Beef bones (e.g. ribs)
Dogs can damage their teeth by chewing on raw bones such as ribs. Furthermore, cooked bones commonly splinter into fragments after being swallowed. These fragments can cause choking, puncture their tummies, or cause gut blockages.
As responsible pet parents, we always want to provide the best for our dogs, including a balanced and nutritious diet. Some parents might consider bones as part of their pup’s diet. But can dogs actually eat bones? Yes and no.
Dogs are naturally carnivorous, and in the wild, they would consume bones as part of their diet. Bones can provide essential nutrients, dental benefits, and mental stimulation for our canine companions. However, not all bones are safe for dogs, and precautions must be taken to avoid potential hazards.
Below, we’ll explore the risks and benefits of giving bones to dogs, both cooked and raw, and provide essential guidelines to ensure your canine friend’s safety and well-being.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Bones?
“When you cook bones, you weaken the bone, allowing for splintering,” says Meaghan Thomas, DVM from East Ridge Animal Hospital. She explains these shards can severely damage your dog’s GI tract. Certain animal bones, such as chicken and fish, tend to splinter more easily than others, increasing the risk to dogs.
If a dog eats a cooked bone, it could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days for symptoms to appear. Common signs of bone ingestion include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and reluctance to eat.
If you suspect that your dog has ingested a cooked bone or notice any concerning symptoms, Dr. Thomas advises calling a vet and explaining the symptoms. “Sometimes, surgical intervention may be required,” she says. “Other times, medical management may suffice. But a veterinarian should be involved in helping you make that decision.”
Even though most pet parents know not to give their dogs cooked bones, dogs have a talent for getting hold of things they shouldn’t. To prevent your pup from rummaging through the trash and finding discarded bones, be vigilant and keep cooked bones out of their reach.
Are Raw Bones Safe For Dogs?
Raw bones are generally safer for dogs to consume. They are softer and less likely to splinter, reducing the risk of choking or internal injuries. However, this doesn’t mean all raw bones are safe. Safe raw bones for dogs come from animals such as beef, lamb, and venison. Raw bones from these animals can provide dental benefits by helping to clean teeth and massage gums. Additionally, raw bones offer mental stimulation, satisfying a dog’s natural instinct to chew.
While raw bones can be beneficial, there are some types that should be completely avoided. Bones from small animals like chickens and rabbits can be hazardous due to their small size and tendency to splinter. Furthermore, certain bones within an animal’s body, such as rib bones, are more likely to splinter and should be avoided.
Lastly, consider the size of the bone in relation to your dog’s breed. Larger breeds may handle larger bones better, but all dogs should be supervised while chewing on bones to reduce the risk of choking or ingestion of large bone fragments.
How To Safely Buy, Store & Dispose of Bones
To minimize risks associated with bones, take appropriate measures when preparing, storing, and disposing of them. When purchasing animal bones, consider buying fresh and locally sourced bones from reputable butchers or pet shops. This reduces the risk of sanitary problems associated with improperly handled or processed bones. Avoid buying processed bone treats and opt for whole, raw bones instead.
Additionally, choose bones proportionate to your dog’s size, avoiding small bones for large breeds and vice versa. Always supervise your dog while they chew on a bone, and promptly remove the bone if it becomes too small or splinters.
If you decide to prepare raw bones at home, always handle them with clean hands and avoid cross-contamination. Store raw bones in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent bacterial growth and ensure they are not left out too long.
Beef bones (e.g. ribs) Dogs can damage their teeth by chewing on raw bones such as ribs. Furthermore, cooked bones commonly splinter into fragments after being swallowed. These fragments can cause choking, puncture their tummies, or cause gut blockages.
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