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What Kinds Of Bones Are Safe To Feed Dogs?

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It’s a firmly held belief that dogs love nothing more than to chew on bones. However, there’s much more to it than most pet owners could’ve guessed. As much as dogs love their bones, they can be extremely dangerous for them.

In this blog, you’ll learn which bones are safe to feed your dog, which ones to avoid, and some alternatives you can use if your dog has health conditions.

Never Feed Cooked Bones to Your Dog

Because it’s so normal for pet owners to feed their dogs bones leftover after a meal, this is one of the most important parts to cover first. Cooked bones are among the most dangerous bones to feed your dog. That’s because cooked bones are more likely to splinter and cause internal injuries. Additionally, cooked bones are mostly stripped of their nutritional value.

Injuries that cooked bones can cause your dog include:

  • Broken teeth
  • Mouth/tongue injuries
  • Getting stuck in vital organs (stomach, windpipe, esophagus, etc.)
  • Constipation
  • Peritonitis due to poked holes in the stomach or intestines caused by bone fragments

So as much as your dog may beg at the dinner table, it’s best to toss cooked bones in the garbage where your dog can’t access them.

Raw Meat Bones

When considering feeding bones to your dog, raw bones are your best bet. However, keep in mind that even raw bones pose their own set of risks. Like humans, dogs are susceptible to bacterial infections when it comes to eating raw bones. You can reduce these risks by properly handling raw bones.

For tips and recommendations on properly handling these bones, speak with a veterinary professional. That said, two types of raw bones are relatively safe for dogs: edible and recreational bones.

Edible Bones

These are hollow bones that usually come from chickens and turkeys. Their safety comes from the fact that they are soft, do not contain bone marrow, and can be crushed without much effort, making them unlikely to cause injury once they’re ingested.

These bones also provide minerals, including sodium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and other important nutrients for a well-balanced doggy diet.

Recreational Bones

These are typically found in pet stores. They’re usually large, hard, and filled with marrow, but do not carry many nutrients as they aren’t meant to be digested, only gnawed on. The constant gnawing on a recreational bone is akin to brushing and flossing, providing your dog with healthy dental care.

Safety Guidelines for Feeding Bones to Your Dog

Whether you give your dog edible bones, recreational bones, or both, it’s best to watch them while they’re chewing and gnawing. Supervision can significantly reduce the risk of sudden choking as you’ll be able to react much faster while near your dog.

If you have multiple dogs, you’ll want to keep them separated before providing them with bones. This precaution will help prevent potential fights due to territorial behaviors your dogs may exhibit.

For bigger dogs with much stronger jaws, don’t give them recreational bones, as they may try to break them and ingest them in large parts, leading to choking and internal injuries.

Bone Alternatives

For elderly dogs or dogs with health conditions, dental dog chews are a perfect alternative to edible and recreational bones. They’re fully digestible and provide a great deal of abrasion to keep your dog’s teeth and gums clean and healthy.

If you suspect your dog might’ve eaten a cooked bone or is showing signs of pain or internal injuries, call Germantown Vet at 240-252-7467 immediately to schedule an emergency appointment.

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