Choosing The Best Bones For Your Dog To Chew!

by Manya Vaish

“Give a bone to the dog” — is a common saying we’ve heard in cartoons and films. However, have you ever thought of which bones you can actually feed your dogs and the one you should not?

Bones are a good source of several nutrients and minerals for your pups and even help satisfy their appetite. Raw meaty bones indeed hold significant benefits for your pup. Chewing bones stimulates saliva enzymes releasing some antibacterial agents that can help improve oral hygiene. Also, it helps in preventing plaque buildup on teeth, cracking off tartar, and fighting gum diseases.

While you might consider dogs and bones an inseparable pair, you should be aware of certain facts — types of bones, benefits, and more. Let’s dig in to know more!

bones for dogs

Bones you should avoid feeding your pup

  • Long Bones
  • Long bones are found in the legs and wings of animals. They tend to have a hard and smooth surface and are filled with loads of marrow. The ends of these bones are quite soft and contain a lot of cartilage.

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    The cartilage in bones contains Glucosamine which helps to cushion the area between the joints when dogs suffer from arthritis or joint pain (when the cartilage is missing, thin, or damaged). However, these can be quite hard on the surface and can break your pup’s teeth.

  • Cooked Bones
  • Cooked bones particularly can harm your dogs as they become weak by heating and can break and splinter more easily while chewing. So, avoid giving any cooked bones to your pooch.

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    No matter how large a bone is, it becomes brittle after cooking and can splinter into shards leading to choking and serious damage to the dog's mouth, throat, or intestines. Besides this, cooking removes natural nutrients from the bones

  • Rawhide
  • Rawhide is a by-product of the meat industry and can impose several prospective risks to your pet’s health. The dangers include – 

    • Swelling up to four times its original size in your dog’s stomach, leading to life-threatening blockages.
    • Your dog can easily chew off and swallow large pieces of rawhide which can get stuck in their stomach, esophagus, or intestines.
    • It is treated with other chemicals while processing and contains preservatives.
    • Chewing rawhides can cause acute pancreatitis, which can vary from mild gastrointestinal upset to collapse and death.

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    If your pet has a strong bite (usually associated with Dobermans, Rottweilers, germans, etc.), rawhide can be quite hazardous. It can lead to choking if your dog breaks the bone before chewing.

    Additionally, rawhides often lead to problems such as - choking hazards, digestive blockage, gastrointestinal issues, etc.

    Bones you can feed your pup

  • Flat Bones
  • Flat bones are found in the ribs, pelvis, shoulder, and spinal column of animals. They are softer compared to long bones, do not contain as much marrow, and have convoluted surfaces. These are better to chew as they are much softer and harder to clamp down on.

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    Besides this, flat bones have craggy surfaces that hide the meat better than long bones and also last longer.

  • Raw Bones
  • Raw bones are much safer than cooked bones. Most veterinary experts suggest that it is safer to give your dog raw bones than cooked ones. However, raw bones may contain bacteria such as Salmonella that cause food-borne disease, diarrhea, or vomiting. Research proves that feeding raw bones to your dog comes with several pros and cons. You can boil them before serving to minimize the risk of salmonella and other food poisoning concerns.

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    The raw bones can be further classified into two types:

    • Recreational raw bones- These can be a natural source of calcium and phosphorus and are available at stores. Recreational bone toys come from turkey, lamb, beef, or even oxtail because they are strong and extremely hard to shatter. However, it is still essential to monitor the condition of the raw bone you give your dog to make sure no parts are chipping off.
    • Nutritional dog bones- These are small and brittle and can be easily grounded up into fine dust. After grounding, you can add to your dog’s meal to supplement calcium and phosphorus intake.

    bones for dogs

    It is recommended to grind the bone in a meat grinder to avoid any oversized pieces. If you plan on giving an entire bone to your pup to chew on, consider following the mentioned points.

    Pitfalls of Feeding Wrong Bones To Your Dogs

    Your sneaky, little pup might often steal a bone of a plate or counter. However, you need to be careful. Offering any kind of bone that is not meant for your pup can impose many dangers. Besides this, chewing bones can also turn out to be very risky if you choose the wrong bone to feed to your dogs.

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    • Never feed cooked bones as they can be easily splintered and cause choking. They are hard enough to break your pet’s tooth.
    • Do not feed long bones to aggressive chewers as they can tear off a lot of cartilage from it. This can even lead to blockage or enema.
    • Dogs who eat more bones than usual can suffer from loose stools as the bones are rich in marrow.
    • Eating a larger amount of bones can cause constipation. You might notice white or yellowish, powdery stools, or even yellow, runny stools.
    • Bones from older animals contain toxins and pollutants that can be harmful to your pet’s health.

    Visible Symptoms of Eating A Bad Bone

    There are a few telltale symptoms your dogs will show if they eat a bad/harmful bone. These are usually caused by stress in their gastrointestinal tracts.

    • Diarrhea
    • Blood in stools
    • Vomiting
    • Rectum bleeding
    • Cuts in the mouth

    In case you notice any of the following symptoms recently after your pup has chewed a bone, connect with your vet immediately.

    Do’s and Dont's of Feeding Bones

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    Do’s:

    • Supervise your dog when you feed them a bone
    • Offer raw meat bones
    • Take the bone away after 10-15 minutes
    • Dispose of the bone after 3-4 days
    • Give large breeds, large bones to munch

    Don'ts:

    • Don’t give any cooked bones
    • Don’t let your pup chomp the bone into smaller pieces
    • Avoid giving bone chunks that can cause blockage or choking
    • Don’t give a bone to your dog if they have stomach related issues
    • Check the bone you are feeding with your vet

    Summing It Up!

    Dogs love to gnaw on bones. However, keeping an eye on what kind of bone they chew is your responsibility. While bones are your pooch’s favorite choice, you can even opt for tough chewy toys to keep them safe like bully sticks, fake bones, or antlers.

    You can buy the bones from grocery stores, pet food stores, ethnic markets, or from a butcher. Any bone when chewed into small pieces, can cause a choking hazard. So, you should always supervise your dog while they are chewing a bone and grab it away once it’s worn down to a smaller and swallowable size. Also, if you see any side effects of feeding bones to your dog, you should consult the vet.

    Although chewing bones can have some nutritional benefits over your dog’s health, you should avoid feeding any. Covering the required nutritional value with only good food is a better choice.