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Does your doggo love a bone?  How can you tell which bones are ok to feed to your dog?

Whether your dog is eating a raw diet or not everyone can appreciate the satisfaction a bone can provide for a canine.  There are many sized and shaped bones available so let’s discuss some to determine which would suit a pet best.

Bones are important for a dog’s dental and skeletal health.  They are commonly found ground down and added to raw food diets. If feeding bones directly they can be divided into two categories, consumable and non-consumable.

Consumable bones are ok to be fully eaten by a cat or dog.  Many of these are from the spine e.g. chicken, turkey and lamb necks. Poultry carcasses and wingettes can also be completely devoured.
Joint bones such as knuckles fall under this category too however if they include a portion of fumur (or long weight bearing bones) they should only be fed to dogs which are experienced with eating bones.  Non-consumable bones such as femurs or ribs are given more as an enjoyment type bone for short period enjoyment.  Not all dogs can deal with this type.  Dogs that have not been on a raw diet have a differing biome in their gut.  In every case it is best to have any new foods introduced gradually. Bones also should be size-appropriate. Your dog’s breed will help you decide which bones are most suitable.  Bones should not be small enough that they can be gulped down in one go and large enough that they need to be chewed down into smaller pieces in order to be swallowed.

It also depends on what type of chewer your dog is.  The shape of the bone can be chosen depending on your dog’s snout shape. Let us just imagine you have a Pug or other short snouted breed.  They would be better off with either medium knuckle-bones or poultry wings.  Larger breeds with extreme bite strength are more likely to cope with a long weight-bearing bone but a voracious eater can sometimes chew to the point of fracturing a tooth.  In saying that, one of the major benefits of bone-chewing is that the teeth get cleaned with the action.  Nutritious marrow can be pushed out by the human for a dog to enjoy and femurs shouldn’t be left lying about or allowed to be buried.  The reason for this is that they can become more brittle over time similar to cooked bones. Once the dog has had a decent chew session, discard the remainder in a bin to which your dog does not have access.

Constipation or impaction can be caused by eating too much bone and beware that cooked bones have been responsible for both impaction and even perforation of the gut due to their capacity to splinter.

Please note that this is only a guide and not all dogs are suited to consuming bones. Bones must be raw and monitor your dog if bones are being chewed.  Discuss your canine’s dietary requirements with your veterinarian.         

Leah & Angela OMeara

Hound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Care Brisbane)