A Dog Bone Safety Guide: Giving You Pup Dog Bones!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

pup with dog bone in mouthGiving Fido a dog bone may seem like a straightforward thing. It’s a basic primal need, right? Don’t dogs eat bones in the wild? The answer isn’t quite so simple. There are some bones you can safely give your dog and some bones that are a definite no-go for your friend Fido.

The most important thing is that you need to play it safe when you are thinking about bones to give your dog. Read on for the reasons why.

Raw vs Cooked Bones: What’s the Difference?

There are as many differences between raw and cooked bones as there are opinions that vary on the safety of them! Vets and experienced dog owners alike may have perfectly valid reasons for and against giving dogs animal bones.

The debates are not only around raw versus cooked but, but also about the safety around the size of the bone, and the species they come from.

Most dogs love to chew. Chewing and gnawing provide mental stimulation for dogs. It also helps to keep teeth clean and generates enzymes that help with the prevention of gum disease. The problem with feeding your dog animal bones is that the bones themselves can fracture and harm your dog.

Dogs can get injuries to their mouths and throats from bone shards and fragments. Bone fragments and pieces can also cause internal injuries and gastrointestinal obstruction or blockages.

In terms of raw versus cooked bones, in a nutshell, raw bones are the safer option to give a dog, but not all types and sizes are equally safe. You can’t give a large dog a small bone, and vice versa.

You should also always supervise, or be close by your dog when they are eating any bone in case they do run into problems.

Throwing your dog cooked steak bones, ham bones, or the turkey carcass after Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is not an option! Cooked bones are a definite no-go!

happy dog and bone

2 Reasons Why all Cooked Dog Bones are A No-Go!

  1. Cooked bones become brittle and break easily. Splinters from cooked bones often cause lacerations. This means they can create cuts and wounds in your dog’s mouth, throat, and intestines.
  2. Small pieces of cooked bones can also block the passages of your dog’s throat, intestines, and bowels. As you can imagine, having a bone stuck in your digestive tract is not pleasant and can result in costly surgery if not death.

2 Reasons Why Certain Raw Bones are Considered Less Dangerous

  1. Raw bones usually still have more raw meat and marrow attached. Especially those you buy from a butcher specifically for dog consumption. These may include femur bones, knuckle bones, and long bones. The edible morsels of raw meaty bones not only contain minerals and nutrients, but they also help a dog to digest any bone consumed. Do be careful though of giving your dog real bones, such as rib bones. These are small, so they break easily and your dog may try to swallow the bone whole.
  2. Raw bone tissue is softer and more pliable. This means when a dog does consume raw bone fragments (and they will) they are more likely to digest the bone. If the bone isn’t broken down through the digestive process, it is easier to move through the through the dog’s digestive system.

Always think safety first when it comes to feeding your dog. After all, your dog is man’s best friend, or woman’s best friend, as the case may be!

If you’ve got a dog that chows down rapidly, even the safest type and size of raw bone may be too much of a choking hazard to risk feeding your beloved pet!

Similarly, you might, like many others, think the risks involved in feeding animal bones directly to your fur baby is simply not worth it.

Does Your Dog Have Dental? They Might Need it for Their Broken Teeth!

That’s right! If you are considering feeding your dog raw bones and you don’t have pet insurance like pet premium, you may find yourself wishing you had.

Chewing bones does have a positive effect in that it helps your dog generate the saliva and enzymes that help with oral health and dental hygiene. However, broken teeth are a common result of chewing real bones!

If you give a dog a bone that is too big, they are likely to try so hard to get into it that they chip and break their teeth. It’s not only their teeth that can suffer, your wallet and bank balance are also likely to suffer as well! Unless you’re willing to pay for root canal for your dog, the vet will most likely remove any broken teeth.

There are Delicious Chews that Will Keep Those Teeth Clean!

A far safer option of helping your dog with their oral hygiene is to give your dog products designed to help them keep their teeth clean! You can find dog chews made of long-lasting materials, with enticing flavors that dogs love and will salivate over.

If you have a dog that resists a toothbrush, brushing chews are clever ways to get the job done with the added bonus of being a healthy treat.

The Best Bones for Dogs who Can’t Be Trusted with Real Bones

Luckily, there are plenty of dog bone alternatives out there to choose from. Some look exactly like bones, others don’t. But they all do the same job of giving your dog something to chew on with a bonus nutritional boost.

Do make sure you buy products approved by the food and drug administration to ensure you’re only putting the good stuff into your dog’s mouth. There are reports around of chemically treated rawhide products doing more harm than good.

So do your homework and read feedback and user content reviews on websites to gauge how dogs respond to the range of products out there.

spaniel getting milk bone dog treats

Don’t Give a Dog a Bone: Give Them Treats and Chews Instead

In the “it looks just-like-a-bone but isn’t” category check out alternative dog bone treats and alternative dog bone chews made from real meat and vegetables. These types of dog bone treats and chews are usually developed with special recipes.

They can give your dog the same nutritional boost they may get from chewing on an actual bone, but with the reduced risk of injury from swallowing bone fragments. Some, like the Smartbones brand, recognizable by their black dog logo, are rawhide free. Rawhide treats are not the safest option out there!

Safe Dog Bones for Chewing Don’t Need to Be Edible!

For a dog that likes to call a dog bone their own, you can also find replica bones that will last and last. Non-edible bones are often flavored with the type of meat products that attract your dog’s acute sense of smell and taste buds. Because they’re made of durable materials, your dog will get a longer lasting chew that they can enjoy more than once.

Why Not Make Your Own Bones? All You Need is a Dog Bone Cookie Cutter!

There are plenty of good recipes around for making your own homemade doggie biscuits. Why not go that extra mile, and shape them like bone treats.

Dog Bone Cookie Cutters come in shapes and sizes to suit every sized dog. Pack your homemade bone treats full of ingredients you know are good for your dog, shape them like a bone and you’re sure to be onto a winner.

What to do When Your Dog Ate Chicken Bone or Turkey Bone

If your dog has managed to sneak the cooked chicken bones or turkey bones off your plate, first of all, don’t panic. Odds are they will be fine. You should, however, keep a very close eye on them.

First, if they are showing any signs of gagging or choking, take a look in their throat to see if there is a bone stuck that you can safely dislodge. If you can’t, get your dog to your veterinarian straight away for them to safely remove any stuck fragments.

Otherwise, keep a close eye on your dog for around 48 hours. The dog bone may either be digested or pass through your dog’s system. Signs to look out for that may show there is a problem include vomiting diarrhea, retching, drooling, panting, or restlessness. They may be tired, have a lack of appetite and start displaying odd body movements or acting out of character.

puppy looking at dog bone cookie cutter treats

Pet owners should always seek veterinary advice when worried about any of these being a sign of a stuck bone requiring emergency surgery. These symptoms can also be signs of other pet illnesses that require veterinary medicine.

From Milk Bone Dog Treats to Dog and Bone Toys: There are Safe Options Out There!

Are you looking for a bone themed way to give your dog treats and toys when you are training or playing? If your dog is part of your gift giving list during the festive season, these also make great stocking stuffers!

Milk-Bone Dog Treats are tasty delights made with real meat and fortified with extra vitamins and minerals.

There’s also nothing like a favorite toy! Double the fun for your pet and make it a bone treat as well. Use dog bone toys as a special reward during training or during play for fun.

Common Questions on Giving Dogs Bones

What are the benefits of giving dogs raw bones?

Why are cooked bones bad for dogs?

Can chewing on bones break a dog’s teeth?

All product and Company names are Trademarks™ or Registered® trademarks of their respective holders.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase CertaPet.com may earn a commission. Keep in mind that we link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission we receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Disclaimer: This post may contain references to products from one or more of our partnered sites, Honest Paws and Vets Preferred. However, CertaPet content is to be used for educational and informational purposes only. Please seek veterinary advice for your own situation. For more on our terms of use, visit this page