Do you feed your dog bones?

Have you ever wondered whether or not you should feed your dog bones? You're not alone! For some dogs, bones can be really beneficial. They clean their teeth, provide them nutrition and even mental stimulation. This is the case for many dogs, however bones can cause more harm than good. There are several cases in which your dog should NOT be fed bones.

  1. Dogs that swallow the bone whole. If your dog only chews bones a couple of times before swallowing them, there is a risk of the bone becoming stuck. The bone may cause an obstruction anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract requiring surgery to remove it. In these cases, your dog is unlikely to get any real benefit from chewing the bone once or twice. A dental chew may be better.
  2. Dogs that try to crush the bone. Has your dog ever put the bone right up the back of its mouth and tried to crush the bone all at once? These dogs can easily fracture their teeth trying to crush their bones. A lot of fractured teeth require removal before they get infected.
  3. Dogs that swallow shards of bone. Interestingly we see this more commonly in work dogs that love to chew apart and eat the bone shards. Frustratingly these dogs can often become severely constipated which required intensive medical attention to correct.
  4. Dogs that bury their bones. Would you eat meat that has not been refrigerated? Those dogs that bury their bones only to eat them a day or two later can become severely sick. The meat on these bones becomes covered in bacteria and can even cause food poisoning.

So how should we feed our dogs bones?

Well honestly, I don't... If your dog fits into one of these categories, then the risks may outweigh the benefit and a dental chew may be better. If not, we should feed our dogs bones with lots of meat and take it away once they have eaten the meat. After all the benefit to their teeth is from chewing the meat off the bone and not from chewing on the old bones.

We are lucky to have so many options to help maintain our dog’s dental health with diets and treats specifically designed to reduce plaque and calculus (tartar) build up. You can even brush your dog’s teeth remove the bacteria before it even causes a problem.

If you would like more information of how to care for your dog’s teeth then please feel freeto come in and talk to our trained staff at Launceston Veterinary Clinic.