When we first started feeding raw, one of the scariest decisions we faced was what bones to give Maddie. Every story we have ever heard of a dog eating a bone usually included a trip to the vet and spending thousands of dollars for x-rays or surgery. Even as we began to educate ourselves on how to properly feed appropriate bones, we read many dire warnings about cracked teeth, swallowed chicken wings, and other frightening tales!
Bones can certainly be dangerous for dogs. The type of bones that you feed your dog depend on the size of your dog, how aggressive of a chewer she is, and a variety of other factors. It can be a nerve-racking thing throwing your dog a bone for the first time, but if you are doing your homework and feeding appropriate bones, it can become one of the most rewarding things you can do for your dog.
The benefits of feeding your dog bones far out-weigh the risks when properly managed. Dogs following a raw-food diet need sufficient amounts of calcium and bones are a wonderful source of just that. We determine whether or not our dog, Maddie, is getting enough bone/calcium by monitoring her bowel movements. If her poop starts to come out super dry and chalky, we know that it is time to dial back the calcium for the time being.
Feeding your dog bones becomes an even greater experience when you see how hard she works and how occupied she is. We love giving Maddie bones on the days where she is home for longer periods than usual so that she has a little something extra to challenge her physically and mentally (of course we wait until she gets home to give her the bone, dogs eating bones should always be supervised).
There is something simply badass about watching your dog crush a neck bone or a rib. What’s even more impressive, at least in our dog’s case, is when she is finished she simply lays down with the remaining bone next to her as she stares off with a satisfied look on her face. Sometimes, as dog owners, we forget that our dogs know how to naturally do things. If our dogs were in the wild and had to eat, they would hunt and eat without choking on a bone!
If you stop and think about it, eating a bone is as natural for a dog as going to the bathroom, sniffing, wagging his tail, or barking. If dogs were unable to eat meat and bones without choking, their species certainly wouldn’t be as prominent as they are today. Darwin’s theories would have taken over and we would be referring to that silly species that choked itself to extinction.
That being said, our dogs have become very humanized and accustomed to eating things such as kibble, meat “flavored” snacks, and sneakers. We should not put 100% trust in our canine companions when they are eating. It is best practice to keep an eye on our pups and take any small pieces that can be a choking hazard.
Bones are a staple to a balanced raw-diet and should be included weekly. We favor neck bones and rib bones for our 50 pound mutt. They are the right size for her, don’t overwhelm her with too much bone consumption, and keep her busy for a good amount of time. Most importantly, they are low risk for her as they cannot break into small pieces very easily nor are they so tough that they will crack her teeth.
What bones do you feed your dog? We want to know! Leave a comment below!