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Are Bones Good for Dogs? Everything You Should Know

Madelene Hissom · Nov 1, 2021

Author: Janine DeVault

It’s well-known that dogs are a fan of bones, but there’s a lot of conflicting information out there about whether or not they are safe for dogs. Bones even offer a variety of benefits for dogs, such as providing vitamins and minerals and supporting dental health.  

Below, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits of bones and offer tips for which bones are safe for your pup and which you should avoid. 

Let’s dig in!   

Benefits of bones 

Bones offer many benefits to dogs. Firstly, bones are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium and phosphorus, which support healthy skin, nails, coat, and more. Secondly, the act of chewing a bone helps strengthen your dog’s jaw and clean their teeth. 

Not to mention, chewing a bone provides mental stimulation that dogs desperately need. This, in turn, helps dogs release anxiety and reduces their tendency to do things like chew your furniture, bark, and other such bad habits. 

 

Which bones are safe for dogs? 

While bones can be a great treat for dogs, it’s important that you select the right type of bone for your dog. One potential hazard of bones is that they can splinter into sharp pieces which could harm your dog’s throat, esophagus, or intestines. 

And while it might be tempting to give your dog leftover bones from your plate, it’s safer not to. Fully cooked bones could actually break easier than raw bones and pose health risks to your dog.  

Below are some bones than are safe to your pup and that come with all the benefits your dog is craving. Of course, just to be on the safe side, you should always supervise your dog when chewing a bone and remove it if it begins to fracture.  

Raw Bones 

Raw chicken, lamb, or beef bones are safe for dogs to chew. They are soft enough that there is little risk of the bones fracturing into harmful pieces, and your dog should be able to digest the bone easily.  

Of course, you should always keep an eye on your dog while chewing the bone, just to be sure. If the bone particles are too large, they could pose a choking hazard. Keep an eye on your dog’s stool after they chew a bone to ensure it looks normal.

If you give your dog raw bones, ensure they are fresh, as rotten bones could upset your dog’s stomach. To be on the safe side, handle raw bones just as you would raw meat for humans-- keep them cold and free of contamination. To be extra safe, blanch raw bones in boiling water for about a minute before offering them to your dog; this will kill off bacteria without allowing the bone to become brittle. 

Marrow Bones 

 Natural Farm Pet marrow bones for dogs

Natural Farm marrow bones are an irresistible treat for most dogs. The marrow is full of tasty fat, and the exterior of the bone is pleasing to gnaw on. Because marrow is so rich, these bones may upset your dog’s stomach, so offer them in moderation. 

Hooves 

Mutt biting a Natural Farm Pet cow hoof a human holds on to

Hooves aren’t technically bones, but they offer a similar tactile experience without the risk of fracturing into pieces. Natural Farm cow hooves can be stuffed with peanut butter, mashed pumpkin, and other yummy substances to create a delectable chew for your dog.  

Slow-cooked bones 

German Shepherd lying on rocks by a lake next to Natural Farm Beef Rib Bones

Slow-cooked bones are prepared in a manner that kills off any harmful bacteria without letting the bone become brittle and prone to fractures. Natural Farm Beef Rib Bones have been cooked using this process. They offer a great source of iron and other minerals and are hormone-free and chemical-free.  

Safety tips for bones 

Here are a few safety guidelines for offering bones to your dog: 

  • Make sure the bone is large enough that your dog won’t accidentally swallow it as it might be a choking hazard. 
  • Remove the bone if it dries out, as dry bones can become brittle and fracture 
  • Take the bone away if your dog’s mouth begins to bleed to avoid exacerbating the injury 
  • If you notice your dog breaking bits of the bone off and eating them, remove the bone as bone shards can be harmful.  

Ultimately, bones make an excellent treat for dogs as long as you take care to choose safe varieties (such as those listed above) and keep a watchful eye on your dog as they chew. For additional peace of mind, seek advice from your veterinarian before offering your dog a bone.