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Dog Bone Safety: Can Dogs Eat Bones?

Dog Bone Safety: Can Dogs Eat Bones?

Chewing bones can be a great way to keep your dog happy and their teeth clean, but it is important to be cautious as bones can pose risks. Our Franklin vets will explain more in this blog. 

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 they also help keep their teeth clean and reduce the chance of them scratching or licking their paws too much. 

So Can I Give A Dog A Bone?

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

In general, raw bones tend to be 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

What bones are not safe for dogs?

Cooked Chicken and Turkey Bones: These bones can break easily and are more likely to cause problems. Small bones can also get stuck in a dog's throat and cause trouble. 

T-Bones: T-bones have a shape that can get stuck in a dog's throat while the other end is in the esophagus or trachea. This can lead to severe swelling that can block the airway, preventing your dog from breathing.

Small Bones and Circular Bones: Giving any bone that is smaller than your dog's mouth or easily splinters is risky. Both can result in choking hazards as well as trauma to the mouth and intestinal tract. Circular bones are also unfavorable because they can become lodged in the lower jaw of a dog. Dogs are terrified of this, and cutting the bone to free the dog's jaw usually necessitates sedation.

What bones are safe for dogs?

Generally, you want to get raw bones from a reputable butcher large enough to be easily grasped and about the size of your dog's head. It should also have bulges or lumps on both ends.

Raw bones are considered a "safe" bone option, but there are still risks. Your dog can still break a tooth, cut their gums, or get a bone splinter. Excessive chewing on the bone can cause constipation. The bone should be refrigerated before use and discarded after a few hours.

General Rules for Bone Safety

If you are considering giving your dog a bone, here are some general safety rules to follow:

  • Serve raw meat bones.
  • After 10 to 15 minutes, remove the bone from your dog and place it in the refrigerator.
  • After three or four days, discard the bone.
  • Give large bones to large breeds like German Shepherd Dogs, Bloodhounds, and Mastiffs.
  • When you give your dog a bone, keep an eye on him.
  • Be an educated consumer
Do Not:
    • Give your dog the wrong type of bone.
    • Don't give your dog cooked bones of any kind.
    • Allow your dog to chew any type of bone into small pieces.
    • Don't give your dog a bone if he has stomach problems.
    • If another dog is visiting, don't give your dog a bone to chew on.

Still unsure about which bones are safe for your dog to chew? Contact our Franklin vets today, and we'd be happy to answer any questions you have.

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Pet Vet Battlewood is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about improving the health of Franklin's companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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