Can you give dogs bones?
Can you give dogs bones?
Yes, you can.
Can you give dogs any bones?
No, you can’t.
Dogs love bones and bones are good for dogs. However, you must be vigilant when choosing a bone for your dog as some bones can be dangerous, or even fatal. Read on to find out about the dangers of some bones and the benefit of giving your dog the right bones.
Cooked bones are not recommended as they lose nutrients when cooked and become dry and brittle so are more likely to splinter and lacerate a dog’s mouth, oesophagus or stomach. This is an obvious health risk and your dog may need surgery if a bone causes damage or gets lodged inside them.
Rawhide bones are also not recommended. Rawhide is the soft inside layer of skin of an animal. These bones usually contain harmful chemicals, bleach and have very little nutritional value.
Raw meaty bones are a good addition to your dog’s raw meat diet. They provide nutritional benefits such as a good source of calcium, phosphorus and some provide omega 3 fatty acids. Raw bones are also beneficial for exercising your dog’s jaw muscles and provide mental stimulation.
Canines have been surviving on bones for years in the wild, so just because we have domesticated dogs, we shouldn’t deprive them of their natural diet. Raw bones and raw meat are more healthily beneficial to a dog than processed food and treats.
The size of the bones in comparison to the size of your dog’s head is important. Always choose a bone that is as long as your dog’s head and for flat-faced dogs, choose a bone twice as large as your dog’s head. This is to avoid your dog attempting to swallow the bone whole and prevent choking. So, in essence, the larger the dog, the larger the bone.
The flip side to the bone size rule is, large bones from large animals such as beef, buffalo and or bison shank bones are not advisable for dogs that chew bones aggressively as they are harder than a dog’s teeth. This can increase the risk of the teeth cracking, causing a lot of discomfort for your dog and costing you a lot of money on dental care bills.
Feeding raw bones to dogs gives them plenty of nutrients and aids in a dog’s dental hygiene as the bones scale their teeth, removing plaque.
It has been said that chicken bones are not good for dogs due to the risk of them splintering. This is true for cooked chicken bones but raw chicken bones are fine to give a dog. It is the cooking process that changes the bones, making them dry and brittle increasing the likelihood of them splintering. This can cause an internal injury in the body.
Commercial bone treats should be avoided as they are not natural, fresh, raw bones. They are sometimes dried, smoked or baked and can contain artificial preservatives and seasoning. These bone treats could be detrimental to your dog’s health and your dog could be at risk of needing emergency surgery or even death.
Dogs absolutely love bones so they can get very protective over them. If you have more than one dog it would be best to separate them when giving them bones to avoid fighting. Also, don’t let young children approach your dog while they are chewing on their bone.
Giving your dog raw bones doesn’t just benefit a dog’s physical health but mental health too. Chewing on bones will keep a dog busy eliminating boredom. Have you ever looked at your dog sitting or lying down and thinking, they look bored. Well, wave a bone around in front of them and you will see the excitement in their little face and their tail wagging.
Bones can be stored in the freezer and thawed out before giving to your dog. Thaw out the bone in a container for a couple of hours or in the fridge for 24 hours.
Best to give a dog a bone just after eating, when not hungry, as they would be less aggressive with it and less likely to bite through it and try to swallow big chunks. There is a risk of chunks of bones getting lodged in the digestive tract if swallowed.
Dogs should always be supervised with a bone. If you are there watching you can pick up any sharp pieces that break off so your dog does not swallow any shards of bone. When the bone is chewed down very small to a size that can fit in your dog’s mouth (and go down their throat) throw it out.
Canines in the wild eat raw meat and bones to survive, it is how nature intended. Processed food and even cooked bones are not naturally healthy for dogs. Dogs in the wild have a nice set of pearly whites due to the bones scaling their teeth and connective tissues still attached to the bones flossing the teeth and gums.
Some key points to note:
- Never offer cooked bones to your dog
- Raw meaty bones are suitable and beneficial
- Bones provide great exercise for your dog’s jaw muscles
- Meaty bones scale and floss your dog’s teeth and gums
- Improves breath
- Promotes regular solid stools
- Promotes mental stimulation
Moderation is key – giving your dog bones too often can result in diarrhoea or constipation. Supplement your dog’s diet with a bone only a couple of times a week.