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Dog Bone Safety: Can Dogs Eat Bones?

Did you know that not all bones are safe for your furry companion to chew on? While many people commonly believe that dogs can chew on any bone, dog owners must understand the safety concerns surrounding bone chewing. In this article, our veterinarians in Orlando will discuss which bones are safe for your dog to eat and which ones to avoid.

Are bones good for dogs?

Usually, it's a good idea to let your dog chew on bones. Bones not only give your dog important minerals and nutrients but also help keep their teeth clean and reduce the chance of them scratching or licking their paws too much.

Can you give a dog a bone?

A better question to ask is, "Should dogs chew bones?"

Generally, raw bones are 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.

That's because raw and cooked bones can both cause splinters in your dog's mouth and digestive tract, resulting in injury and even death (although this is more common with cooked bones). Here are some of the consequences 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

Why Your Dog Should Eat Bones

Chewing is a natural method of stimulation for dogs, which can help them maintain their oral health and curb unwanted behaviors.

Dental Health - Allowing your dog to chew on bones can promote their oral health by helping to remove plaque and tartar buildup, which, in turn, can prevent gum disease and lead to healthier teeth. The abrasive action of chewing on bones can act as a natural toothbrush for your furry friend.

Mental Stimulation - Chewing bones is a natural and instinctive activity for dogs that can prevent them from becoming bored and chewing on something they shouldn't. It can keep them occupied and entertained while also serving as a great way to alleviate anxiety or redirect destructive chewing behaviors.

Nutritional Value - Raw bones can be a great source of essential nutrients for dogs. They are rich in marrow, which contains fat and can provide your pet with additional calories. Bones also contain calcium, phosphorus, and trace minerals that contribute to nutrition.

The Harm That May Come From Bones

Some bones are great for your dog's health, and others are not a good idea and could result in serious repercussions.

Dental Injuries -Chewing on bones may increase your dog's risk of certain health factors. Dogs may crack or fracture their teeth, leading to pain, infection, and the need for dental procedures. Hard bones, like weight-bearing bones from large animals, are particularly risky.

Choking & Obstruction - Bones can break apart into tiny fragments that are unedible due to their increased risk of injury. If swallowed, these shards can also cause intestinal obstructions, leading to a life-threatening emergency. Small dogs, aggressive chewers, or dogs prone to gulping are at higher risk.

Digestive Issues - Bones can cause digestive problems in some dogs, such as constipation, diarrhea, or pancreatitis. Fatty bones like marrow bones can lead to gastrointestinal upset, and sharp bone fragments can damage the digestive tract. Pet owners should closely monitor dogs with sensitive stomachs or a history of digestive issues.

What bones can dogs eat?

Now that you know which bones never to feed your dog, we can discuss which bones are right for your pup.

Raw Bones - For natural bones, you should opt for a raw bone that won't cause as much injury. Raw bones are less likely to splinter and cause injuries. Regardless of the type of bones your dog is chewing on, you must watch them the entire time they are chewing.

Synthetic Chews - Plenty of safe synthetic chew toys are available in markets. These products are designed to be durable, non-toxic, and less likely to cause dental or digestive issues. Look for options like rubber chew toys, nylon bones, or specially designed dental chews.

Vet-Approved Treats - Consult with your veterinarian to find appropriate treats that promote dental health and are safe for your dog's specific needs. Dental chews or treats specially formulated to support oral hygiene can be a safer alternative to bones.

How will I know that I am giving them the right option?

When you plan to provide your dog with new things, speaking with a veterinary professional is important to ensure you make the right decision.

Although bones can offer benefits like dental health, mental stimulation, and nutritional value, they pose potential risks. Pet owners shouldn't overlook concerns such as dental injuries, choking hazards, and digestive problems.

As a responsible pet owner, it's crucial to weigh the benefits against the risks and make an informed decision. Ultimately, consulting with your veterinarian is essential to determine whether giving bones to your dog is safe and appropriate for their unique circumstances.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Learn what your dog can and can't eat safely with the help of our vets. By contacting East Orlando Animal Hospital to book a consultation for your pup today.

Caring for Pets in Orlando

Caring for Pets in Orlando

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