Cartoons and fictional movies always say that it’s okay for dogs to eat bones. In fact, dogs eating bones is a similar stereotype to cats drinking milk. But is that idea true? Your dog will surely gnaw on any bone you give them, but is it a good idea to serve bones in the first place? Like all human foods, it’s important to do your research before serving your dog these unusual items. So, can dogs eat bones?
Can Dogs Eat Bones?
Yes, dogs can eat bones, but it greatly depends on what type of bones they are and how they’re prepared. If you give your dog a bone, it should always be raw. Cooked bones might seem healthier, but they can easily splinter, causing a choking hazard or scratching your dog’s insides. So, while you might have leftover chicken or turkey bones after a large meal, you should never give cooked bones to your dog.
Bones That Are Safe for Dogs
Most raw bones are safe for dogs in small amounts. Raw chicken, turkey, lamb, and beef bones are safe because they’re soft enough for dogs to chew, making them easy to digest without causing any internal damage.
Any raw bone you serve your dog should be big enough that they can’t choke on it. To ensure that a bone is safe for your dog, you should keep an eye on them as they eat it. Once the bone gets small enough to become a choking hazard, take it away from them just to be safe.
No matter how safe the bone is, you should only let your dog chew on it for 10 to 15 minutes at once. Then, give them a break and store the bone in the refrigerator as needed. Refrigerated bones should only be kept for 3 to 4 days, and then they should be disposed of.
Bones That Are Dangerous for Dogs
Any bones that are cooked are hazardous for dogs. However, there are some types of bones that are always unsafe for your furry friends. Smaller bones, such as pork rib bones, should never be served to dogs. Even when raw, these bones are small and splinter easily. So, you should only give your dog raw bones that are too big for them to swallow whole. It’s safest for dogs to gnaw on full bones as opposed to small chunks of bone.
If your dog often has stomach problems, it’s best to avoid bones altogether. Bone marrow is typically high in fat, so it could cause diarrhea or other digestive problems for some dogs. When serving bones to your dog, it’s also a good idea to never cut them lengthwise. Bones cut that way are more likely to splinter.
Most vets recommend that you only give your dog about one raw bone a week at most. More than that could potentially cause problems even for healthy dogs. If possible, it’s also recommended that you keep your dog away from other dogs when they’re chewing on a bone. Some dogs exhibit territorial behaviors when munching on a delicious bone or chew.
Are There Any Health Benefits of Bones for Dogs?
With proper servings, bones can be healthy for dogs. They’re an excellent source of minerals like calcium and phosphorus, which can strengthen stomach muscles, prevent bloat, and promote healthy bowel movements.
Chewing on bones is also good for your dog’s teeth. Bones can help break down tartar, which helps clean your dog’s teeth and reduces gum disease. Bones are also known to help dogs fight boredom or anxiety. Chewing on a bone makes them less likely to chew on their feet or other body parts. It’s often a calming activity for dogs, which means it could help lower their blood pressure and lessen their risk of heart disease.
Dog-Friendly Bone Alternatives
Bones aren’t the only type of chew that can benefit dogs. There are plenty of dog-friendly chews that can be healthy and tasty treats for your pup. Visit your local pet supply store to see what natural chews they offer. Many of them are made straight from the real parts of an animal. It might sound gross to you, but your dog is sure to find them tasty.
Here are some healthy alternatives to bones for dogs:
- Bully sticks
- Chicken feet
- Cow ears
- Fish skin sticks
- Himalayan yak chews
- Trachea chews
Some dog parents assume rawhide is another alternative because it’s so popular, but rawhide is actually riskier than bones. Rawhide is difficult for dogs to digest, so it can become a blockage or choking risk. So, if your dog eats rawhide, consider switching to raw bones or any of the above options.
Also, even though these alternatives are healthy, it’s best to keep monitoring your dog while they chew on them. If your dog chews the pieces of anything too small, it could be dangerous for them. So, don’t let your dog chew on anything when you’re not around.
The stereotype of dogs eating bones isn’t completely false. After all, dogs can eat bones and they’ll likely enjoy eating them too. But always be careful with the types of bones you feed them. Large, raw bones are often the way to go. However, if you’re ever concerned about the safety of bones for dogs, why not try a different chew instead? Most dogs prefer some variety anyway.