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Is It Safe for Dogs to Eat Bones?  

By December 15, 2023Pet Care
Dogs to eat bones beagle chewing on a bone

It seems natural and normal to give your canine companion a bone- but are all bones healthy for dogs and puppies? Real meat bones can provide a slew of nutrients and minerals that your pet needs, plus it can help keep your dog’s teeth free from tartar and plaque. Additionally, chewing is good for dogs as it contributes to good oral health, and providing bones may keep pets from chewing on other items in the home and prevent them from problematic behaviors. But is it safe for all dogs to eat bones?

Here is what pet owners need to know: 

Raw versus Cooked Bones

There are risks associated with both raw and cooked bones when it comes to pets. Any kind of bone has the propensity to splinter, which could cause digestive issues or serious injury. But, cooked bones tend to be more brittle, making them more of a hazard for splintering as a dog chews them. It’s better not to give your dog a cooked bone. 

Unsafe Bones for Dogs 

Perhaps the most important question relates to which bones are unsafe for your pet. The worst bones for a dog include cooked poultry bones, that is, turkey or chicken. These are most likely to splinter and could also pose a choking hazard more than larger bones do.  

Another bone that you should not give your dog are T-bone steak bones, primarily due to their shape. These can cause serious risk of choking with a great chance of becoming lodged in your dog’s esophagus and throat.   

Any small or round bones- like ham bones or neck bones- can also be a choking risk. Also, your dog can swallow these bones, which could wreak havoc with their intestinal tract. Be wary of round bones that could easily get stuck in your pet’s jaw, too. This is a serious situation that may warrant emergency veterinary aid.  

Safe Bones for Dogs 

If you want the safest type of bones for your dog, go to a butcher for large, raw bones. Aim for a bone that is around the same size as your pet’s head to reduce the risk of choking. Ideally, look for a bone that has bumps on both ends.  

Remember that there are still risks associated with giving your dog bones of any kind, including the chance that the bone will splinter. Your pet could also break or chip a tooth when chewing on a bone. Be mindful of this when choosing whether or not to give your dog a bone. 

Tips for Dogs to Eat Bones Safely 

Still want to give your canine companion a bone? Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:  

  • The bigger the dog, the bigger the bone. Make sure not to give your dog bones that are too small to reduce the risk of choking. 
  • Always supervise your pets when they eat bones and try to keep your eye on where the bone is. 
  • Remove the bone after your dog has enjoyed it and refrigerate until you give it to them again. Throw out bones after a couple of days.  
  • Avoid giving your pets cooked bones.  
  • Take the bone away if your pet has chewed it into small bits. Remove these so the pet does not swallow them.  
  • If your pet has digestion issues or stomach problems, do not give them bones at all.  

If your pet needs emergency veterinary care, or you are concerned that your pet has been injured due to a bone, contact CVETS, an Emergency Vet and Surgery center in Columbia, South Carolina, right away.