With all the health and safety concerns surrounding commercial
pet food, it’s no wonder many pawrents introduce real meat and
bones into their dogs’ diets.
Animal bones are a delicious treat and an excellent way for dogs
to satisfy their desire to chew. However, they are not without
risks. Read on to find out the do’s and don’t’s of giving
your dog bones.
Do: Choose high-quality raw bones.
No matter your feelings on
raw food diets, if you are going to offer your dog bones, raw
is the only way to go. In general, raw bones are safer than cooked
because they are less likely to splinter. When choosing the perfect
raw bone for your dog, follow these guidelines:
- Purchase bones from a skilled, reputable butcher to ensure
- Opt for locally-sourced meat bones when possible
- Choose beef or bison bones; they tend to be safe and less
likely to splinter
- Avoid pork bones and rib bones of any kind; they may crack or
- To prevent choking, choose dog bones about the size of your
- Store fresh bones in the freezer until ready for use
Don’t: Feed cooked bones.
Even though you know raw bones are safer, an occasional cooked
beef bone couldn’t hurt…right? Unfortunately, even heartier
bones from cows and bison may still splinter into sharp pieces when
cooked. These fragments can cause serious health problems
- Wounds to the soft parts of the mouth and throat
- Fractured teeth
- Perforations of the intestines
If you are concerned about raw feeding or want to utilize your
leftover cooked bones, consider boiling them into a delicious,
Do: Monitor dogs when they chew.
If you will be giving your dog bones, be sure you take the time
to supervise the chewing. Some people opt to grind bones and add
them to their dogs’ food to improve safety. Chicken necks are
especially soft and excellent for grinding.
Dogs displaying signs of food
aggression should not be given real bones. Highly desirable
treats tend to trigger this behavior and make it difficult for you
to retrieve them should they become a choking hazard.
Don’t: Settle for commercially available packaged bones.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that
between Nov. 1, 2010 and Sept. 12, 2017, 90 dogs became sick after
eating commercially-available smoked or baked bone treats. Fifteen
of these dogs tragically lost their lives.
The ill and injured dogs suffered from symptoms such as
gastrointestinal blockages, choking, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody
stool, and cuts to the mouth.
Some of the bone treats listed in the reports were described
as “Ham Bones,” “Pork Femur Bones,” “Rib Bones,”
and “Smokey Knuckle Bones.” These products are baked or dried
through a smoking process, and may contain preservatives,
seasonings or smoke flavorings.
Do: Consider offering bone alternatives.
Do: Weigh the pros and cons when deciding whether to give your dog
When ground, raw bones offer a wonderful source of calcium and
phosphorus. Whole bones also offer some nutrition when chewed from
the meat, cartilage, fat, and connective tissue left clinging to
them. Despite these benefits, raw bones can also expose your dog
and your family to dangerous food-borne pathogens like Salmonella.
Before introducing raw bones into your dog’s diet, consult
with your veterinarian to help you decide whether the benefits
outweigh the risks.
Source: FS – Dogs – iHD
The Do’s And Don’t’s Of Giving Your Dog Bones