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The Bones About Giving Bones to Your Dog

November 14, 2017 at 9:00 AM by Nikki Wardle

Are bones safe for dogs

There are few things that will make a dog happier than a bone.  Dog owners know that they'll get Fido's tail wagging fast if they offer the leftover bones from dinner, and who doesn't like to see a goofy doggy grin on their pup's face?

But are you sure that the bones you're saving for your dog are safe? It turns out, there are bones that could cause serious issues for your dogs—even turning fatal in the worst cases. Here's what you need to know about giving your dog a bone.

Your Dog and Bones

Many pet owners don't think twice about giving all sorts of bones to their dogs, but they could be in for a nasty realization. Bones—even store-bought ones marketed for dogs—aren't all created equal, and it's imporant that pet owners know how to identify the safest kind before giving them to their dogs.

What's Safe

  • Raw bones: Some pet owners may be surprised to know that raw bones are often safe for dogs. Raw chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, or oxtail bones are safe and healthy for dogs. These bones are even beneficial for your pup and help maintain dental health and providing an enjoyable treat.
  • Toy bones: There are many kinds of recreational bones on the market today, and some of them are a great choice for hours of chewing enjoyment for your dog. These are a popular choice for dog owners whose pets like to chew (maybe a little too much; just ask your slippers) and who want to provide a simple treat.

What's Unsafe

  • Cooked bones: As a rule, it's best to assume that cooked bones are a no-no as they're susceptible to splintering and can cause serious internal injury to your dog. This is especially true of cooked poultry and fish bones.
  • Some recreational bones: Stay aware of what kinds of bones you purchase for your dog. Some aren't made of high-quality material and can cause intestinal blockage if swallowed. Be sure to buy toy bones that are made with high-quality ingredients and are appropriate for your dog's age and size.

What Can Go Wrong

Bones can be a serious safety hazard to dogs if not given with caution. Dogs who suffer from ingesting cooked or low quality bones can end up in the veterinary hospital for days and need fluid, therapy, antibiotics, x-rays, and even major surgery. There's no reason to risk your dog's safety if you aren't sure about a particular bone; always err on the side of caution. Discuss your concerns with your vet if you're unsure.

Besides intestinal blockage and infection, dogs can also experience tooth issues from gnawing on some bones. Be sure that you're not giving bones too often and look out for signs of cracked teeth or dental pain.

For more information about what's safe to give your dog and what's not, contact us today.

Topics: Pet Care

Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki has been writing for Intermountain Pet Hospital since 2014.