Can Dogs Eat Bones?

Can Dogs Eat Bones

Dogs can eat some bones safely provided they are fed raw and never cooked. Cooked bones are soft and easy to splinter, hence posing a severe choking/obstruction risk. The sharp bone shards can also cause severe gastrointestinal tract injury. While feeding raw bones, always go for those that are larger than your dog’s head or longer than their muzzles, like beef bones from cows and bison bones. This is important as it will make it impossible for the dog to swallow the whole bone, eliminating the choking risk. Bones should always be fed to dogs under supervision to avoid any potential health issues.

Chewing bones can offer dogs some health benefits. They are a good source of calcium and phosphorus. These two minerals work together to help build strong and healthy bones in dogs. However, these should be fed in addition to a balanced diet and not a replacement for regular meals. 

Besides being loaded with calcium and phosphorus, bones can help keep your dog’s teeth clean. Chewing bones can help in reducing tartar in a dog’s teeth, promoting their dental health. Although this shouldn’t replace regular brushing, it’s a great way of improving dogs’ dental health.

Chewing bones provides mental and physical stimulation to dogs. It helps keep a dog’s mouth and mind occupied for a long period of time. This helps prevent boredom from setting in and avoids destructive behavior.

While raw bones are safe for dogs to consume, they may also carry harmful bacteria like E. Coli, salmonella, and Listeria. This puts your dog at risk of getting foodborne infections if consumed.

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Chicken Bones 

Chicken bones are soft and thus easy for dogs to chew and digest. They easily get dissolved in the stomach, hence most dogs are able to pass them without any problems. However, chicken bones are very small and pose a choking or obstruction risk to dogs if swallowed.

Can dogs eat chicken bones safely?

No, dogs can’t and should eat chicken bones whether raw or cooked as they are dangerous. Chicken bones are soft and can easily splinter into small pieces causing gastrointestinal injury including trauma to the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines of dogs. Raw chicken bones may also contain pathogens like salmonella, which can give dogs infections. Additionally, swallowing chicken bones can cause other problems like

  • Choking
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal obstruction or blockage
  • Inflammation of stomach tissues also known as peritonitis

While chicken bones are generally unsafe for dogs, cooked chicken bones are more brittle and riskier compared to raw bones. It’s thus best to avoid feeding chicken bones to dogs, as their risks outweigh their benefits.

Beef Bones 

Unlike chicken and pork bones, beef bones are naturally hard and not easy to break. They are also large and hence less likely to cause choking as dogs can’t swallow them. This makes them safer for dogs to gnaw.

Can dogs eat beef bones safely?

Yes, dogs can eat beef bones safely provided they are big enough and fed raw. Feeding raw beef bones can provide minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium which are beneficial to the health of dogs. Chewing beef bones can also help in keeping a dog’s teeth clean and prevent plaque build-up, hence promoting their dental health. 

However, cooked beef bones should not be fed to dogs. Cooked bones are soft and easy to break. These can splinter into sharp shards, causing injury and perforations to the intestinal tract. They can also cause life-threatening blockage in the throat or gastrointestinal tract of dogs.

Pork Bones 

Pork bones are soft, brittle, and likely to splinter and crack when dogs chew on them. Since they are also small in size, dogs may attempt to swallow them, leading to dangerous conditions including choking, intestinal obstructions, or injuries to their digestive tracts.

Can dogs eat pork bones safely?

No, dogs can’t eat pork bones safely, as they pose many dangerous risks. Due to their small size and soft nature, pork bones have a high likelihood of splintering or breaking into small sharp pieces as dogs chew on them. These small pieces may get lodged in a dog’s throat, causing choking. They may also cause painful perforations as they go down the intestinal tract or worse still get stuck along the tract causing intestinal blockage. This is a dangerous condition that can be fatal if not promptly treated.

Additionally, raw pork bones are particularly prone to harmful bacteria like salmonella, which can cause a life-threatening infection to your dog. 

Turkey Bones 

Turkey bones may seem like a good treat for your dog. However, turkey bones whether raw or cooked should never be fed to dogs as they can have severe consequences.

Can dogs eat turkey bones safely?

Absolutely not. Turkey bones, just like chicken bones, are very brittle and will break into small, sharp fragments when chewed on. 

Those sharp pieces can potentially pierce your dog’s mouth, throat, stomach, or intestines, causing significant pain. This may also poke holes in the intestines, a condition that may require a medical emergency.

The bone fragments can also become lodged in a dog’s stomach or intestines, resulting in a blockage that may require surgery to clear. They may also cause severe constipation in dogs, which is very uncomfortable.

If the sharp bone shards make it through the intestinal tract, they may also cause discomfort and bleeding when dogs are passing out stools.

Lamb Bones 

Just like beef or ham, lamb bones are large and hard. This makes them good choices for chew treats for dogs. Since they are hard, dogs will take a long time chewing them.

Can dogs eat lamb bones safely?

Yes, dogs can eat raw or uncooked lamb bones safely, provided they are larger than their mouth. Cooked bones, lamb bones included, are off-limits to dogs. This is because cooking dries them and makes them easy to splinter while chewing.

Raw lamb bones contain important nutrients like calcium and phosphorus, which can benefit your dog. Chewing raw lamb bones can help remove dental calculus and improve the dental health of dogs. Additionally, chewing a lamb bone offers a great way to keep a bored dog entertained for a while.

However, just like other bones, feeding lamb bones comes with some risks like possible dental injuries, intestinal blockages, choking, and harmful bacteria infections.

What Else Can Dogs Eat Together with Bones?

While bones like beef, ham, and lamb bones are safe for dogs to consume when fed raw, they also come with some risks. The following foods make better chew treats than bones for dogs:

Carrots: Carrots are not only nutritious but also make excellent chew treats for dogs due to their crunchy texture. What’s more, chewing carrots will help keep your dog’s teeth clean and enhance their dental health.

Besides keeping your dog’s teeth clean and providing stimulation, carrots offer a ton of other benefits. They are low in calories, but high in antioxidants and other nutrients. They are packed with fiber, beta-carotene, vitamins C and K, as well as minerals like potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese. These play crucial roles in supporting the overall health of dogs.

However, carrots can cause choking if dogs ingest them as a whole. You should thus chop them into small pieces before feeding. Carrots should also be fed in moderation, as they are very high in natural sugar and fiber, which can cause digestive issues if consumed in high amounts.

Apples: Feeding apples to your dog will not only keep their teeth clean but also maintain fresh breath. These fruits make healthy snacks for dogs if given in the right way and amount. Apples contain lots of antioxidants which can help ward off diseases, combat the harmful effects of free radicals, and slow down the aging process in dogs.

Apples also contain vitamins C and K which play important roles in boosting immunity, enhancing bone strength and density, ensuring healthy blood coagulation, improving skin and coat health, as well as helping dogs fight diseases.

The high fiber content in apples makes them great for digestion and ideal for dogs struggling with weight issues. They are also rich in calcium and phosphorus, which can enhance bone health. However, apple seeds and cores contain cyanide, which can cause stomach upset if ingested in large amounts.

Peanuts: Dogs can eat raw or plain roasted peanuts safely as long as they are shelled and given in moderation. These are good sources of proteins that dogs need to build healthy muscles and tissues, boost immunity, and provide energy to keep dogs moving.

Other benefits of peanuts for dogs include:

  • Contains vitamin B6 and niacin, which are crucial for strong metabolism
  • Has vitamin E which promotes a healthy immune system and supports healthy skin and coat
  • High in fiber, which is essential for healthy digestion and management of weight
  • Contains a healthy dose of heart-friendly fats, which boosts metabolism and insulates the body against coldness.

Just like other foods, peanuts should be fed in small amounts to avoid giving dogs gastrointestinal upset. They are also very high in fats, which can lead to pancreatitis, obesity, and heart diseases if fed in large amounts.

Broccoli: Dogs can eat both raw and cooked broccoli safely.  It’s loaded with several nutrients like fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that play important roles in the health of dogs. What’s more, its low-calorie count makes it suitable for dogs trying to lose some pounds.

Broccoli is high in fiber, which aids digestion and improves colon and bowel health. It also contains lutein, a nutrient crucial for eye and heart health. Other minerals including sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chromium as well as vitamins A, B, C, D, and E are also present in these vegetables. These play important roles in:

  • Improving immune system health
  • Minimizing inflammation
  • Promoting heart and kidney functions
  • Enhancing metabolism and nervous system functioning
  • Building and maintaining bone health

However, broccoli florets contain isothiocyanates which can cause mild to severe gastric irritation in dogs. As such, this vegetable should be fed in moderation to avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach. 

What are the health advantages of feeding Bones to your dog? 

Feeding bones to dogs presents them with several health benefits, including:

  • Improving dental health: Bones act as natural brush and floss for dogs. As they chew, the sinewy bones help in breaking down tartar and reducing dental diseases. Chewing bones also encourages the production of saliva enzymes, which prevents plaque build-up.
  • Loaded with calcium and phosphorus: Bones are rich in calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for healthy bones. These minerals work together to build and maintain strong bones in dogs.
  • Has glucosamine and chondroitin: Bones come with a healthy dose of chondroitin and glucosamine. These nutrients are necessary for improving joint health, especially in aging dogs.
  • Enhances jaw strength: Since raw bones are hard, chewing them helps to strengthen dogs’ jaws
  • Provides mental stimulation: Chewing bones helps keep dogs mentally occupied, hence reducing anxiety, which is associated with blood pressure and heart diseases.
  • Prevents tummy issues: Raw bones can help keep your dog’s stomach working properly. They have a cleansing and scouring impact on a dog’s digestive tract. Additionally, the extra roughage can not only keep a dog’s bowel movements regular but also stimulate anal gland emptying.

What are the disadvantages of feeding Bones to your dog? 

Despite their health benefits, feeding bones to dogs come with some disadvantages. These include:

  • Choking risk: Dogs may attempt to swallow whole bones, putting them at risk of choking. Pieces of bones can get lodged in the esophagus, throat, or trachea, interfering with a dog’s ability to breathe. This is a medical emergency. 
  • Broken teeth: Bones are hard to chew, which makes it easy for dogs to potentially break their chewing teeth. This is a very painful condition that requires immediate treatment.
  • Intestinal obstruction: Bone fragments may get lodged in a dog’s intestines, causing a potentially fatal blockage that may require emergency surgery to remove.
  • Contamination with pathogens: Raw bones carry harmful bacterias and parasites like Salmonella, E. Coli, and listeria which can make dogs seriously sick.

What are the best dog foods with Bones? 

Raw bones are not only safe but also healthy for dogs to consume. When the right size is chosen, bones can offer several benefits to dogs. They are a rich source of calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for building and maintaining strong bones.

Chewing bones also help in cleaning a dog’s teeth and preventing tartar or plaque build-up. This promotes the dental health of dogs. 

Chewing bones also provides an excellent way of keeping dogs mentally stimulated. This keeps boredom from setting in and prevents dogs from engaging in destructive behaviors.

In recognition of these benefits, dog food brands offer bones in the form of chewable bone treats. Others grind bones and include them in their recipes. Some of the best dog bone treats include:

How Much Bones Should I Feed My Dog? 

While bones are beneficial to dogs, feeding too much can lead to constipation. The general rule is that raw bones should make around 10% of a dog’s diet. However, every dog is unique and may react differently to different bone amounts. It’s thus crucial to introduce bones slowly and gradually into your dog’s diet while accessing its tolerance level.

If you are just starting your dog out on bones, you should feed only twice a week. Ensure you go for bones that are large enough to be chewed and not swallowed at a go.

Before introducing bones to your dog, consult a vet for guidelines on how many bones it can take.

Can dogs digest bones? 

Yes, dogs can digest some bones, but not all of them. This depends on the size and density of the bone. While some can be nice treats, others can be a disaster in waiting. The digestive system of dogs contains a host of specialized enzymes that are capable of breaking down bones. The gastric acid in the stomach also plays an important role in the breakdown of bones.

However, how fast a dog digests bones depends on several factors. These include its activity level, type of diet fed, and water intake among others.

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Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.