Is it safe to give your dog bones?

Feeding raw food and bone diets are becoming increasingly popular as pet owners try recreate a natural diet. However it is important to use these products in way that is safe for your pet.

Both raw and cooked bones can pose a hazard, they can cause obstructions in the gut, cause fractured teeth and sharp fragments can damage the mouth and gut. As carnivores dogs have incredibly powerful biting and chewing muscles. In a bite they can exert up to a whopping 300 pounds per square inch. This force is enough to shatter bones but can also shatter teeth! As teeth as quite brittle it is easy for a misdirected bite to cause a serious and painful tooth fracture. Bone will not be easily digested by the gut and will remain very solid, it is for this reason diets which are very high in bone content can cause intestinal obstructions.

Chewing and biting are normal behaviours for a dog so it is important that they get a chance to express them, there are lots of products available to help emulate this behaviour and allow them to express it. As each dog is an individual it is worth having a conversation with a vet or behaviourist as to which products are more likely to be right for your pet.

With any product for biting or chewing the pet should be monitored closely and ask the following questions:

  • Are they likely to break it?
  • If it is broken is it likely to be hazardous (i.e. have sharp edges or stuffing which should not be eaten)?
  • If they swallowed it would it cause a problem?

Please get in touch for further advice.

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Seb Griffin

I graduated from The Royal Veterinary College in 2015 with honours and started work in small animal practice. In my first job I spent time working with charities including the RSPCA, The Blue Cross and Cats Protection League. I have two cats myself and my passion in practice is feline medicine.
Seb Griffin

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