Giving the Dog a Bone

Posted by Dr Claire Jenkins on Jul 25, 2016 11:26:55 AM
Dr Claire Jenkins

To give a bone, or not to give a bone? 

The debate over this is actually still raging on. You see, if you ask five different veterinarians about their recommendation when it comes to feeding dog’s bones, you are quite likely to get differing accounts!

The basic reason for no uniform recommendation is that it differs with each individual pet. Whether or not you at feed your mate bones as part of their diet is 100% in your control, so it’s important that you make an informed decision and study the following:

Positives of feeding bones

  1. Improved dental health – chewing a bone really does help clean the teeth and reduce gingivitis and tartar (which unfortunately is such a common problem for our canine companions). Daily tooth brushing is a great and affective alternative to this.
  2. Mental stimulation – a great way to entertain your pet and alleviate boredom. Certainly not the only way, but a good way nonetheless.

Negatives of feeding bones

  1. Fractured teeth (chewing at hard bones really does this, it’s common, it’s painful, and often leads to tooth root abscesses requiring tooth removal under a general anaesthetic).
  2. Upset tummy – mainly with spoiled bones or a meaty bone left out for some time.
  3. Weight gain – marrow bones have a very high fat content and can lead to obesity or can trigger pancreatitis.
  4. Get stuck- bones can lodge anywhere- across the roof of the mouth, in the oesophagus on the way to the tummy, in the tummy and anywhere in the intestines after that.
  5. Constipation.
  6. Behavioural issues-  aggression between dogs or towards kids/adults in the presence of bones.

If you’ve decided to risk the negatives and choose to feed your pooch bones, there are ways you can reduce (but not eliminate) adverse affects.

Pay homage to these rules

  1. Monitor your pet the WHOLE time they have a bone. This way you can seek veterinary help as soon as an issue arises.
  2. Bones must be fresh, straight from the fridge and have no offensive smell.
  3. Throw away the bone within a couple of hours of use.
  4. Always RAW, never cooked. Cooking bone changes it’s structure and makes them more easily splinter.
  5. Choose SOFT bones that are less likely to break the teeth. No marrow bones etc.
  6. Trim excess fat.
  7. Choose size appropriate bones for your pooch, i.e. don’t feed a huge bone to a tiny dog.

Want help? Chat with our vets

Our experienced Aussie vets are online between 6am-11pm daily, so let’s get an action plan in place for your fur kid. Get an appointment for a video consult or start a chat within minutes. 

Topics: bones, Diet, Health