by Doris Donnerman
(last updated February 17, 2009)
In the movies we always see the dog chewing on a nice, hard bone. It just seems natural that dogs eat bones and that a dog should always have a bone. This is a delusion! It actually is not healthy for your dog to have a bone and you should avoid it. There are severe health issues surrounding the "traditional" dog bone and once you know the safety precautions, you'll be good to go with keeping your dog safe and sound.
The thing about bones is that when the dog is chewing on them, the bone could shatter, leaving bone splinters inside the mouth, cutting the tissue, and maybe even choking the dog. That is not a good thing. This cardinal rule of dog bones applies primarily to cooked bones. When you cook the meat on the bone, you weaken the bone, making it more pliable, and therefore easier to break. Instead, you should buy your dog a rawhide chew or similar at the pet store.
Raw bones are more acceptable. Raw bones are typically more durable and don't pose any significant threat to pets. (You should be aware that larger breeds are more capable of swallowing the bones, in which case, bones are definitely not a good idea). Raw bones are actually pretty good for dogs, even tiny puppies; pups fed on raw bones will be far less likely to chew up the house, plus, they grow slower and do not get obese as easily as dogs fed on commercial foods. Raw bones are also great for teeth, cleaning like no rawhide chew ever will.
You should approach all kinds of bones with a degree of caution, to prevent any problems with your canine. Check with your vet about what is best for your dog, and you might want to do some research on your own to make sure that bones are an acceptable treat for your particular dog breed.
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