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Dog Bone Safety: Can Dogs Eat Bones?

Dog Bone Safety: Can Dogs Eat Bones?

When it comes to keeping your dog's teeth clean and helping to manage boredom, bones are able to accomplish both of these. However, there are some bones that are also harmful to dogs. Today, our Rockland County vets share some of the bones that are beneficial and which bones your dog can and can't eat safely.

We see it everywhere but can dogs actually eat bones?

Oftentimes, the answer is yes. Bones provide minerals and other nutrients while also satisfying your dog's appetite. Chewing stimulates saliva enzymes, which aids in the prevention of plaque buildup and gum disease. And a dog chewing on a dog bone is less likely to scratch or lick his paws excessively.

Should I allow my dog to chew bones?

This comes back to the common saying 'Give a dog a bone.' We have been taught through all types of media that we should give our dogs bones, but there is never any mention of the concerns with dogs eating bones.

In general, raw bones tend to be better for dogs than cooked bones. So if you ever wondered "Are cooked bones bad for dogs?" the answer is yes, but again, in general.

That's because raw and cooked bones can both cause splinters in your dog's mouth and digestive tract, resulting in injury and even death (although this is more common with cooked bones). Here are some of the consequences of a dog chewing on raw or cooked bones.

    • Lacerations or punctures in the mouth
    • Cuts and wounds to the throat
    • Damaged or broken teeth
    • Choking
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Severe constipation
    • Intestinal blockage
    • Perforation of the intestines
    • Rectal trauma and bleeding

Are there any bones that my dogs should not chew on?

There are certain bones that you should never let your dog eat as they could result in a veterinary emergency. Some of these bones are:

Cooked Chicken and Turkey Bones: These bones are most likely to splinter. Small bones are also more prone to getting lodged in the throat and esophagus than larger, more solid bones.

T-Bones: T-bones, due to their shape, can become stuck in a dog's throat while the other end is down the esophagus or trachea. This can lead to severe swelling that can block the airway, preventing your dog from breathing.

Small Bones and Circular Bones: Giving any bone that is smaller than your dog's mouth or easily splinters is risky. Both can result in choking hazards as well as trauma to the mouth and intestinal tract. Circular bones are also unfavorable because they can become lodged in the lower jaw of a dog. Dogs are terrified of this, and cutting the bone to free the dog's jaw usually necessitates sedation.

What bones are safe for my dog to eat?

Generally, you want to get raw bones from a reputable butcher large enough to be easily grasped and about the size of your dog's head. It should also have bulges or lumps on both ends.

Raw bones are considered a "safe" bone option, but there are still risks. Your dog can still break a tooth, cut his or her gums, or get a bone splinter. Excessive chewing on the bone can cause constipation.

Because these are bones from animals with previously living tissue, you should be sure to keep these bones refrigerated when not being chewed on.

Bone Eating Safety For Dogs

Here are some of the rules that you should follow if you have decided you'll let your dog eat bones:

    • Serve raw meat bones.
    • After 10 to 15 minutes, place the bone in the refrigerator.
    • After three or four days, discard the bone.
    • Give large bones to large breeds.
    • When you give your dog a bone, keep an eye on him.
    • Be an educated consumer
Do Not:
    • Give your dog the wrong type of bone.
    • Don't give your dog cooked bones of any kind.
    • Allow your dog to chew any type of bone into small pieces.
    • Don't give your dog a bone if he has stomach problems.
    • If another dog is visiting, don't give your dog a bone.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you have more questions about bones that dogs can chew and bone safety? Contact our Rockland County vets today.

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At Rockland Veterinary we are passionate about animals and enjoy helping cats and dogs feel well. Contact our vets in Hudson Valley, North Rockland or Pomona today to schedule your furry companion's first appointment!