to a dog's health and their importance is not lost on the animal. They are rich in collagen, amino acids, vitamins A and K2, omega 3 and 6, iron, calcium, selenium, manganese, boron, phosphorus and magnesium. Bones contribute to the health of the coat, the epidermis, the digestive system, the natural detoxification of the liver, the well-being of the bones, muscles and joints, as well as the proper functioning of the heart. Bones are thus recognized for their multiple virtues.
How can the dog find its bones?
It is known that squirrels, which have a reputation for burying food, lose a large proportion of the acorns they have buried each year, due to their limited memory and poor sense of smell. Dogs, on the other hand, have an extremely developed and powerful sense of smell, up to 60 times more effective than that of humans. In addition, they are able to identify many different odors with great accuracy.
Thus, thanks to its particularly developed sense of smell, the dog can quickly find the bones it has buried, especially if they are not too deeply buried and if hunger motivates it.
How can bones be a danger to dogs?
Although bones are considered a common attribute of dogs in the collective imagination, thanks to fictional characters such as Dogmatix and Snowy, they are not a safe food. In fact, bones can cause potential injuries to your dog.
It is important to note that not all bones are suitable for dogs to eat. Although they do not need to be banned completely, some bones, such as those from chickens or rabbits, can break into small pieces that can injure the dog's mouth, throat, stomach or intestines. They can also cause a blockage in the trachea, leading to pain and digestive problems such as constipation and rectal bleeding when passing stool. It is therefore best to avoid them.
Larger, stronger bones, such as beef bones, are less risky because they are less brittle and contain a significant amount of marrow for the dog. However, it is important to keep in mind that there is no such thing as zero risk and that it is possible for a splinter to injure the dog when it chews the bone. It is therefore recommended to remain vigilant at all times.
Should you stop your dog from burying his bones?
Some dogs tend to bury their bones, while others do not. However, this habit is quite common in dogs, especially in hunting breeds, terriers in particular.
It is understandable to find it annoying to see your garden partially turned over by the holes dug by a dog, but forbidding a dog to bury his bones is not recommended. It is a behavior inherited from his ancestors and it is useless to fight against it. Punishing them for it is also not recommended, because it is natural to them and they will not understand why they are being punished for an instinctive behavior.
It is therefore preferable to let the dog bury its bones because it does not cause any harm to anyone and does not put the animal in danger. However, to reduce the need for burying, here are some tips you can use:
- Avoid giving your little friend a bone right after eating, as his stomach is full and he will probably want to bury it and eat it later.
- Allocate a small area of your yard to your pet and encourage him to bury his bones there so he doesn't dig up your beautiful lawn. This area should be his or her own, so let him or her do what they want.
- Avoid giving your dog too many toys, as this can encourage him to collect them. It's best to rotate the toys so that he plays with a new toy each time, without accumulating too many.
- If you notice that your little friend is burying not only his bones, but also items that belong to you, it may be a sign of unhappiness and a call for your attention. Give him more time and attention, walk him and cuddle him to make him feel better. If the behavior persists, consult a veterinarian.
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