Why Do Dogs Bury Bones?

Dog dreaming of bones

Dog dreaming of bones

Dogs have proved themselves to be one of the most popular pets. They have been man’s best friend for thousands of years and the glue-like relationship that has existed between humans and their canine friends is down to the latter’s character traits. Dogs are intelligent, loyal, friendly and able companions.

One of dogs’ common character traits is their tendency to bury their bones. Those who own dogs are all too familiar with sights of dug holes in their backyards. Whether irritating or exciting, dog owners are bound to find their canine friends digging away happily trying to create a space to closet the latest acquisition. Many people are normally confounded as to why dogs dog this. There are various reasons that explain this behavior.

Why do dogs bury bones?

Keeping away competition

Before their domestication, dogs were hunters and hunting consists of cutthroat competition. As a defensive strategy, they would bury their bones out of sight of other animals. This behaviour hasn’t been lost and it’s possible they continue to hide their stash in order to avoid competition for the food.  By burying their bones, they can always come and retrieve them when they are hungry or bored. If they leave the bones in the open, there is always the risk of losing it to other dogs, or us humans removing them without notice!

Avoid food wastage

It would seem that dogs are intelligent enough not to waste food. At least that is what it seems judging from their propensity to bury bones. Their thinking is that a time would come when food would be scarce. These holes serve as their silos or storage systems. They can always come and retrieve their bones when they cannot find another source of food.

Recreational purposes

Then again, dogs might just be in need of some fun sport. Besides fetch, bone burying seems to provide dogs with an intense thrill. Some dog owners provide their pet dogs with specific spots where they can engage in this activity.

Why Do Dogs Bury Bones?

Health effects that come with dogs burying bones

Dogs derive pleasure from their practice of burying bones. After all, it is part of their instinct to do so. However, this practice could have a hazardous effect on their health. They are at risk of suffering from lead poisoning. This is because of the likelihood of lead deposits in the ground. The dogs will ingest these deposits alongside the bones.

Lead poisoning rears itself in animals in numerous ways such as, diarrhea, ataxia, blindness and depression. Also, it is a common sight for animals to experience maniacal excitement resulting from lead poisoning. This has negated the age-old practice by dogs since the health risks outweigh the thrills.

Curtailing the bone burying practice

With the lurking danger of lead poisoning, there may be a need to reduce the dog’s tendency to bury bones.  One strategy is to remove any buried bones and replace with an undesirable material, such as the dog’s own poop.  This removes the desirability of retrieval from these holes. Of course, the dog should never find out about this form of sabotage!

Dogs can also shed their bone burying behaviours when they are pre-occupied with other activities. A game of fetch would also suffice in this regard. Dog owners need to carry out these tactics regularly to achieve the desired effect.