People often panic when we mention bones, but raw bones are an important and integral part of our pets’ diet. They supply water, fat, protein, minerals and vitamins to your pets in a highly natural form. In addition to the nutritional benefits that bones provide, they play an important role in dental and gum health.
You’ve probably heard that dogs love to chew on bones. You’ve probably also heard that bones are dangerous for dogs…..
With all the contradictory information out there about feeding bones to dogs, it’s important to be able to sort out what the facts are; including both the health benefits and risks. Giving your dog a bone can be very dangerous, or, if you’re well-informed and follow some simple rules, it can be safe and good for your dog.
Bones are nature’s toothbrush … chewing removes plaque and tartar from teeth and freshens breath.
Digging into a nice big bone is one of the best activities your dog can do! It is like grabbing a great book and spending hours devouring it. That’s exactly what recreational bones are to your dog … it is a relaxing way to get the endorphins flowing, get rid of some frustration and even get some exercise. Ripping and chewing on bones is a super muscle-building activity for your dog… it builds a strong neck and spine.
Chewing is a natural and important behaviour for dogs. Recreational bones act like a brush and floss for dog’s teeth. The sinewy bones break tartar down and reduce gum disease, cleaning the teeth.
Chewing stimulates the production of saliva enzymes, which prevent plaque build-up. Dogs who chew on bones are also less likely to scratch or lick their own paws.
Raw bones are a good source of calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals. They have benefits to the digestive system, including strengthening the stomach muscles, preventing bloat, fostering healthy bowel movements, and preventing anal gland problems.
In addition to physical health, chewing has the benefit of mentally stimulating dogs. This can actually reduce anxiety, which is linked to high blood pressure and heart disease.
Give your dog a RAW bone!
Most raw bones that have not been cooked are edible for dogs. Raw chicken, turkey, lamb, or beef bones are soft enough to chew, eat, and digest.
That said, with all bones, there is a risk of choking if your dog swallows without thoroughly chewing; and bones that are too hard can cause damage to the teeth. As long as you follow the safety guidelines below, these bones should be fine.
Safe bones to consider:
- Turkey necks, Duck necks and Chicken necks
- Chicken heads, Duck Heads
- Ostrich Kneecaps, Ostrich Tails
- Venison Tails
- Chicken feet, Duck feet
- Dinosaur Bones or Knuckle bones (These need to be fed with caution and make sure to never feed unsupervised – again for choking…)
Recreational bones are not designed to be edible, but rather chewed by dogs. These can include large femur or hip bones from venison or beef and are usually filled with marrow.
These bones may have meat, cartilage, or soft tissue still attached. Bones with marrow are high in fat. Make sure to adjust your dog’s diet to compensate, and if your dog needs a low-fat diet, you may be better off not giving marrow-filled bones to your dog.
Always remember there are risks to giving your dog these kinds of bones, though if you follow the safety guidelines, your pup should be able to safely enjoy them.
If you’d like to give your dog a bone to eat or chew, follow these rules so they enjoy their bone safely.
- Supervise chewing. Don’t leave your dog to chew a bone alone. They may bite off too much and choke or gnaw too aggressively and cause injury.
- Throw out gnawed-down bones. If your dog chews a bone down to the brittle part, splintering becomes a problem. Additionally, a bone that has been chewed down too small becomes a choking hazard.
- Do not give bones to a dog who has had restorative dental work. These dogs are at risk for tooth breakage and dental problems.
- Do not give bones with marrow to dogs who get pancreatitis. Marrow is high in fat and can cause a flare up or diarrhea.
- Do not give a bone to a dog who’s likely to bite it in half and swallow large chunks. You know how your dog eats. If your dog swallows food quickly rather than chewing, a bone presents a risk.
- Give the bone after a meal. A less hungry dog is less likely to chew and swallow a bone quickly.
- Don’t feed your dog bones that can be swallowed whole. This depends on the size of your dog. A small chicken bone is not safe for a Great Dane, for instance.
- Give your dog bones that are longer than the length of their muzzle. This will make it impossible for them to swallow.
- Only let your dog chew for short periods at a time. This reduces the likelihood of injury.
- Refrigerate bones when not in use. Throw them out after three to four days. This reduces the likelihood of contamination.
WARNING – COOKED BONES:
Never feed cooked bones of any kind! These bones are hard and can easily break a tooth and cause blockages.
Is it worth it to give your dog a bone?
As to whether the health benefits outweigh the risks of feeding your dog bones, many veterinarians disagree on this issue. Ultimately, the choice is yours as the owner of your dog.
Minced and grinded bones is already part of your dog’s Pawsome meals to provide the minerals from bones to your dog’s diet without the risks of choking or other complications. This does, however, also eliminate the benefits of chewing.
When going over the pros and cons, you should do your research before you decide to give your dog a bone. Please contact your Pawsome Raw nutrition specialist to assist you with making an informed decision.