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Are bones safe for dogs?

Are Bones Safe for Dogs, Picayune Vet

When we think of dogs eating bones, many of us likely assume that any bone will do. Unfortunately, some bones come with unexpected dangers. Here, our Picayune vets answer the larger question of 'Can dogs eat bones?' and share some of the types of bones that are safe for them to eat.

Can dogs eat bones?

Bones are full of vital minerals that help keep dogs healthy. Not only that, when a dog chews on a bone, it stimulates saliva enzymes, which aids in the prevention of plaque buildup and gum disease helping to keep your pup's mouth healthy. Chewing on bones can also help your dog avoid unwanted behaviors as long as they have the stimulation of chewing. While these are all great benefits, there are some tricks that you should be aware of before allowing your pup to chomp down.

So, can you give a dog a bone? Are cooked bones bad for dogs? are beef bones safe for dogs? Here we go over the advantages and disadvantages of dogs having bones and anything else that you may need to know.

What are the benefits of bones for dogs?

Along with the benefits for your dog's oral health, chewing also provides them with mental stimulation and can help curb unwanted behaviors.

Dental Health - Your dog's oral health may be one of the leading reasons to allow your dog to chew on bones. Gnawing on bones can help remove plaque and tartar buildup, preventing gum disease and promoting healthier teeth. The abrasive action of chewing on bones can act as a natural toothbrush for your dog. By taking steps to prevent buildup on the teeth, including at-home oral hygiene, bones and chews to keep teeth clean as well as professional dental care, you can reduce the risk of serious oral issues, potentially avoiding the cost of intensive dental care down the road.

Mental Stimulation - Bone chewing becomes a stimulant for dogs allowing them to avoid boredom and chewing on something they shouldn't. It can be a natural and instinctive activity that keeps them occupied and entertained. Bones can be a great way to alleviate anxiety or redirect destructive chewing behaviors.

Nutritional Value - Bones can be a source of essential nutrients, especially if they are raw bones. They contain marrow, which is rich in fat and can provide dogs with additional calories. Bones also contain calcium, phosphorus, and trace minerals that contribute to overall nutrition.

Are there any dangers for dogs eating bones?

While some bones can provide your dog with vital nutrients, others come with a large risk to their health and safety.

Dental Injuries -Chewing on bones may put your dog at an increased risk of certain health factors. Dogs may crack or fracture their teeth, leading to pain, infection, and the need for dental procedures. Hard bones like weight-bearing bones from large animals are particularly risky.

Choking & Obstruction - There is a case where bones can break apart into tiny fragments that will be unedible due to their increased risk of injury. These shards can also cause intestinal obstructions if swallowed, leading to a life-threatening emergency. Small dogs, aggressive chewers, or dogs prone to gulping are at higher risk.

Digestive Issues - Bones can cause digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, or pancreatitis in some dogs. Fatty bones like marrow bones can lead to gastrointestinal upset, and sharp bone fragments can damage the digestive tract. Dogs with sensitive stomachs or a history of digestive issues should be monitored closely.

What bones are safe for dogs?

Now that we have discussed the benefits and risks of bones for dogs, let's discuss some of the types of bones that are safe for your dog to chew on.

Raw Bones - For natural bones, you should opt for a raw bone that won't cause as much injury. Raw bones are less likely to splinter and cause injuries. Regardless of the type of bones that your dog is chewing on you will need to watch them the entire time that they are chewing.

Synthetic Chews - There are plenty of safe synthetic chew toys available in the market. These products are designed to be durable, non-toxic, and less likely to cause dental or digestive issues. Look for options like rubber chew toys, nylon bones, or specially designed dental chews.

Vet-Approved Treats - Consult with your veterinarian to find appropriate treats that promote dental health and are safe for your dog's specific needs. Dental chews or treats specially formulated to support oral hygiene can be a safer alternative to bones.

How to Choose the Right Bone

Like other treats and foods, you should consult your vet before giving your dog bones for the first time. While bones can provide benefits such as dental health, mental stimulation, and nutritional value, they also come with risks. Dental injuries, choking hazards, and digestive issues are potential concerns that must not be overlooked. This means no cooked beef (or any other animal) bones for dogs! Choose the bone you give them carefully and always monitor them.

As a responsible pet owner, you will need to consider both the risks and benefits before deciding to give your dog a bone. Ultimately, consulting with your veterinarian is crucial in determining whether giving bones to your dog is safe and appropriate for their circumstances. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you would like to learn more about what you can allow your dog to eat and chew on, contact our team at Picayune Veterinary Clinic today to book a consultation for your pup.

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