Hey fellow pet lovers!
Today’s article is a raw feeding focused one in which we will answer the question of are bones safe for dogs? If you’re a raw feeder like me, then you will already know that bones make up 10% of your canine or feline friends diet. However, not all types of bones are safe for our four-legged friends, and in today’s post, I want to take a deep dive into whether you should give a dog a bone?
Bones are a hot topic when it comes to our pets’ diets, some people are totally against the idea of giving their pet raw bones, and others are in favour, where do I fall? I’m entirely on the pro raw bone side and am well aware of the many benefits of feeding raw bones to my girls.
Bone’s are a great addition to your pet’s diet but choosing the wrong bones can be seriously dangerous. In today’s article, I plan to list the benefits of feeding your dog raw meaty bones and the risks of feeding the wrong bones to your canine or feline friend. As well as containing the do’s and do not’s when it comes to feeding bones.
Can my dog eat bones?
Before delving into the benefits and risks of feeding our pets bones, I want to answer a pressing question that most pet owners will think of at some point, which is can my dog eat bones? Thankfully, the answer is yes!
Your canine and feline friends’ can eat the right type of bones, and it is beneficial for them in many ways. If you haven’t checked out our Raw Feeding section which goes into a lot more detail about why your canine companion not only survives but thrives on a raw diet, then follow the link after reading this post to learn more. Below is a short section which is taken from our Raw Feeding page, explaining why your dog is more than able to enjoy a tasty raw bone.
Although our often cute and docile dogs may look a lot different from their wild counterparts, under the skin, they are very much the same. Through our countless generations of selective breeding, we have chosen to modify the temperament firstly, favouring the more friendly and obedient, and secondly the size and shape to create a vast amount of variation in the appearance of one breed to the next. With this, we can truly see how much potential is locked away in these genes.
One aspect that we have not significantly influenced by all of this selective breeding is the digestive system, obviously, over the time we have spent together some aspects have changed. For instance, our dogs have a higher tolerance for starches than that of the Grey Wolf, and this is likely due to generations of poor diets provided by people with not a lot to offer and constant availability of table scraps.
Despite this, the similarities between our canine companions and the Grey Wolf are uncanny, and there is no other place we should look to see what our dogs should be eating to be in optimum health. What do Grey Wolves eat then, and what can we take from this to try to feed our dogs the right thing? You might be under the impression that wolves and dogs fall into the same group as we do, and as omnivores, we can eat a wide range of meat and vegetable matter.
However, our dogs and their wild counterparts fall between what it is to be a carnivore and an omnivore; this group is referred to as ‘non-obligate carnivores’ or ‘facultative carnivores’. Which can be confusing as there are no distinct lines drawn between the amounts of vegetable matter a non-obligate carnivore could eat before it would be classed as an omnivore.
And this is why our dogs can survive on a diet rich in carbohydrates such as low-quality kibble or canned/pouched wet food that is limited in protein and fat. They are still able to get nutrients from it, but that doesn’t mean it is benefiting them or helping them to be in an optimum state, which is not the case for our feline friends though as they are strict carnivores.
To learn more about raw feeding for cats, check out our post on Raw Feeding for cats: the basics!
The Benefits of Feeding Raw Bones
There are many benefits to feeding our pets’ bones, and as you can see above, my girls love raw meaty bones and get one or two a week. Below is a little list of the benefits of adding bones into your pet’s diet:
- Bones are a great source of minerals and other nutrients.
- Bones are natures toothbrushes for our pets and help keep their teeth free from plaque build-up.
- Bones help to keep your pet’s gums healthy.
- Bones keep your pet mentally stimulated.
- Bones help your puppy express normal chewing behaviour.
The Risks of Feeding Raw Bones
Even though raw meaty bones are a wonderful addition to most pets’ diets, there are some risks that come with feeding bones. However, these normally result from feeding the wrong type of bone or giving bones to pets’ who are not suited to eating a raw diet. Below I’ve listed the main risks that can come with feeding bones.
- Feeding the wrong type of bones can cause blockages.
- Feeding COOKED bones are seriously dangerous as they can splinter and cause blockages, resulting in fatalities.
- Feeding the wrong sized bone can cause a dog to choke.
These are obvious risks that can be easily mitigated by proper research into what bones are safe to be given to your pet.
Do’s When Feeding Bones
There are risks when feeding bones to your pet which can be mitigated with the correct knowledge and preparation on your part. Below is a list of what you should do when feeding your pet bones to help ensure they are safe and will not be harmed in the process.
- Always feed raw bones.
- Ensure you give your pet an appropriately sized bone.
- Always supervise your canine or feline friend when they are eating raw bones.
- Feed fresh, human-grade bones to your pet.
Don’ts When Feeding Bones
Now you are aware of what bones you should feed your pet; it is time to move onto what you shouldn’t do when feeding raw bones. Below is a list of the don’ts when feeding raw bones.
- Do not give your pet the wrong bone.
- Never, ever, give your pet COOKED bones!!!
- Don’t give your pet chunks of bone.
- Do not feed raw bones to pets who suffer from stomach problems.
- Don’t feed raw bones to pets who have just had surgery.
- Don’t feed rawhide treats or bones to your pet.
- Don’t feed packeted cooked store-bought bone treats to your pet.
How often should I feed raw bones?
The answer to this question all depends on how you feed your pet. Do you raw feed already? Do you feed non-raw commercially prepared food? Do you follow the BARF or Prey Model Raw methods of raw feeding?
Depending on the answer will depend on how often you feed raw bones to your pet. We give the girls one large bone a week or two smaller ones; it all depends on what else they are eating that week.
Their raw food which is manufactured by Durham Animals Feeds is a handy way for us to feed a healthy natural diet without having to batch make all their meals. Within their completes, there is ground-up bone, meaning we only have to give one large bone a week to help keep their teeth lovely and clean.
- Never feed your pet COOKED bones!!!
Never, ever, feed your pet cooked bones because they can easily splinter, causing intestinal bleeding and blockages, which could be fatal for your pet.
- It is recommenced that you do not feed weight bearing bones to your pet.
What do I mean by a weight bearing bone? A weight bearing bone is exactly what it sounds like, it’s those bones which allow a person or animal to stand, move and walk. So feet and leg bones, which are very hard and can splinter when eaten. Although, it is advised that these not be eaten, there is no problem with your pet eating the meat off these bones.
Honey’s Natural Feeding Handbook For Dogs
I love this helpful handbook! If you’d like to learn more about feeding your pet bones and the benefits of starting them on a raw diet then check out this wonderful little book.
It is perfect for anyone who wishes to gain an insight into raw feeding and talks about the reasons to do so. Honey’s Natural Feeding Handbook for Dogs is a great book to start your raw feeding adventure. You will learn about the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding or Bones and Raw Food) method of raw feeding.
Also, you will learn about the health issue that can arise from feeding our pets’ an overly processed commercial diet, such as mass-produced kibble or canned wet food. It is a concise read and only has 158 informative pages, so it won’t take you long to finish.
I’d suggest getting this little book before you start raw feeding as it will provide you with a good understanding of the subject and help you on your way to being the best pet parent possible. To learn more check out a previous post, HONEY’S NATURAL FEEDING HANDBOOK FOR DOGS, BOOK REVIEW.
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Thank you for reading today’s post, and I hope you now know the do’s and don’ts when it comes to feeding raw meaty bones to your pet. If you have any comments, please leave them below, or if you’d like to ask a question just drop me a line by heading over to our Contact Page.
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