Can Dogs Eat Lamb Bones?
A frequently asked question is about the suitability of lamb bones for dogs. In this article, we will discuss the sorts of bones suitable for your dog and those that are not suitable.
Is It Okay To Give Dogs Bones?
The short answer to this question is yes, it is okay to give your dog a bone. The longer answer is a little more complicated and is often a point of contention between animal owners and veterinarians. If you are ever unsure whether to give your lovable pooch a bone, please do check with your veterinarian as they will provide you with the best information for your dog.
Which Bones Are Unsafe For Your Dog?
It may come as a surprise that several types of bones are unacceptable and unsafe to give your dog.
One of the most dangerous bones to give your dog is cooked bones. Cooking bones makes them brittle. Anything that is brittle is prone to splintering. When bones splinter in your dog's mouth, they can lead to a myriad of injuries and ongoing health issues. Splinters caused by brittle bones can lead to damage in their mouth, teeth, palate, and tongue if your dog tries to swallow and does indeed swallow splintered bones that could cause soft tissue damage to their esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
The other bones that are not suitable to give to your dog are small bones and bones from small animals. Bones from small animals like chicken, duck, goose, and turkey are not to be given to your dog.
Which Bones Are Safe For Your Dog?
Now that we have covered what not to give your dog, let's look at what bones you can give dogs!
In a nutshell, you can give your dog big bones from big animals. What does this mean exactly? It means that dogs can eat lamb bones or bones from cows or sheep. It also means that your dog can eat hip or femur bones - these are the largest bones from these animals. Make sure that the bones you give your dog are big, raw, and hard.
Where Do You Get Bones?
It is best to get bones for dogs from your butcher. Ideally, you will make sure that the bones still have some meat or cartilage attached.
Buying bones directly from your butcher will also reduce the risk of contamination due to improper handling.
Alternatives to bones
Any discussion about whether dogs can eat lamb bones needs to include consideration of the alternatives to bones. There are two main alternatives, and they are:
- Store-bought bone treats
Store-Bought Bone Treats
A word of caution with store-bought bone treats. Concerningly, these can cause similar problems to cooked bones. They are often smoked or baked and come loaded with added seasonings, flavorings, and preservatives, all of which can be detrimental to your dog's health and well-being.
Possibly, somewhat surprisingly, rawhides can also cause similar problems as cooked bones. The repeated use of them creates the potential for bacterial contamination leading to digestive issues.
It is best to steer clear of these alternatives and only give your pet, large raw bones!
There are several safety considerations when feeding your dog bones.
Supervise Your Dog When Eating Bones
It should go without saying. However, we will say it just in case! Always supervise your dog when they are eating bones. You never know what could happen at that moment you step away from them. It is also worth noting that bones are not intended to be edible; they are for chewing on only.
Check The Bone Size Is Appropriate For Your Dog
A good rule of thumb to apply for when deciding whether to give your dog a bone is to look at the bone's size compared to the length of your dog's muzzle. If the bone is longer than its muzzle, then it is okay. If the bone can easily fit in your dog's mouth, then it is not suitable for them! A bone that easily fits into their mouth is one that could be swallowed, which could lead to problems.
Are Lamb Chops Acceptable?
As we have stated above, it is advisable to avoid cooked bones. Does this include lamb chops? Yes, it does include cooked lamb chops. Why? Because the bones could splinter, causing injury to your pet. What about uncooked lamb chops? Exercise caution specifically around lamb chops, primarily because of the size of the bones. Check the chop size against the length of your dog's muzzle to help determine if it is appropriate for your pet or not! Remember, if the bone is smaller than your dog's muzzle, do not give them the bone!
Despite the temptation, only use bones once. Yes, we know they can be expensive. However, that is not a good reason to use them multiple times. Bones need to be single-use only!
Gnawing on the bone
Also, pay attention to how hard your dog is gnawing on the bone. If your pet chews on a bone too hard, there is the risk of the bone breaking, which can then pose a choking hazard. Please do supervise your pet when giving them a bone.
When you buy raw bones, you may be able to buy them with marrow. Marrow is the fatty substance inside bones. Bones with marrow are high in fat. This may require an adjustment in their diet if they are consuming lots of marrow. If you want your dog to eat raw lamb, it is best done as part of a balanced diet. Please check with your local veterinarian if you have any concerns about the nutritional content of your dog's food.
Health benefits associated with your dog eating bones
There are two general reasons for giving your dog a bone.
- removing plaque
- reducing inflammation in gums
In the same ways that humans get plaque on their teeth, so do dogs. Raw bones can be a great way to help remove the plaque that builds up on their teeth. It is almost like raw bones act as a toothbrush for your dog's teeth!
Reducing Inflammation In Gums
Chewing on raw bones can be especially helpful in reducing any swelling on your dog's gum. The motion of chewing, nipping, tearing at meaty bones encourages capillary development and helps reduce any swelling.
Raw lamb bones are a great choice for your dog, provided you follow the simple guidelines set out above. While there are alternatives to raw bones, these do not possess the health benefits associated with raw lamb bones.