Is it healthy or to be avoided?
Is it safe to give my dog raw bones to chew?
This is one of those subjects where opinions differ. Some dogs will chew bones their whole lives and never experience a problem. Others will require emergency surgery after being given only one bone.
The complications of giving a dog raw bones
In part, it depends on the size, shape and type of bone, but unfortunately much depends on luck. There are several potential complications associated with dogs eating bones — even if they are raw ones — and it would be irresponsible for me to advise that you go ahead and give bones to your dog, only to find you are one of the unlucky owners to experience a problem.
Fractured teeth, oral injuries — from sharp edges cutting the dog’s gums, tongue and oral mucous membranes — obstructions in the gastrointestinal tract and, at the very least, vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation can occur. Having said that, I fed my own dogs raw bones for many years with no problems, though I do now prefer to provide them with safer alternatives.
Dos and don’ts
If you are determined for good reason to feed bones, there are some dos and don’ts:
- Do only offer dogs human-grade raw bones.
- Do supervise your dog at all times when you give him a bone — and manage dogs in a multi-dog household. Bones represent a high-value resource to a dog and fights can break out.
- Don’t feed cooked bones because these can splinter, causing internal damage or intestinal obstruction.
- Don’t feed too many bones as this can cause constipation. The general guideline is one or two raw bones per week, with a few days in between each serving, but this may vary between individual dogs.
- Don’t let your dog chew any kind of bone into small pieces.
- Don’t give your dog small chunks of bone that can cause blockages.
- Don’t give your dog a bone if he has stomach problems.