Your pup surely loves organic food for dogs, just as much as it loves bones. But why exactly does man’s best friend love bones so much and are there any kind of restrictions you should know about? Find all about it in the rows below and you’ll keep your friend happy and risk-free at all times!
The Lovely Bones
You already know the setting – if you want to keep your puppy busy for a period of time, just throw it a bone and it’ll be off your hands. But, although dogs clearly love eating bones since forever, recently some specialists have raised some questions about this behavior. You can pick from many types of bones, but only some are actually good for your dog.
What types of bones are actually good for your old friend and which ones aren’t that good? Why can’t a dog control itself when it sees a bone? Let’s find out together!
A Tale as Old as Time
A dog has the natural instinct of chewing on bones. We could say that they were actually created for doing that. Long before they were domesticated, the easiest way for a dog to eat was to hunt in a pack.
The dogs (or their ancestors) would start surrounding a large prey and then attack it. If they got lucky, they would start tearing it apart and eat everything they could, including bones. To this very day, a stray dog that has hunted something will also eat the bones of the prey.
A domesticated dog still requires basically the same types of nutrients that its ancestors did. Just like with their relatives that still hunt, dogs, as we all know, eat primarily meat and a raw bone can give them exactly the type of nutrients their bodies may need.
The human ancestors gave dogs their scraps of food, alongside bones, thus keeping their area clean and getting the dogs to come back for more. With time, some of the dogs started to rely more on humans for those treats as it was simply easier than all the work that hunting in a pack requires.
Naturally, humans noticed how much those dogs loved the bones, just like they still do today. Thanks to evolution, the skull of a dog has strong teeth and jaws which allows it to be very good at hunting and chewing. Not only do dogs have strong muscles in the jaw area, but they also evolved so that those jaws and teeth can fit well into their skulls.
As a result of these changes, dogs present all the necessary characteristics that are required for chewing a bone, all thanks to their jaws and teeth. Aside from this, dogs also like to chew on bones because of their tasty appeal.
The Bone Collector
Generally, doctors agree that bones can be good for dogs because bones clean their teeth and give them calcium and minerals. Furthermore, bones can reduce the risk of gum disease developing and they firm up the feces of the dogs, removing many toxins from the system. So they can help some dogs a lot!
Now here comes the controversy as some veterinary doctors are warning people of the dangers that come with this activity. Among some well-known problems that can be faced in these situations are cuts in mouths, stomach problems and bleeding rectum, among others.
This is why some doctors recommend using dental bones that are completely natural and to supervise your canine friend when eating a bone. The specialists also recommend offering a bone to your dog after they had a meal so they’ll be less inclined to chew it fast and incorrectly which can prove to be dangerous.
Among the types of bones that are basically forbidden for your dog are rawhide or cooked bones, like the bones that come from birds such as chickens or turkeys because they are very brittle and have the potential to cause serious damage. Natural dental bones and raw meaty bones are the way to keep your four-legged friend happy!
Down to the Bone
So, overall, we can’t say there is a general consensus among dog specialists when it comes to dogs and bones. While some experts don’t see any kind of problems and point out the positive aspects (mental stimulation, prevention of gum disease), not to mention the fact that it is in the dog’s genes to do this, others say to do it only under supervision and with caution.
Some of the problems that may come with eating bones are: broken teeth, injuries of the mouth or tongue, the possibility of getting stuck in the lower jaw, esophagus, windpipe, stomach or intestines, constipation (from the bone fragments), bleeding from the rectum and peritonitis! Yikes!
Although the chances of those things happening are pretty slim, they exist nonetheless and we can see why some people would simply avoid bones altogether when it comes to the diet of their canine best friend. As rare as those things are, they do sound scary for every pet owner!
This is why the advice of keeping the dog under supervision when it comes to eating bones seems like a very sensible one. Also, feeding it bones after it already had a good meal is a very good solution as well because it’ll simply chew on it a bit – enough to get some of the benefits, but without the problems that can appear otherwise.
Play It to the Bone
So we’ve established the fact that dogs love bones as they are delicious, plus they give them mental stimulation, they’re great for muscles and for their hygiene. Chewing on a bone is like a toothbrush for dogs as it keeps the teeth clean, the gums healthy and the breath fresh! But, what you should know is that there are two types of bones you can choose from.
The first group we are going to talk about is that of edible bones. These types of bones can be eaten rather fast, in dozens of minutes or a couple of hours. They tend to be softer and they are hollow (this means they don’t have marrow). This group is highly nutritious and gives your dog all the benefits it requires.
The second group is that of the recreational bones. These types of bones are usually much larger and tougher. As a result, you’ll find pieces of them on the lawn or buried beneath it only for your dog to go back to them after a couple of days and start all over again. Such bones are the femur of a cow or the hip bones which are filled with marrow.
This group is mostly seen as a toy by both the dogs and the owners, as they do offer some dental benefits, but the nutritional benefits that come from them are negligible. These bones also present a higher risk of breaking a tooth than the first group. If they don’t have any problems with the toughness of the bone, the dogs will be happy for many hours!
The Bone Snatcher
So how exactly do you get to know what size of bone is the best size for your dog? The simplest way is to make a match of sorts between the bone size and your dog. Basically, the dog has to be able to chew on the bone and get all the benefits which means it has to be large enough for this but also not small enough so that it would be swallowed accidentally.
Naturally, a small dog will have a preference for the bones that are smaller and softer. Really popular options are the necks and wings of chicken as they don’t present a choking hazard, alongside rabbit bones and even the tails of kangaroos.
Dogs that are of medium sizes will do just fine with the same parts of the chicken (neck and wing), plus chicken frames and the same parts from a turkey. We can add to this: lamb flaps, ribs and brisket bones to ensure their health and happiness.
For the large-sized dogs, you can give them lamb necks and shanks, but also whole rabbits and chickens without fearing something bad will happen to them as these bones are much bigger so they’re exactly the right size for them.