There are many contradictory opinions as to whether we should give bones to our dogs. However, we all agree that most dogs love bones. Consequently, bones are an integral part of many dog diets, and there are numerous reasons for this sentiment.
Bones are believed to positively impact the growth of dogs and ensure their well-being. Bones are a healthy meal for our dogs as they provide essential nutrients, minerals, and calcium in particular. Bones also tend to keep dogs occupied and away from mischief, such as biting your shoes.
Bones are also given to puppies to trigger the growth of their adult teeth. Besides this, chewing on bones is believed to reduce plaque accumulation and tartar on your dog’s teeth. There are many advantages to including bones in your dog’s diet.
1. How long do dog bones last?
While it is recommended that you give your dog raw meat bones, You should take these bones away from your dog after a chewing session of about 15 minutes. The bone can then be preserved by refrigeration.
A bone should also be disposed of after three days (1). This measure is taken to keep the bone from splintering as the dog chews it. Bones tend to become dried out and weak after three days, making them prone to breakage. You can only leave out raw bones for dogs for less than 12 hours during warm days. Dogs may also hurt their teeth with old and frozen bones.
2. How long do you boil bones for dogs?
Dogs should ideally be given raw marrow bones obtained from a butcher. A vet will be better placed to advise you upon close interaction with your dog. If the vet recommends softened bones for your dog, this may necessitate boiling bones for your dog.
These bones can also be prepared as soup bones. For this, you should boil the bones for about 24 hours. Once cooked, this soup is allowed to cool, and the cooked bones are removed. It would be commendable if you tried not to give these cooked bones to your dog. Cooked bones are low in nutrients and pose a physical danger to your dog as they tend to break and splinter.
3. How do dogs digest bones?
Dogs are proven to have extremely shortened digestive cycles. This cycle is also heavily dependent on the size of the dog’s breed. As a plus, the stomach acid in a dog’s stomach can dissolve a sizeable amount of bones. Small bones will, therefore, pass very easily, which is usually within 12 hours of consumption.
However, this thought should not encourage dog owners to feed their dogs cooked bones and chicken bones. These bones pose more danger to the animal’s digestive system in case they break or splinter. Take the initiative to talk to your vet when you realize that your dog has swallowed a bone.
4. At what age can I give my puppy a bone?
Vets and experts postulate that it is possible to start giving ones to your puppy after 12 weeks (2). However, dog owners should approach this step in their feeding cycle with caution.
The puppies should only be given raw bones for a start. These raw bones are harder for them to splinter and still provide a considerable amount of nutrients to the dogs. It would also be best if dog owners gave their puppies sizable bones, preferably larger than their muzzle length and can’t be swallowed.
Introduce puppies to bones slowly as their teeth may still not be fully developed. Puppies also have extremely sharp teeth that can shard small bones and injure them.
5. What will happen if my dog eats a rib bone?
Upon realization that your dog is eating rib bones, it would be best to get rid of any remaining bones. Dog owners are then advised to inspect their dog’s throat for any stuck bones. Cooked bones, especially rib and chicken bones, tend to splinter easily, and this is accompanied by hazards such as choking and gastrointestinal injuries.
Common signs that a dog has swallowed a bone include gagging, raspy panting, vomiting, digestion issues, and blood in the stool. At this point, it would be commendable to reach out to a vet for assistance. If none of these red lights shows that your dog is in any form of discomfort, then be patient and wait for the dog to pass the digested bone. Dogs have the inherent ability to dissolve small raw bones.
6. Are smoked bones okay for dogs?
The correct smoked bones can be good and safe for your dog. Smoked ones are ideally given to dogs for their calcium and protein content, which is considerably higher than with other bones. These bones are mostly used to supplement the missing nutrition in dog food. It all comes down to how the dog owner prepared the smoked bones.
Smoked bones can become brittle and vulnerable to splintering when put under pressure. This nature makes them a risk for gastrointestinal injuries and choking. They should therefore be correctly prepared and checked for brittleness before being given to dogs. However, it is preferred that tick bones are prepared steamed or smoked before being delivered to dogs. Small bones such as chicken bones should not be smoked and given to dogs.
7. Should I boil marrow bones for my dog?
It is not advisable to boil marrow bones as this makes the bones brittle, allowing them to splinter and break while the dog chews on them. These fragments and shards pose a health hazard as they could lead to gastrointestinal injuries and blockages. Dogs should instead be given raw marrow bones.
8. Can dogs eat too much bone marrow?
While raw marrow bone is an ideal consideration for dogs, large marrow amounts, just like fat, can lead to health complications. Marrow tends to be very rich, and intensive consumption can trigger pancreatitis in dogs. Bone marrow and marrow bones may also not be ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs, as it could lead to diarrhea.
9. Can dogs eat smoked lamb bones?
Lamb’s bones are a great preference for dogs. Dog owners should be keen to note that raw lamb bones are the most ideal. Cooked lamb bones, much like other cooked bones, can splinter and injure your dog. Raw lamb bones are spongy and chewy, which means they can easily be chewed, swallowed, and digested. However, it would be best if you disposed of these lamb bones once they reach a size that your dog can swallow. Smoked lamb bones should be large and well prepared to avoid injuring the dog as it chews. Dogs can therefore eat smoked lamb bones but with close supervision.
10. Can I give my dog frozen raw bones?
Raw bones are the ideal bones for dogs and can easily be purchased from a butcher and stored in a freezer. This freezing allows you to store considerable amounts of bone for a significant period.
Upon removal, however, you must remember to thaw out these bones before giving them to your dog. If these raw bones are still frozen, they are too hard, and dogs may hurt their teeth while attempting to chew on them (3). Ultimately the responsibility of the dog owner will determine the safety of these bones for their dogs.
11. Can you freeze raw bones for dogs?
Raw bones can only be frozen when they are new. This sentiment means that dog owners should only freeze bones after being purchased as raw bones from the butcher. They can then be kept refrigerated or frozen.
These bones should, however, be thawed out before giving them to your dog for consumption. Old ones that have run out of marrow should be thrown away. Refrigerated bones should be given back to the dog after a day of storage or otherwise tossed away.
Also read: Best Dog Bones for German Shepherds