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What bones can dogs eat?

Bones can be an enriching treat for your dog. Chewing can relieve boredom, anxiety and stress, and helps keep your dog's teeth clean. However, bones can be also harmful to dogs. Today, our Tucson vets explain.

Are bones good for dogs?

Yes is the most frequent response. Bones satisfy your dog's appetite while also supplying minerals and other nutrients. Chewing increases salivary enzyme production, preventing plaque accumulation and gum disease. Additionally, a dog who is chewing on a dog bone is less likely to overly lick or scratch his paws.

So can you give a dog a bone?

A better question to ask is "should dogs chew 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.

This is due to the possibility of injury and even death from splinters in your dog's mouth and digestive tract from both raw and cooked bones (although this is more common with cooked bones). The following are some effects of a dog chewing on raw or cooked bones.

  • Lacerations or punctures to the gums and tongue
  • 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

What bones are not safe for dogs?

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 dogs?

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 thought of as a "safe" bone option, but there are still dangers. Still susceptible to tooth decay, gum irritation, and bone splinters is your dog. Constipation can result from over-chewing the bone. After a few hours, the bone should be thrown out after being chilled before use.

General Rules for Bone Safety

If you are considering giving your dog a bone, here are some general safety rules to follow:

Do:
  • Serve raw meat bones.
  • After 10 to 15 minutes, remove the bone from your dog and place it in the refrigerator.
  • After three or four days, discard the bone.
  • Give large bones to large breeds like German Shepherd Dogs, Bloodhounds, and Mastiffs.
  • 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 to chew on.

Are you still wondering what kinds of bones are safe for your dog to chew? Contact our Tucson vets today and we'd be happy to answer any questions you have.

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