Bones are an excellent source of nutrients and important minerals for dogs. They are palatable and regular consumption prevents plaque buildup that leads to periodontitis.
Many veterinarians consider bones dangerous and who can blame them since so many dogs are injured each year chewing the wrong kinds of bones.
As long as you are giving the right bones to the right-sized dogs in the right way there’s nothing to worry about.
In this article we examine the following:
- Why do Dogs like to Chew Bones?
- Knuckle Bones for Dogs.
- Marrow Bones for Dogs.
- Which Bones are Dangerous for Dogs?
- Raw Bones versus Cooked Bones for Dogs.
Why do Dogs like to Chew Bones?
There are many reasons why dogs love to chew bones.
- Puppies chew on bones in an attempt to relieve pain related to teething.
- Sometimes when dogs are bored, chewing a bone is a way to be entertained or to relieve anxiety when they are having a bad day.
- Dogs instinctively know chewing on bones cleans their teeth and strengthens gums.
- When a dog chews a bone, it stimulates the digestive enzymes in the saliva providing aid for stomach digestion.
- Dogs with excess energy that don’t have any other way of expending that energy will direct it into chewing their bone ‘with gusto’.
- When a dog needs some mental stimulation to deal with daily stress they instinctively show a desire to chew.
- Think of bone chewing as a canine coping mechanism for negative emotions.
The bottom line is ~ dogs simply like chewing bones and they like both the feeling and the taste.
Knuckle Bones for Dogs
Beef Knuckle bones for dogs provide hours of great entertainment because the Knuckle Bone is so hard to be broken or splinter.
The beef knuckle bone comes from the top of the femur leg joint after the butchering process ends. The best knuckle bone for dogs by far comes from beef cattle as the bone is large, strong, and lots of tasty tendons.
The tendons of the beef knuckle bone take some work to break down which will keep your dog interested and fully engrossed in endless chewing.
Since the beef knuckle bone is so large, we recommend they are only given to large and medium-sized dogs. Knuckle Bones are very useful for teeth cleaning and as a calcium supplement.
Even though Knuckle Bones are one of the Best Bones for Dogs to Chew on, it is good practice to be cautious and keep an eye on your canine family member in case he or she starts breaking the bone!
Marrow Bones for Dogs
The bone marrow in a marrow bone is really tasty for dogs. Besides their rounded palatable character, marrow bones are a rich source of fat, minerals, and vitamins and probably are a dog’s favorite recreational chew.
What makes Marrow Bones the Best Bone for Dogs is the rich fat contained in the marrow.
Although dogs love the taste, the high-fat content can cause digestive upsets and pancreatic reactions if marrow bones are given too often so aim for once a week is a safe and healthy bet.
As Bone Marrow has a lot of calories, it’s not advisable to give them often to dogs that suffer from obesity.
Marrow bones need to be given fresh. The more the bone dries out dry, the higher the chances are of them breaking into bone fragments and splinters.
As long as you carefully control the quantities of Marrow Bones you give your dogs and you pay closer attention to them while chewing your dog will be in Doggy Heaven with a nice marrow bone to chew and gnaw!
Dog Breeds best suited to Knuckle Bones and Marrow Bones
Full-size Knuckle Bones and Marrow Bones are ideal for medium to large dogs breeds such as : Chow, Great Dane, German Shepherd, Alaskan Malamute.
Half-sized Knuckle Bones, Knuckle Bone Slices, and Cross Cut Marrow Bones are best suited to smaller dog breeds e.g. Beagle, Jack Russel, Pug, King Charles.
Which Bones are Dangerous for Dogs?
Years of trials and errors prove that not all bones are safe for dogs. Some bones are highly beneficial while others can even prove to be fatal for dogs. Although all of them do provide nutritional or dental benefit to some extent, the risks can be too high to just give any type of bone
Chicken, Turkey, and Pork parts are not the best bones for dogs and are considered unsafe for dogs to chew.
Be it raw or cooked they are just too easy to break and swallow. A small splintered bone can cause severe problems for dogs so consider all bones from Chicken, Turkey, and Pork as potential choking hazards.
Dogs can also get sick from commercially sold dog chews in pet store bones. Those chews and bones contain many preservatives, unnatural seasonings and are generally baked (for long shelf life), all of which can make your dog very unwell.
When your dog ingests a bad bone the digestive system goes through a lot of problems.
Common symptoms of ingestion of a bad bone in dogs include:
- Mouth cuts
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Blood in stool
When any of these symptoms appear in your dog and you suspect it’s because of the bone, call your vet as soon as possible. Even in cases when a dog is prone to stomach upsets, these additions to his diet can heighten the problems.
Image: Small cooked chicken bone stuck in the stomach of a small dog.
When you see your dog eating a bone he has found outside that you did not give him, it is best to take it away from him as there is no way of knowing what animal it came from and how long it has been there. Bones like these will attract flies and bacteria leading to any number of potential stomach infections.
Best Bones for Dogs to Chew are from Beef and the large bones from Lamb e.g. the Leg Bone or Shoulder
Chicken, Turkey and Pork can only be used as nutritional dog bones when they are ground to fine dust and added in the dog’s meal as a phosphorus and calcium supplement only.
Raw Bones versus Cooked Bones for Dogs
Raw bones are a lot safer compared to cooked bones. They can be either nutritional meals for ingestion or recreational only. Cooked bones for dogs are always off-limits!
Even the largest bones become brittle after cooking. There is nothing safe in giving your dog cooked bones no matter whether you cook them yourself or buy them in a pet store.
When cooking bones, the nutrients and the collagen leak from the bone thus the natural and much-needed flexibility of a raw bone is lost. When the bone breaks as the dog chews the jagged pieces can cause internal damage like:
- Broken teeth
- Various types of mouth injuries
- Obstructions in any part of the digestive tract
- Perforation of the internal organs and internal bleeding
- Peritonitis (bacterial infection of the abdomen when content from the guts leaks out)
When your dog accidentally swallows raw bone, pay close attention to his behavior. It’s needless to say that you may need emergency vet intervention if any symptoms occur.
Conclusions: Best Bones for Dogs.
- Hard Beef Knuckle Bones and Beef Marrow Bones are ideal and the safest for dogs.
- Chicken, Turkey, and Pork bones are too soft and dangerous for dogs.
- Dogs love the sensation and taste of chewing bones.
- Chewing bones releases feel-good endorphins for dogs.
- Chewing bones kills boredom and comfort during loneliness
- Give your dog natural raw bones.
- Baked, store-bought bones are easily broken and contain high amounts of colorings and preservatives.
- Always keep an eye on your dog chewing bones.