Feeding bones to dogs is a contentious issue for some people. There have always been general rules regarding feeding bones:
- Raw bones only - cooking bones hardens them and makes then indigestible. This makes then more likely to break teeth and cause blockages
- Right size, right dog - the bone should be a size that can be chewed, not swallowed whole. Also some smaller dogs will struggle with a large bone and possibly crack teeth.
- Bone marrow is man's best friend's worst friend - Bone marrow contains 70% fat. Feeding it to dogs is just a recipe for disaster, it can lead to health problems such as pancreatitis, stomach upsets and diarrhoea just to name a few.
The problem with feeding bones is there is no such thing as a 'safe' bone. Abi here has been getting bones for all her life, never with any problems, her teeth are great, she's always been healthy. BUT there is always a risk as Abi's owners found out one night at our Wallan Vet Emergency Hospital.
Abi had surgery to remove three bone fragments from her intestines that were causing a blockage. She made a full recovery and was home the following day.
If we were to recommend the ideal bone for a dog, it would be a rib bone (beef or lamb depending on the dog size). These bones are flat, softer, have very little marrow and don't have knuckles that can be swallowed whole. Saying that though, there is still a risk! (see our previous post of the puppy that swallowed one whole).
Essentially the only way to be 100% safe is to not feed bones at all!