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Dog Bone Safety: Can Dogs Eat Bones?

Dog Bone Safety: Can Dogs Eat Bones?

Discover the benefits and risks of giving bones to your dog. Chewing bones can be a satisfying activity that alleviates boredom, anxiety, and stress while promoting dental hygiene. Nonetheless, it's important to be aware of the potential dangers. Our veterinarian at Roswell will shed light on this topic.

Are Bones Good For Dogs?

Oftentimes, the answer is yes. Bones offer minerals and nutrients, and they also fulfill your dog's hunger. Chewing triggers saliva enzymes, helping prevent plaque and gum disease. When a dog chews on a bone, it reduces the chances of excessive paw scratching or licking.

So Can I Give A Dog A Bone?

Is it better for dogs to chew bones? That's a question worth considering. 

Raw bones are generally safer for dogs compared to cooked bones. If you've ever wondered whether cooked bones are harmful to dogs, the answer is yes, but it's important to note that this is generally the case.

Both raw and cooked bones can potentially cause splinters in your dog's mouth and digestive system, leading to injury or even death. However, the risk is higher with cooked bones. Here are a few possible consequences of a dog chewing on either raw or cooked bones.

  • Lacerations or punctures to the gums and tongue
  • Cuts and wounds to the throat
  • Damaged or broken teeth
  • Choking
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe constipation
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Perforation of the intestines
  • Rectal trauma and bleeding

What bones are not safe for dogs?

Cooked Chicken and Turkey Bones: These bones are most likely to splinter. Small bones are also more prone to getting lodged in the throat and esophagus than larger, more solid bones.

T-Bones: T-bones, due to their shape, can become stuck in a dog's throat while the other end is down the esophagus or trachea. This can lead to severe swelling that can block the airway, preventing your dog from breathing.

Small Bones and Circular Bones: Giving any bone that is smaller than your dog's mouth or easily splinters is risky. Both can result in choking hazards as well as trauma to the mouth and intestinal tract. Circular bones are also unfavorable because they can become lodged in the lower jaw of a dog. Dogs are terrified of this, and cutting the bone to free the dog's jaw usually necessitates sedation.

What bones are safe for dogs?

When selecting bones for your dog, it's important to choose raw bones that come from a trusted butcher. Look for bones that are large enough for your dog to hold easily and are about the same size as their head. These bones should have bulges or lumps on both ends.

Although raw bones are generally considered safe, some risks are still involved. Your dog can potentially break a tooth, cut their gums, or get a bone splinter while chewing. If your dog chews excessively on the bone, it can also lead to constipation. Remember to refrigerate the bone before giving it to your dog and dispose of it after a few hours.

General Rules for Bone Safety

If you are considering giving your dog a bone, here are some general safety rules to follow:

  • Serve raw meat bones.
  • After 10 to 15 minutes, remove the bone from your dog and place it in the refrigerator.
  • After three or four days, discard the bone.
  • Give large bones to large breeds like German Shepherd Dogs, Bloodhounds, and Mastiffs.
  • When you give your dog a bone, keep an eye on him.
  • Be an educated consumer
Do Not:
  • Give your dog the wrong type of bone.
  • Don't give your dog cooked bones of any kind.
  • Allow your dog to chew any bone into small pieces.
  • Don't give your dog a bone if he has stomach problems.
  • If another dog is visiting, don't give your dog a bone to chew on.

Still unsure about which bones are safe for your dog to chew? Reach out to our veterinarians at Roswell and we'll gladly provide answers to all your queries.

Experienced Emergency Vet Care

Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton is an after-hours and critical care hospital, providing veterinary emergency care since 1991. If your pet is experiencing an emergency, contact us to get the help your pet needs.

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