In the event you are wondering about how many bones does a dog have, then you should know that adult dogs have more bones than those of adult humans. In this article, not only you will learn about the anatomy of dogs in general, but you will also learn about how to keep healthy bones for your dogs. Read on and find the information.
How Many Bones Does a Dog Have: The Facts
As it was mentioned before, adult dogs have at least 319 bones to 321 bones (max) within their bodies. When compared to (adult) humans having 206 bones, it’s safe to say that dogs have more bones than humans. It’s their tails that will determine the total number of the bones. Dogs having long tails naturally have more bones when compared to those with short tails.
Dogs’ bones construction is different from humans. Dogs don’t have any collarbone. They have disconnected shoulder bones so they can enjoy greater motion range when they are running. Their skeleton takes between 3 months and 18 months to completely mature. The maturation period itself depends on the size. For instance, bigger breeds take from 15 months to 18 months of maturation period, while the smaller toy breed only takes a few months to mature. Some breeds (such as Basset hound), however, may experience skeletal dwarfism and it affects their bones position and shape.
Keep in mind that pets need phosphorus, vitamin D, and calcium to maintain healthy bones. They also need to exercise too. But they need completely different strategies to completely meet the needs. In the past, bone health issue was a serious matter because there wasn’t enough information for the dog owners. It’s a positive thing that dogs’ bone health and nutrition has dramatically improved.
Strategies to Improve Dogs’ Bones Strength
If you really want to maintain your dogs’ health and make sure that they reach the maximum point of their growth and strength, it’s a good thing that there are several methods and tips that you can do to achieve the best outcome.
Provide High-Quality (Commercial) Food
It’s crucial to meet the dogs’ nutritional requirements. If you want to manage it in the best (and also easiest) way is to find a product with nutritionally balanced contents. Just make sure that they can meet your dogs’ specific requirements. After all, there are many commercial products that have been formulated and designed to provide balanced amount of phosphorous and calcium for pets (including dogs and cats).
The standard is issued by AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials). Products made meeting those standards will have AAFCO statement on the label stating that it has the balanced nutrition that adult dogs need.
Some dog owners are really into preparing their pets’ meals. In terms of hygiene and safety, such a thing is absolutely fine. But it’s not easy. Making your own meal takes time and dedication. It can also be costly. And how can you achieve the proper (and correct) nutritional balance on your own? You need to have a professional assistance on your side. Consulting a professional and licensed veterinary nutritionist would be a good idea.
About 95% of home-cook meals are made based on the owners’ guess or hunch. They aren’t formulated or advised by veterinary nutritionist or those having advanced training in (veterinary) nutrition. As a result, those meals don’t have enough nutrition and the diet tends to be unbalanced, especially for long term. One of those issues is related to vitamin D, which plays a vital role in bone health. Not enough vitamin D can lead to health issues, but excessive amount can also lead to kidney disease, neurological issues, and even death. Because of this reason, it’s a must that you consult a professional veterinary nutritionist – provided that you pick this path.
Not Too Little and Not Too Much
Dogs who overeat have the tendency to develop joint issues. This is a serious condition during development, leading to ever-lasting joint problems due to the dogs grow overly fast. However, eating too little will also lead to health issues. If dogs don’t get enough food and nutrition, they won’t get those important minerals and vitamins that are needed for building their bones.
It’s possible that providing supplements can be a good alternative and solution, but you want to be aware of over-supplementation. It’s always a good idea to consult your vet to find out the proper dosage. And always follow the recommended size portion to be on the safe side. Your vet may also recommend you to monitor your dogs’ condition to see their response to the supplements.
Exercise and Consistency
One way to boost bone health is to exercise, and be consistent about it. There is no rigid rule about specific intensity, amount, and type of exercise to strengthen your dog. Your dog should have enough exercise, but too much can also create joint or bone issues that may last for good. Not having any exercise at all is bad. Not being consistent about your dogs’ exercise will also create a negative impact for them.
What’s the best exercise for them? Combination of occasional run and regular walks will do. You can do it in the yard or go out. It’s better to do it several times per day (in shorter period) than one long period per day.
Careful Consideration on Supplementation
Whereas most dog owners believe that adding supplements is always good, it’s not always the case. You see, when your dogs already have a balanced (and complete) diet having enough phosphorous, calcium, and vitamin D, they don’t need the extra supplements. Remember, too much is never good. Excessive nutrients can lead to different medical issues. But if your dogs suffer from joint and bone issues, supplements having fatty acid Omega 3 can be handy.
The Wrap up
As it was mentioned before, dealing with dogs’ bone health can be complicated, but if you are willing to spend extra efforts (and also money), your dogs should be able to maintain good health. Now after you find out the answer to the question how many bones does a dog have, you can start making a plan from now.