What Are the Functions of the Skeleton in a Dog?

dog image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com

A dog's skeleton performs various functions necessary for the dog's survival. The health and composition of a dog's skeleton changes based on the dog's health and age. Improper diet or disease will negatively impact a dog's bones, affecting the dog in numerous ways. Veterinarians use various methods, such as x-rays and bone biopsies, to analyse a dog's skeletal health.


A dog's skeleton helps it move. The unique features of a dog's skeleton allow a dog to move in ways humans cannot. For example, the loose shoulder blades on a dog's skeleton allow it to run and twist in different directions without the shoulder blades limiting its movement. Some of a dog's longer bones act as levers so the muscles' strength is increased.

Immune System

A dog's skeleton also aids in fighting off infections and disease. The bones in a dog's skeleton contain several layers of material. The innermost layer, located in the centre of the bone, houses the bones' marrow. In some of the dog's bones, the marrow is red, which indicates the marrow is responsible for producing red and white blood cells.


Well-nourished adult dogs store some fat in their bones. While the marrow in some bones is red, in others it is yellow. Yellow marrow stores fat cells for the dog's use as energy if it is not getting enough food. In addition to storing fat cells, a dog's bones store extra amounts of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals for the dog's use at later times.

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