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Dogs and Bones: Not a Match Made in Pet Heaven

Today’s pet parent is more informed than ever about canine nutrition, and now experts say bones may be off limits or even harmful for their beloved pooch.

Raw vs. cooked bones

Advocates of feeding a dog raw meat bones say that chewing stimulates saliva enzymes, which helps to prevent plaque buildup on teeth and gum disease.

Even veterinarians say that raw meat bones are best for a dog. But they caution that raw bones can introduce food-borne pathogens like Salmonella into your household, particularly if the bones are left unrefrigerated. 

One thing all vets agree on is that cooked bones are dangerous for dogs! Cooked bones break apart and splinter into chards that can cause choking and damage to a dog’s mouth, throat or intestines. Plus, cooking removes minerals and other nutrients that are healthy for dogs. For nutritional value, read a report on bone composition here.

Talk to your vet about bones

Size, medical conditions and dental health are all factors to consider when choosing to introduce a raw meat bone into your dog’s diet. If you want to give your pet a real bone, the general rule is that it should be larger than the length of a dog’s head so it is impossible to swallow whole.

Dr Sonja Olson, an emergency veterinary medicine doctor, suggests talking to your vet to determine if bones are advisable for your dog—especially for toy breeds.

No bones about this

Just like you wouldn’t leave a child unattended while eating, the same holds true for a dog with a bone. If you’ve been cooking brittle-bone meats like turkey, store trash in a location with a child-proof lock.

A cautionary tail

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has weighed in on kitchen bones and products called "dog bone treats" that are real bones processed and packaged for dogs. The agency cited numerous reports of pet illness related to treats that contained potentially harmful preservatives, seasonings and smoke flavorings.

If you love to treat your pet, Real Chicken & Veggies Flavor Soup Bones are a safe alternative. Soup Bones are slightly rigid with a tender, meaty center. They’re highly digestible with no splintering and, best of all, no worries for you!