Should I Give My Dog Bones?

Throughout history, dogs have been pictured chewing on bones. Perhaps this has made giving bones to dogs a sort of normal activity or tradition. This is particularly true around celebrations when roasted meats are served. Family members may want the dog to be a part of the celebration, so they feed the dog a bone from their plate.

Bones and Dogs

Dogs love to chew on bones, so many people give in and feed their dog a bone. However, many are unaware that giving your dog a bone to chew on is a safety concern. Should you give your dog bones? According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the only answer to this question is no.

Why Are Bones a Danger to Dogs?

  1. One of your dog’s teeth may break. Your dog may bite into a bone that is hard and brittle. It may be too hard for your dog’s tooth to chew and their tooth may break off. If this happens, it will be painful for your pup and it will likely cost you big money to remedy.
  2. The bone may splinter and pierce your dog’s mouth or tongue. The edges become as sharp as a knife when a bone breaks off in your dog’s mouth. This makes all soft tissues of your dog’s mouth vulnerable to being cut.
  3. The dog’s stomach or intestines can be pierced as well. Those same razor-sharp shards of bone that can pierce your dog’s mouth can do damage to your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.
  4. A bone can become lodged around the lower jaw. If the bone is rounded, it can become stuck around the dog’s lower jaw. When this happens, the dog becomes very afraid. Many dogs must be sedated in order to withstand the procedure of the bone being cut off.
  5. Choking is always a possibility. When a piece of bone breaks off, it can become lodged in the dog’s throat, esophagus, or even its windpipe.
  6. Large bones can become stuck in the stomach. If the bone that was swallowed was too big, it may not be able to pass through the dog’s body. As a result, the dog will experience an irritated stomach and vomiting. To remedy the problem, the bone must be removed surgically.
  7. Bones can create a blockage in the colon or small intestines. This emergency situation requires that the blockage be removed surgically.
  8. Raw bones may contain pathogens. If the bones and meat are raw, they may be contaminated with pathogens which may include Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli. Your dog may or may not become sick from eating raw bones.

Safer Alternatives

Does your dog love to chew? Feeding your dog rawhide treats is one option and they won’t splinter as bones do. However, some people are still concerned that large pieces of rawhide may possibly get stuck in their dog’s digestive tract if their dog happens to swallow them. Frozen carrots are a low-calorie snack that most dogs love to munch on. Other options worth trying are deer and elk antlers, perfect for heavy chewers.

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