Should Dogs Eat Bones?

The age of tradition giving the dog a bone is now under scrutiny. Should dogs eat bones? Chicken bones, rawhide bones, and bones that are brittle and can break into shreds should absolutely be avoided according to veterinarians who have been in practice for ten years or less. Other veterinarians claim that they are essential. Dogs who eat bones generally tend to just eat the bone, no fuss, no muss. Dog owners that encourage their dogs to chomp down a big meaty bone every now and then claim that those who restrict their dogs are being overly cautious.

However, there have been an increasing number of dog bone incidents that lead veterinarians to deem bone chomping a danger to dogs. This can be viewed two different ways. Let’s say that dog bones are as safe as walking your dog. While you are walking your dog things can happen. Another dog might decide to come out of nowhere and attack your dog, a car could cut the corner too close and clip your guy on the way by, or you could trip, lose control of your dog’s leash, and deal with havoc in the aftermath. These are all possibilities and unfortunate things happen while walking a dog at about the same degree that unfortunate things happen while dogs are eating the bones. They might choke, they might not digest the bone properly, and they may end up with a sensitive stomach and end up with a case of dog diarrhea.

When we were kids, it was okay to eat the cookie batter while we were waiting for the real thing. For many of us, the batter was the best part. Now, we are warned of the dangers of this scrumptious treat. When many of us were kids, car seats were rarely used and car accidents were more often fatal to small children. Are we becoming an overly safety conscious society or are we simply learning more about the consequences of our actions? This is the question when we wonder should dogs eat bones?

Dogs are carnivorous and we rarely give them the essential meaty nutrients they require. Bones have been proven to keep teeth clean, reverse periodontal disease in dogs, and maintain a balance of essential proteins and minerals they can’t get from their wheat based dog food. Thus, there are many benefits to allowing the dog to have a bone. In fact, many veterinarians recommend a trip to the butcher shop once a month for the knotted elbow of a meaty bone. The elbow is less likely to splinter while providing a dog with the natural essentials he needs for good health and chewing habits. Other vets state that meaty bones are a danger to the dog, providing samples of lacerated esophagi, tummies, and bowels. Again it comes down to what percentage of dogs have been injured by the bone eating dilemma.

Many veterinarians state that they see more problems and health complications dealing with dog toys, chewed clothing, Christmas ornaments, and plastic bags than they do from bones. Is this because few people are giving their dogs the bones based on veterinarian advice or is this because bones are actually safer in reality than we have been led to believe?

Bones chewing can provide good sources of proteins and essential nutrients and can be about as safe as any other activity provided there is ample supervision. Before giving your dog a bone, teach him to give up his prized possessions. If you feel you can take anything away from your dog without consequence, you are definitely on the right track. This way you can take the bone from him if you feel he is able to shred it into unsafe pieces.

Not All Bones Are Safe for Dogs

Know your bones. Go to the butcher shop or the grocer and ask for the specific bones you are seeking. You want to avoid bones that have been cooked, those which have been previously cut into little pieces, bones without sufficient meat, those big leg marrowbones, or bones with fragments, angles that come to a sharp point, and bones which can be swallowed whole.

Neck bones from chickens, turkey, or beef, as well as tail or rib bones from beef, low fat with high meat content, and large bones with smooth edges are the safest for your dog to eat.

While there will always be a dispute as to should dogs eat bones, it is not equally appropriate for a responsible human to weigh the pros and cons, supervise bone chewing sessions, and determine what they believe is right for their dog. Raw bones spoil after at the most, 2 days, and thus dogs should not be left for an indefinite amount of time with their bone. For the humans who are uncomfortable with their dog chewing on a bone, there are other meaty alternatives that provide the protein and nutrients but are lacking in some of the minerals.



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