Why Do Dogs Cry When They Eat Bones



Bones are supposed to be fun! A treat for your canine friend and yet, your canine friend seems sad and hurt each time they have one. They whimper in the corner and do not seem like they are having the typical delightful reaction to receiving a treat. What is going on here? The behavior is almost certainly irregular and can be quite concerning, and for good reason. If your canine cries when they are chewing a bone, there could be some pretty serious medical concerns that is causing that behavior. With hundreds of varieties in bones, it can be hard to tell what is good for your dog and what isn't.

The Root of the Behavior

The common perception of bones seems to be that anything intended for dogs is a safe and healthy choice to give them. Unfortunately, that is not true. Bones vary a great deal in taste, hardness, and their brittleness. Although they are touted and advertised for their benefits to your canine's dental health, they can actually be quite harmful in this way. Bones are often very hard, and by design. This makes them last longer as the canines have a hard time chewing through them. However, canines have incredible jaw strength and can put all that force down onto that bone. This can often cause cracking and breaking of teeth, a relatively untold side effect of hard bones to your dog. This kind of cracking and breaking of the teeth located toward the rear of your canine's mouth could be causing the whimpering you have begun to hear when they go after a bone.

It is true that chewing on a bone does have some great dental benefits; it keeps your dog's gums and teeth clean. It is also true, however, that a bone that is too hard is one of the leading causes of broken or damaged teeth. Unfortunately, your canine may not have the ability to discern that the bone is the cause and continue to chew on them anyway, even while they are putting your dog in pain. The hardness is not the only concern bones can have for your dog. Some bones are more brittle than others and this leads to splintering. When a bone splinters, it can often create sharp edges that tear at the esophagus and stomach lining of your canine. This is the reason, for instance, that you are told never to give your dog chicken bones. Chicken bones are notoriously brittle and splinter very easily, however all bones can and do splinter to some degree or another. This could be the cause of your dogs pain.

Encouraging the Behavior

Your best route forward is to give your canine a softer bone or an alternative chewing toy altogether. Hard bones can cause damage to your canine's mouth and put them in a great deal of pain, as well as cost you a great deal in medical bills for your canine. Brittle bones and splintering can be fatal. A lot of bones are advertised as the best route for your dog without much real evidence to support that. All bones are not created equal and it is important to do your research on what you are purchasing for your dog. Even the best options still have drawbacks. 

For instance, deer antlers are one of the best types of bones for your canine. They are very unlikely to splinter, provide great taste, and last a long time. However, they last a long time because they are rather hard in comparison to some other options out there. This hardness is likely to cause that dental damage in dogs that enjoy putting their full jaw force down onto that bone. Even still, the low rate of splintering makes it one of your better options. Speaking with your vet about your dog will give you a lot of insight into what choice is going to be best for you and your four legged friend.

Other Solutions and Considerations

There are other causes of dental damage, and you may just note the pain they are in because of the bone, not because the bone caused the damage. Bones and other chew toys do fill an important role in canines, especially young canines who have a lot of excess energy and no other outlet for it. Young canines also often need to chew on things during the teething process. Once the canine has grown, it may not need the same frequency of bones, or bones may be replaced entirely by some other chew toy. Most of their life, however, they should have access to something to chew on, something soft, for the sake of the cleanliness of their mouth.


If your dog whimpers when they chew on bones, it is almost certainly because they are in pain. This pain could be caused by pieces of bones that have broken off, or cracking and breaking teeth. If you see this type of behavior you should contact your veterinary professional and have your canine looked over.