How Many Bones Does a Dog Have?

Alex Seilis
How many bones does a dog have

While it obviously varies from breed to breed, dogs generally have 321 bones in their body. The main difference in bones across breeds actually comes down to the tail, as longer tails generally have more vertebrae than their shorter counterparts.

Bones are the foundation of our body, allowing us to stand up, move, grow, and more. And your dog’s bones are equally important when it comes to his health and wellbeing. 

Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the other nuances of dogs and their bones. 

Dog Bones vs Human Bones

It might be helpful to start off by comparing dog bones to human bones. Aside from the fact that we don’t have tails, there are some other interesting differences between the bones in dog skeletons and humans skeletons. 

For one thing, humans have far fewer bones than our canine friends. While dogs have 321 bones in their body, humans have 206 bones. Most scientists attribute the extra bones in the dog’s skeleton to teeth and vertebrae. In humans, however, our bones are largely concentrated in our hands and feet. We have 27 bones in each hand and 26 in each foot, which makes for 106 bones in total in just humans’ hands and feet alone. 

Dogs not only have more bones than us, but their bones are denser, stronger, and less porous.  

How Long Does It Take for a Dog’s Bones to Fully Develop? 

How long it takes for your dog’s bones to fully develop will depend on his breed. However, most dog breeds will develop their full skeletal structure within 12 to 18 months. 

In general, a larger breed like a Rottweiler or Mastiff will take longer to fully develop (18 to 20 months), while smaller breeds may reach their full development and stop growing within just 6 to 8 months. 

RELATED: When Do Dogs Stop Growing?

Common Bone Disorders In Dogs

Dogs can be predisposed to a few common bone and joint problems. Three of the more common disorders include: 

1. Luxating Patella

A luxating patella is a dislocated kneecap that moves out of its normal groove. It’s very similar to a “trick knee” in humans. When it happens, your dog can’t move or extend his knee properly. This can cause limping or an abnormal gait, pain and eventually, arthritis.

Luxating patella can also lead to chronic inflammation in the joint that causes the ligaments to break down … which is why 10-15% of dogs with luxating patellas will eventually damage their cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) as well. Plus, the more the kneecap is outside its normal groove, the shallower the groove becomes, making dislocation of the kneecap occur more easily.

2. Panosteitis

Panosteitis is an inflammatory bone disorder, sometimes also called “long bone pain” or “pano.” Pano is a fairly common issue in growing puppies where inflammation occurs on the exterior of the long bones, usually in the legs. The inflammation can occur in multiple bones at a time, or even shift from one bone to another.

3. Osteochondrosis

In osteochondrosis, cartilage loss weakens the joints and causes bones to gradually lose their strength. Extreme cases can even cause the cartilage to detach completely from the joints. The best way to cure and prevent osteochondrosis is by feeding your dog a proper diet rich in calcium. 

How Long Does It Take for a Dog’s Broken Bone to Heal?

If your dog breaks a bone, it can take varying lengths of time to heal, depending on which bone it is and the severity of the break. Your vet can determine these things and give you an estimate of how long it will take for your dog’s broken bone to heal. In general, though, healing will require a minimum of 4 weeks in young puppies while older dogs will require 8 weeks or more to fully heal from a broken bone.

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© 2024, Four Leaf Rover - The content on this website is not meant to replace veterinary advice. Please support the hard working holistic vets who make this information possible. To find a holistic or homeopathic vet near you or to find one who will do phone consultations, visit The Academy Of Veterinary Homeopathy.