Should Dogs Eat Bones: Everything You Need To Know
Are Bones Safe For Dogs?
The answer to this question is no and yes.
Some claim that any bone, regardless of type or size, is unsafe for dogs. However:
- It depends on the bone.
- It depends whether it is cooked or not.
Why Cooked Ham Bones Are Not Good
For many pet owners, that large juicy looking ham or roast bone may seem like a wonderful treat for their beloved pet. However, there are many dangers involved in giving your dog cooked bones of any kind.
Aside from the danger factor, cooked bones hold much less nutritional value for your dogs, making them not at all worth the risk of harm.
Possible Injuries From Cooked Bones
- Broken teeth (have you seen the price of vet dentistry repair?)
- Lacerations in the dog’s mouth (roof and tongue
- Bone shards can lodge themselves in the esophagus, causing your dog to gag and try to bring it back up.
- Possibility of inhaling a sliver of bone into the windpipe – interfering with the dogs breathing.
- Bone lodged in gastrointestinal tract.
Fortunately dogs have a short intestinal tract (compared with humans).
- If a splintered bone pokes holes in the lining of the stomach or intestines, a bacterial infection can occur. This can lead to peritonitis.
- Constipation – ever seen white poo? The high calcium content can lead to the dog becoming constipated.
All of these require expensive veterinary interventions – let alone considerable pain and discomfort for your dog (see the best pain relief options here).
So if you don’t want to give your dog a cooked ham bone – then what?
Alternatives to Bones
Alternatives include edible dental bones.
It is recommended to find dental bones that will hold up to chewing as well as being fully natural with no traces of byproducts, sugars or extra fats, soy, corn or gluten.
See more alternatives to bones at Amazon.
What About Raw Bones?
Raw bones are safe for your dog as long as they are used properly.
- Can provide some nutritional benefit (i.e. marrow).
- Act like a good brushing and flossing for maintaining optimal canine dental health.
- Provide some good mental stimulation and are a flavorful treat. There are a couple different options to choose from.
Edible raw bones can be the hollow non-weight bearing bones of poultry. This includes necks from turkeys and chickens or the wings from chickens.
These bones do not pose a threat because they are easily crushed by your dog’s teeth as they are pliable and soft with no marrow. They also provide trace minerals, calcium, and phosphorus .
Bones like giant pieces of femur and hip that are filled with marrow can be given to your dog to chew and gnaw on to their heart’s content.
Do’s and Don’ts For Feeding With Raw Bones
Although recreational bones are safe with proper supervision, leaving your dog unattended can result in any of the dangers already discussed with cooked bones, should the raw bone be accidentally broken down and ingested by your dog.
- Keep a close eye on your dog while they have a bone.
- If you have several dogs in the house, always separate them before giving out bones so that fights don’t break out. Dogs are not good at sharing their bones.
- Feed your dog his bone either outside, or restrict them to a small space like their crate. This will keep the mess limited and easier to clean up after.
- Be sure that you take into consideration your dog’s size and the strength.
You want to be as certain as possible that they will not be able to break the bone down into sizes that can be swallowed.
- If your dog is prone to pancreatitis – avoid marrow-containing bones.
Marrow can cause a flare up and soft stools, including diarrhea.