A good chewing session is the equivalent to you spending 10 minutes brushing and flossing your pups teeth. For anyone who has tried brushing their dogs teeth you know this is not an easy task to accomplish and generally means you end up covered in drool and doggy toothpaste. Chewing eliminates that chore and will help to prevent the buildup of tartar and plaque, keeping your piggy bank full and your dog happy.
Can bones be dangerous? Yes, if you don’t educate yourself and watch what you give your pooch to gnaw on but they are also a necessity to the health of your dog’s mouth, jaw and overall health especially if they are consuming a raw diet.
NEVER EVER, EVER give your dog cooked bones.
Cooked bones are brittle and will splinter causing all sorts of medical headaches like broken teeth and cuts to the inside of the mouth or tongue. Cooked bones can lodge themselves in the esophagus or intestines, cause rectum bleeding and even Peritonitis (a bacterial infection caused when bone splinters poke holes in the stomach or intestines) among may other medical catastrophes.
There are two category of bones; edible and recreational.
Edible (Uncooked) bones are the non-weight bearing bones of birds such as chicken wings and chicken/turkey necks. They are soft, flexible and easily crushed in a meat grinder and sprinkled or mixed into your dog’s food. These bones are essential if you are considering or are currently feeding your dog a raw diet. They provide an excellent source of calcium, phosphorous and trace minerals that can sometimes be a difficult to otherwise properly find and incorporate into your dog’s diet.
Recreational(Uncooked) bones, which are more common and are likely what many of you will or should be giving to your dogs, are bigger bones such as the femur or hip bones of bison. A good recreational bone will have an ample amount of cartilage, soft tissue and will be filled with marrow.
* Provide bones AFTER meal time to avoid hungry pains influencing your dog to try and break chunks off to swallow.
* ALWAYS supervise your dog when they have any chew toy, including bones.
* In a multi-dog household always separate dogs to avoid fights over bones
*Give your dog bones on surfaces that are easy to clean and or wash as they will likely make a mess!
*Don't give your dog raw bones with marrow if they have had restorative dental work
*Don't give raw marrow filled bones to dogs who have been diagnosed with Pancreatitis
*Don't give bones to dogs who will try to swallow or break big chucks off for consumption.
Another controversial topic among dog enthusiast and owners are Rawhides. Are they safe?
Rawhides are made from the inner layer of horse and cow hides. They are cleaned, cut, ground up and eventually pressed into the various shapes you see available in stores. To make this treat more appealing often times manufactures add chicken, beef or sometimes even liver flavorings.
The same benefits of gnawing on bones applies to Rawhides. It's can be a great way to reduce anxiety, clean teeth and strengthen jaw muscles but, just like any other processed food, there is a greater likelihood that your dog could have an allergic reaction to either the hide itself or any of the ingredients used in it's production.
The risks associated with giving your dog a rawhide are relatively low provided it is not a frequent activity but can still be very serious. You should monitor their chew time and keep an eye out for any of the following symptoms:
-Diarrhea (With or without blood)
-Refusal to eat or weight loss
If your dog displays any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately.
Rawhides are easily found in pet and grocery stores but can be easily broken apart and swallowed but your dog, supervision is a MUST. The hide itself is not as easily broken down within the digestive system so blockages and tares are much more likely. If your dog is an aggressive chewer, I would advise staying away from Rawhides.
With over 10 years of experience through ownership and rescue work, I hope to share my knowledge and insight to happier, healthier fur kids. Have a question, feel free to ask!