Most of our canine friends love to chew, so it’s understandable we turn to bones. But did you know that giving your dog any type of bone (raw or cooked) can pose a multitude of health risks?
Here is a list of the troubles bones can pose to your dog:
- broken teeth
- mouth and tongue injuries
- bone stuck on the jaw
- bone stuck in the esophagus
- bone stuck in the windpipe (trachea)
- bone stuck in the stomach
- bone stuck in the intestines
- blockage to the GI tract due to bone fragments
- severe bleeding from the rectum due to bone fragments or sharp pieces of bone that did manage to pass through the GI tract
- perforation of the GI tract leading to Peritonitis
Still on the fence as to whether to give your pup a bone or not? Here are a few common questions that may help with your decision…
But our dogs’ ancestors ate bones right?
Yes, of course they did! But, keep in mind, their life span was typically much shorter than that of our dogs today. Often, what creates that shorter life span is infection or injury related to their diet and lifestyle. This is just not acceptable for our pets today! Science and experience has brought us further and allowed us to create a much happier, healthier and pain-free life for our loved furry friends!
What about the nutrients bones provide?
It’s true, bones contain wonderful nutrients like calcium and magnesium, but if you feed your dog a well balanced dog food his/her nutrients requirements should be met! If you have concerns that your dog is lacking nutrients, the first place to look is the dog food, and consider switching to a better quality and nutritionally balanced dog food. After all, if their nutrient profiles are being met, any excess gained from a bone chewing session will be eliminated by the gut or kidneys, essentially making those organs work harder. So where is the nutrient benefit?
What about the chewing of bones cleaning my dogs’ teeth?
Sure, any rubbing against the crown of the tooth will indeed reduce plaque buildup. But, keep in mind most bones are much stronger than the enamel and cementum layers of the tooth. This strength difference, ultimately, ends in a broken tooth or two…and expensive dental work at the vet hospital!
So, feeding bones creates a lot of health risks. What can I give my dog instead?
Antlers are an option, but unfortunately they too pose the risk of teeth breaking and obstruction if ingested. Instead, a high quality, edible dental bone is your best option for avid chewers or added oral health care benefits. Edible dental bones like DentaPro rawhide treats or Oral care chews are our favorite options due to their proven oral health benefits and ‘chew-able’ nature.
For those chewers that chew out of boredom (I dare you to say that one 5 times fast!), the above alternatives provide a great chew session, but there are some other great options too! Toys such as Kongs allow you to keep your pooch busy by filling it with peanut butter or canned dog food. Puppy Popsicles are another great ‘busy’ treat (they make a fantastic treat on hot summer days!). Or for a fun alternative, try freezing your dogs stuffed Kong! Don’t forget all the gazillion toy options at the pet stores too to help keep your dog busy and stimulated.
If your wanting to ensure you provide the best oral care for your dog, remember to look for the VOHC seal on your dogs treats and food. This seal ensures that the treat or diet has gone through a third party testing to ensure there is added benefit to oral care (or a reduction in dental disease factors). After all, you feed and treat your pet, why not give one that has added oral benefit?
Still unsure of the bone dilema? It’s a big question! If this article didn’t fully help you decide on whether or not to give your dog a bone, please call us with any of your questions! We are here to help, keeping your dogs’ best interest at heart!