The overwhelming majority of pet dogs are fed dried food. Owners often don’t consider incorporating raw bones into their dog’s diet. This is despite the known benefits of feeding raw bones to dogs.
Advantages of Raw Bones for dogs.
Raw bones are great for oral health. The gnawing action cleans the teeth, massages the gums and removes any small particles of food which could be trapped between the teeth. These food particles contribute to the build up of plaque on the teeth.
Research has shown that not only do raw bones prevent plaque , but a switch to raw bones will remove plaque and tartar that is already there. Tartar is hardened plaque which is one of the main causes of gum disease.
Bones add roughage to the dog’s diet and leads to a flourishing digestive tract and healthy fecal motions.
Fresh, meaty bones contain essential minerals and protein.
They also contain many trace elements which are essential to a dog’s health. As well as being rich in Omega 3 fats, they contain glucosamine, calcium and phosphorous.
Some Considerations When Feeding your Dog Raw Bones.
Source the bones from a supplier where you can be confident that the bones are fresh and have not been left out of refrigeration for any length of time. You want to be sure that they are not contaminated by harmful bacteria. For the same reason, you should dispose of any meat or bones that has not been eaten within 24 hours of defrosting.
Feed bones and meat pieces which are appropriate in size for your dog’s age and size.
Older dogs should be fed softer bones or meaty chunks.
Do not leave a dog chewing a bone unattended and never give a dog bone if there are children around.
Your dog may consider a bone to be a high value item. If you have more than one dog, you should completely separate them before feeding meat or bones.
Most dogs love offal but this should only be fed sparingly and shouldn’t make up more than 5% of the total diet. An excess can lead to diarrhoea and hypervitaminosis A. This is where there is too much vitamin A in the body and can led to toxic symptoms.
Is It Safe To Feed Raw Bones To Dogs?
Never feed your dogs cooked bones. These can splinter and cause damage to the teeth and digestive system.
Do not feed your dog cut bones, especially those that have been cut lengthways.
Bones should be larger than your dog’s head. They are to be gnawed on – not swallowed whole.
Start feeding your dog bones when he is a puppy. This way they develop the correct gnawing motion from an early age. Dogs who are fed bones for the first time when they are older may suffer from chipped or broken teeth.
Other Factors To Consider
Whether or not to feed a dog bones is one of the most controversial and widely discussed aspects of dog ownership.
Before you make a decision, you should research the topic fully and get some advice from your veterinarian.
Some dogs cannot tolerate bones and can get diarrhoea and vomiting.
The calcium in bones can lead to constipation.
Bone feeding can lead to resource guarding.
Remember, your pet dog is a number of generations removed from wild dogs and, over that time, has developed a different jaw shape and size.