Most people would think that dogs and bones go together like peanut butter and jelly but this isn’t actually the case. There are bones that are perfectly safe for dogs to chew and eat, while others may injure the dog’s mouth. Luckily, we can provide the answer to your question “What bones are safe for puppies?”
What are Bones Used For?
You may have heard that dogs should be chewing on bones, but you may have also learned from other sources that bones aren’t safe for puppies. When there’s a lot of contradicting information going around, it’s imperative that you sort out fact from fiction. This includes the risks and health benefits that come with feeding your dog different types of bones.
Bones are meant to be used for recreational purposes rather than for food. In general, raw bones from livestock are safe for your dog to chew. However, be sure to steer clear of small pieces of cooked bone because they can become a choking hazard. How and when you give bones to your dog also matters; read on for more details.
What Bones are Safe for Puppies?
Experts encourage dog owners to look for raw venison, bison, or beef bones from their local butcher shops. Other acceptable bones include the feet, tails, femurs, and ribs — if your local butcher doesn’t supply these, you may look for them in the frozen food section or meat counter at the supermarket. Veterinarians also recommend sourcing large pieces of bones to avoid potential choking hazards.
While there’s no such thing as a bone that’s too big, there are bones with smaller pieces that may get lodged or stuck in the throat if swallowed by a dog. Getting a bone stuck in the wrong place could lead to a lot of pain, infections, and potential surgery. While it might seem scary to give hard bones to your dogs, they actually provide a wide range of nutritional benefits.
Most of the time, raw bones that haven’t been cooked are safe for puppies. Raw lamb, chicken, turkey, and beef bones should be soft enough for your pup to eat, chew, and digest. Even so, there’s always a risk of intestinal blockages when it comes to any kind of bone.
If your furry friend fails to solid bones a good chew, then it could cause damage to your dog’s teeth. Recreational bones weren’t designed to be eaten but should be used as chew treats. These should include beef or bison hip bones as well as marrow bones and can have cartilage, soft tissue, or meat still attached.
Just remember that bone marrow is high in fat, so be sure to adjust your pup’s diet to balance the increase in fat. If your canine companion is on a low-fat diet, then it may not be a good idea to give them to your dog. Again, it’s important to understand that there will always be risks to giving raw meaty bones, but as long as you follow these safety guidelines your dog should be able to enjoy them.
Another thing to think about is that meat and bones will always have the risk for bacterial contamination, but can be reduced through proper handling and storage. To prevent bacterial growth, be sure to purchase the bones frozen, and keep them in the freezer until you need to thaw them out — frozen bones could lead to cracked teeth. Make sure that they don’t bury bones in your backyard since they can go back to this spot much later when bacteria has started growing.
Bones that are Not Safe for Puppies
If your pup is new to eating bones or has a sensitive intestinal tract, you may want to remove bone marrow before giving them natural bones. This single ingredient is very rich in fatty acids — while some dogs will have a digestive tract that can handle it, others may have diarrhea or start vomiting. As such, experts advise against feeding any bones to a dog with a sensitive digestive system.
You should never feed cooked bones because they’re not safe for puppies — these are brittle and can leave bone fragments. They may cause damage to your dog’s stomach or become an intestinal obstruction. Cooked bones refer to any bone that has been through a cooking process such as baked, smoked, or boiled.
Moreover, pork bones, turkey bones, and chicken bones will almost certainly be too small to improve your dog’s dental health. It’s not a good idea to let your dog chew on chicken wings because it could end up getting lodged in its throat. If they’re big enough, you may use beef or lamb bones or stick to bully sticks or other dog chews.
While it could be dangerous to provide your dog with a bone, being well-informed and following simple rules can help this experience become safe for puppies. That said, it’s best to discuss this process with your vet first to ensure everything will be done as safely as possible.
The Health Benefits of Bones
When it comes to dogs, chewing is an important and natural behavior that can’t be avoided. Some dogs are aggressive chewers, so providing them with chew toys is the best possible solution. However, recreational bones will serve as floss and brush for dogs’ adult teeth, slow tartar buildup, reduce gum disease, and help to clean teeth.
Research has shown that having dogs chew on raw bones can drastically reduce plaque buildup in just a matter of days. This practice also provides them with mental stimulation for a long time. Moreover, raw bones are a great source of rich nutrients like phosphorus, calcium, and many more minerals.
These nutrients aid in the development of the digestive system helps to strengthen the stomach, prevent bloat, prevent anal gland problems, and encourages healthy bowel movements. While you can’t use bones to replace a meal or snack time, they can be used as great dog treats for a mineral boost on special occasions. Chewing also helps to stimulate the production of saliva enzymes — dogs are also less likely to lick or scratch their paws when they chew.
Finally, chewing on both synthetic bones and real bones can help to reduce anxiety, which has been linked to heart disease and high blood pressure — as long as it’s an edible bone. Keep in mind that gnawing on a real bone has always been part of the canine instinct, so be sure to let your pup indulge in this every once in a while. But if your dog suffers from a small throat, stomach issues, or soft teeth, then feeding them whole bones could pose more risks than benefits.
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about whether bones are safe for puppies.
What is the Best Bone for Dogs to Chew?
According to many experts, the best bones to give your dog are knucklebones from beef, venison, or bison, preferably large with the tissue or cartilage still attached. These will be big enough and safe to consume — allow your dog to chew on them for about 10 to 15 minutes, and then safely place them in the fridge. Allowing your dog to chew too many raw bones may lead to stomach aches or constipation.
A safe amount of chew time is twice every week.
Can Dogs Eat Beef Rib Bones?
When it comes to rib bones, you may want to keep them away from your fur babies. Experts believe that pet owners should always compare the size of the bone to the size of their dog’s head. Should the bone fit entirely inside your dog’s mouth, then it’s not safe for them to chew it. If the rib bones are big and don’t seem to be a choking hazard, and it isn’t cooked, then it should be fine to chew on.
Can I Feed My Dog Rawhides?
Rawhide bones can cause similar conditions as store-bought treats at times. The manufacturing process for these bones may leave them with small amounts of toxic chemicals, which may carry traces of E. Coli or Salmonella. Furthermore, these chews could cause digestion problems and blockages.
When looking for rawhides, be sure to look for natural ingredients and avoid those with artificial flavors. The best dog bones will also avoid the use of gelatin and other additives that could be toxic and cancer-causing. Be sure to avoid these kinds of dog treats and dental chews.
If you’re looking for a bone for your dog to chew or eat, be sure to follow the simple rules below to ensure they can enjoy their bones safely.
Always supervise their chewing and don’t leave your dog to chew on bones alone. Some dogs may chew aggressively, which can lead to injury or may even choke them.
Throw out any gnawed-down bones; if your dog chews a bone to its most brittle parts, then splintering can become a problem. Moreover, bones that have been chewed down to small bones can become a choking hazard.
Don’t give dogs with restorative dental work any kind of bone because these dogs will be at a bigger risk of dental problems and tooth breakage.
Don’t give bone marrow to dogs with pancreatitis — marrow contains high levels of fat and may cause diarrhea or flare-ups.
Don’t give bones to a dog who will want to bite it in half to swallow big chunks. You should observe your dog and see how it feeds — if it tends to swallow food quickly and skips chewing, then bones could present a risk.
Give out bones after meal time — the less hungry your dog is, the less likely it will be to quickly chew and swallow bones.
Don’t give your dog a bone that it can swallow whole — small puppies shouldn’t be given tiny fish or chicken bones.
Look for bones that are bigger than the length of their muzzle, which will make it hard for them to swallow.
Don’t use bones that have been cut lengthwise — for example, a cut leg bone is much more likely to splinter.
Don’t give your pups rib or pork bones because these are also more vulnerable to splintering.
Your dogs should only be given bones to chew for up to 15 minutes per session. Doing this will reduce their chances of getting injured.
Always refrigerate bones when they’re not being chewed on and throw them out after three or four days. Doing this will ensure that bones stay as fresh as possible.
Is Giving a Bone to My Dog Worth it?
Many veterinarians will disagree on the answer as to whether or not the health benefits of giving bones to our dogs outweigh the risks. However, the choice will ultimately boil down to our preferences as pet parents. Some people will grind up bones to be sprinkled on food as a powder, which can provide the minerals and nutrients that bones have to offer without the risk of choking and other complications.
However, doing this will eliminate the benefits of chewing and will provide no dental care whatsoever. When looking into the pros and cons of bones, be sure to do your own research and speak to your veterinarian about your concerns before giving your dog any kind of bone.
So, are Bones Safe for Puppies?
The short answer is yes, bones are safe for puppies and can also be beneficial for their health but chewing sessions should always be supervised. You should never leave your pup alone while chewing and even when you do your due diligence, know that something may still happen and it should be addressed immediately. Always check with your veterinarian if you’re unsure about giving your dog a bone —- they will know your pet well enough to know the best chewing experience for your puppies.