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Dog Bone Safety: Can Dogs Eat Bones?

Dog Bone Safety: Can Dogs Eat Bones?

We may think that dogs can chew on any type of bone but did you know that actually isn't true? Today, our Westport vets discuss the safety surrounding dogs eating bones and which bones are safe for your furry companion.

Can dogs eat bones?

Did you know that bones can be an important part of your dog's diet allowing them the opportunity to ingest a number of crucial minerals? Not only that, chewing stimulates saliva enzymes, which aids in the prevention of plaque buildup and gum disease helping to keep your pup's mouth healthy. Chewing on bones can also help your dog to avoid unwanted behaviors as long as they have the stimulation of chewing. Nonetheless, many veterinarians warn that allowing your dog to chew on bones comes with some serious risks for your dog's health.

So, can you give a dog a bone? Are bones good for dogs? Are cooked bones bad for dogs? Here we go over the advantages and disadvantages of dogs having bones and anything else that you may need to know.

Why Your Dog Should Eat Bones

Chewing is a natural method of stimulation for dogs. This can help them to maintain their oral health and curb unwanted behaviors. 

Dental Health - Your dog's oral health may be one of the leading reasons to allow your dog to chew on bones. Gnawing on bones can help remove plaque and tartar buildup, preventing gum disease and promoting healthier teeth. The abrasive action of chewing on bones can act as a natural toothbrush for your dog.

Mental Stimulation - Bone chewing becomes a stimulant for dogs falling them to avoid boredom and chewing on something they shouldn't. It can be a natural and instinctive activity that keeps them occupied and entertained. Bones can be a great way to alleviate anxiety or redirect destructive chewing behaviors.

Nutritional Value - Bones can be a source of essential nutrients, especially if they are raw bones. They contain marrow, which is rich in fat and can provide dogs with additional calories. Bones also contain calcium, phosphorus, and trace minerals that contribute to overall nutrition.

The Harm That May Come From Bones

Will some bones are great for your dog's health, and others are not at all a good idea and could result in serious repercussions.

Dental Injuries -Chewing on bones may put your dog at an increased risk of certain health factors. Dogs may crack or fracture their teeth, leading to pain, infection, and the need for dental procedures. Hard bones like weight-bearing bones from large animals are particularly risky.

Choking & Obstruction - There is a case that bones can break apart into tiny fragments which will be unedible due to their increased risk of injury. These shards can also cause intestinal obstructions if swallowed, leading to a life-threatening emergency. Small dogs, aggressive chewers, or dogs prone to gulping are at higher risk.

Digestive Issues - Bones can cause digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, or pancreatitis in some dogs. Fatty bones like marrow bones can lead to gastrointestinal upset, and sharp bone fragments can damage the digestive tract. Dogs with sensitive stomachs or a history of digestive issues should be monitored closely.

What bones can dogs eat?

Since you are now aware of which bones to never feed your dog we can now discuss which bones are right for your pup.

Raw Bones - For natural bones, you should opt for a raw bone that won't cause as much injury. Raw bones are less likely to splinter and cause injuries. Regardless of the type of bones that your dog is chewing on you will need to watch them the entire time that they are chewing.

Synthetic Chews - There are plenty of safe synthetic chew toys available in the market. These products are designed to be durable, non-toxic, and less likely to cause dental or digestive issues. Look for options like rubber chew toys, nylon bones, or specially designed dental chews.

Vet-Approved Treats - Consult with your veterinarian to find appropriate treats that promote dental health and are safe for your dog's specific needs. Dental chews or treats specially formulated to support oral hygiene can be a safer alternative to bones.

How will I know that I am giving them the right option?

The number one item when you plan on providing your dog with new things is to speak with a vet professional to make sure that you are doing the right thing. While bones can provide benefits such as dental health, mental stimulation, and nutritional value, they also come with risks. Dental injuries, choking hazards, and digestive issues are potential concerns that must not be overlooked.

As a responsible pet owner, it's essential to weigh the potential benefits against the risks and make an informed decision. Ultimately, consulting with your veterinarian is crucial in determining whether giving bones to your dog is safe and appropriate for their individual circumstances. 

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.

Our vets are here to help you learn what your dog and can't do safely including what they can eat. Contact Westport Veterinary Associates today to book a consultation for your pup.

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