Is it OK to give my dog bones to chew?
Giving your dog bones to chew on has positive and negative points. Dogs just LOVE to chew on them, but they can be dangerous and your dog MUST be supervised while chewing .
* Good source of nutrients and minerals
* Chewing stimulates saliva enzymes and helps prevent plaque buildup on teeth
* Chewing provides mental stimulation
* Chewing bones helps prevent dogs from chewing inappropriate things (like the couch!)
* Bones can splinter into small pieces and cause damage to the mouth, throat, stomach or intestines.
* Small pieces of bones are a choking hazard
* Bones can cause bleeding of the mouth, stomach or intestines.
* Bones can cause blockage of the stomach or intestines and require emergency surgery to remove
* Bone marrow is very rich and can cause pancreatitis (vomiting, poor appetite, diarrhea, abdominal pain)
* Danger of food poisoning from raw bones
* Chewing bones can cause teeth to fracture, be painful and require the tooth to be pulled
* Bones can cause constipation
What types of bones should be avoided?
* Cooked, baked, boiled or steamed bones (more likeley to splinter, and nutrients are removed)
* Poultry bones
* Rib bones
* Pork bones
* T bones from steaks
* Bones cut into a circle shape with marrow inside (can get looped around dogs lower jaw, requiring anesthesia to remove)
* Any cut bones
What types of bones are OK ?
* Raw bones
* Bones that are larger than the dogs muzzle
* Knuckle bones (large)
Where can I get bones for my dog?
* Butcher shops
* Grocery store meat departments sell "soup bones" that can be given to dogs
Bone safety tips
* ALWAYS SUPERVISE YOUR DOG WHILE CHEWING BONES. TAKE THE BONE AWAY IF IT STARTS TO GET SMALL AND PRESENTS A CHOKING HAZARD. TAKE THE BONE AWAY IF THE DOGS MOUTH STARTS TO BLEED.
* Freeze raw bones and thaw prior to feeding
* Make your dog chew on the bone in a crate. Bones can get gooey and messy
* Offer the bone after a meal. Your dog will be less likely to try to eat large pieces
* Take the bone away after 15 minutes of chew time
* Store the bone in the refrigerator
* Discard the bone after 3-4 days to prevent food poisoning
* DO NOT offer your dog raw marrow bones if they have a history of pancreatitis
* Separate dogs in multi-dog households when chewing bones to prevent fights
Alternatives to bones (safer)
* Bully sticks
* Honest Kitchen Beams
* Smart Bones
* Dream Bones
* Himalayan Dog Chews
What about Rawhide chews?
* Rawhide chews are made with many chemicals, including bleach, artificial colors, sodium benzoate, chemical preservatives and glue to hold the ends together. I do not recommend them.
What about naturally shed antlers?
* Antlers are incredibly hard and can fracture teeth. Do not offer them to your dog if they are aggressive chewers.
Questions? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (630) 859-0471.
Fox Ridge Veterinary Clinic
Your pet's family doctor
- Since 1994
Judy L. McBeth DVM, CVA