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Dog Bone Safety: Can Dogs Eat Bones?

Bones can be a beneficial treat for your dog. Chewing can relieve boredom, anxiety, and stress and help clean your dog's teeth. However, bones can also be harmful to dogs. Today, our Fountain Valley vets will explain.

Are bones good for dogs?

Often, the answer is yes. Bones provide minerals and other nutrients while also satisfying your dog's appetite. Chewing stimulates saliva enzymes, which aids in the prevention of plaque buildup and gum disease. Additionally, a dog chewing on a bone is less likely to scratch or lick his paws excessively.

Can I give a dog a bone?

A more appropriate question is, "Should dogs chew bones?" Generally, raw bones are better for dogs than cooked bones. So, if you've ever wondered, "Are cooked bones bad for dogs?" the answer is yes, but this is a general statement.

Both raw and cooked bones can cause splinters in your dog's mouth and digestive tract, potentially leading to injury and even death; however, the risk is higher with cooked bones.

Here are some 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 are most likely to splinter. Small bones are also more prone to getting lodged in the throat and esophagus than larger, more solid bones.

T-Bones: Because of their shape, T-bones can become lodged in a dog's throat while the opposite end moves down the esophagus or trachea, potentially causing severe swelling that blocks the airway and impedes your dog's ability to breathe.

Small Bones and Circular Bones: Giving any bone 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 a dog's lower jaw. Dogs are terrified of this, and cutting the bone to free the dog's jaw usually necessitates sedation.

What bones are safe for dogs?

When choosing raw bones for your dog, make sure to get them from a reputable butcher. The bones should be large enough to be easily grasped and about the size of your dog's head, with bulges or lumps on both ends.

Although raw bones are considered a "safe" option, risks are still involved. Your dog could break a tooth, cut its gums, or get a bone splinter. Excessive chewing on the bone can also lead to constipation.

Remember to refrigerate the bone before giving it to your dog, and discard it 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 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.

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.

Are you still uncertain about which bones your dog is safe to chew? Contact our veterinarians in Fountain Valley today, and we'd be delighted to answer any questions you may have.

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