Lets face it, dogs love bones, they always have and always will. But, could they spell disaster for your best friend?
Are bones a delicious treat or a deadly snack?There is a difference of opinion among canine experts as to whether bones should be given to a dog raw, cooked, hard, or soft, and even whether they should be given at all. On one point, however, there is total agreement, never give a dog splintering bones from chicken, pork, fowl, and rabbit, (although chicken bones that have been cooked in a pressure cooker until they are very soft can be quite nourishing and safe).
A marrow bone is the traditional symbol of a treat for a dog, and he obviously appreciates it. It may be too big and hard for small dogs. In fact, large breeds generally handle bones much better than small ones. Bones that are mostly cartilage, such as spinal and shoulder bones of veal, knuckle bones, and soft rib bones, are good chewing material that can be entirely consumed.
Serious concerns for dogs and their bones.
There are some serious concerns you need to watch for when giving your dog a bone. A dog can break a tooth on a bone, thus, causing expensive surgery. They can get a mouth injury, kind of like when we bite the sides of our tongue or insides of our mouth. Believe it or not, a bone can get wrapped around a dog’s lower jaw. I’ve had it happen to my daughter’s dog. She became extremely scared but we got it off carefully. She no longer gets the round bones.
Did you know a bone can get caught in a dog’s esophagus? I’ve seen that happen to my neighbor’s dog. He was trying to eat the bone too fast and just swallowed it. The problem was, it was too long. We actually had to gently pull it out! It was scary for all of us!! Constipation due to bone fragments. Your dog may have a hard time passing the bone fragments because they’re very sharp and they scrape the inside of the large intestine or rectum as they move along. This causes severe pain and may require a visit to your veterinarian.
The real danger with dogs and bones
The real danger is intestinal compaction, especially in small dogs, if the masticated bone has not been mixed with other residue in the dog’s stomach. A small amount should cause no trouble if it is given right after a meal. Chop and steak bones are more dangerous. Careful eaters simply clean off the meat and fat, but greedy gobblers run the risk of internal injury from jagged bone splinters. The same is true of a leg of lamb bone. They may also get constipation due to bone fragments. Your dog may have a hard time passing the bone fragments because they’re very sharp and they scrape the inside of the large intestine or rectum as they move along. This causes severe pain and may require a visit to your veterinarian.
Peritonitis is a nasty, difficult-to-treat bacterial infection of the abdomen and is caused when bone fragments poke holes in your dog’s stomach or intestines. Your dog needs an emergency visit to your veterinarian as peritonitis can kill your dog.
Are there any good reasons to give a dog a bone
There are some good things about giving bones to dogs though. Dogs and bones have gone hand in hand (or paw in paw) together forever! They are a natural source of calcium, they help scrape away tartar and plaque build-up through chewing action, they contain no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives and they are durable, flavorful, and long-lasting.
What is the best policy to follow with a dog of your own? A teething puppy between four and six months of age should always have a bone, real or imitation, to chew on. You might give an adult dog a suitable bone as on occasional treat – for example, once a week. It will give him enormous pleasure, will help to keep his teeth clean and free from tartar, and will occupy him for several hours. But a nylon bone offers the same advantages without the risk!
Cooked bones are a dangerous snack.
They become brittle and easily break into sharp shards that can do a lot of damage when they pass through the gastrointestinal tract. Never feed your dog cooked bones. Raw bones are generally safer than cooked, If you want to give your dog a bone because chewing provides mental stimulation and can help keep the teeth clean, then I recommend picking a raw bone that is approximately the size of your dog’s head. Bones of this size will allow your dog to gnaw while helping to reduce the chances that your dog will break off and swallow a chunk of bone that can cause health problems.
Chew treats. You’ve probably given dozens of them to your dog and they love them. They clean their teeth and keep them occupied for hours. Its a perfectly harmless canine treat right? Wrong. Chew treats can harm or even kill your dog. If you are concerned about your dogs health read on.
Now let’s discuss chew treats
Why are chew treats dangerous?
The two most popular kind of edible chew treats are those made of rawhide and those made from compressed vegetable protein. When your dog chews these treats, they may swallow large pieces of them. These pieces of chew treat cannot be digested by your pet and they can become lodged in their intestines. Intestinal blockages can kill your dog in hours. They can cause a condition called intestinal strangulation which is when blood flow is cut off to the intestines. The intestinal tissue then begins to die and rot. My dogs sometimes swallow entire chunks at a time, and since they’re largely indigestible, these can get stuck in a dog’s throat (I’ve pulled many out) and intestinal track. My dog enjoyed rawhide chews until he had to pass a few sharp pieces. They passed right before he was due for a trip to the emergency vet and it was a painful process for him and terrifying for me.
How do I know if my dog has a blockage?
If your dog has a blockage, you may see some of the following symptoms. They may vomit, refuse to eat, regurgitate food, have diarrhea or abdominal pain. If your dog has any of these symptoms, you should consult a veterinarian as soon as possible. If they get a blockage, it will not clear itself. They will require surgery.
Should I stop giving my dog chew treats?
You do not have to stop giving your dog chew treats altogether. You should however monitor the use of these treats. When you can not be around your pet, take the treats away. When your dog has worn the treats down into small pieces, replace them.
Remember, as a pet owner it is your responsibility to look after your dog’s health. We all love out pets and it would be a shame to lose them over something as simple as a chew treat. So keep a watchful eye on your pet and help them live a long and happy life.
My dog needs something to chew!!!
1-Carrots! My dog loves carrots! They are healthy, easy to chew and digestible!
2-frozen broccoli! Another healthy, digestible favorite!
3-But neither of these give the same chew satisfaction as a bone. So now I use Bully Sticks. Some people believe that bully sticks are no better than rawhide chews, but I disagree. My dogs love these, and I buy them in bulk. They smell awful, even the ones that are “low odor” bully sticks.
Bully sticks can be expensive. We have discovered a great source of quality bully sticks; Yep, they still smell, but for the price and the joy it gives our dogs (and the quiet time for the humans), the smell is worth it. My favorites are the Monster bully sticks: You can buy them on amazon or chewy. Read this review on bully sticks. You can read more about bully sticks here.
Be safe with your dogs and monitor as they snack! For another good read on dog aggression, click here to read another post.