Are Bones Safe For Dogs ?
It’s a universally known fact that bones are dogs’ favorite chew things. It’s also commonly accepted that it is safe and even healthy to chuck leftover bones to your dog, regardless of size or type. After all, dogs in the wild have always eaten every part of their prey including bones, seemingly without issues. On top of that, wild dogs tend to have beautifully healthy teeth and gums as a result.
But it is really safe to feed any bones to your dog ?
The answer to this question is no and yes. It really all depends on the bone. Although some will claim that any bone, regardless of type or size, is unsafe for dogs and significantly increases their chances of choking or ending up at the vet, other veterinarians will tell you otherwise.
The level of safety, when it comes to chew bones, lies not only in size but also in whether or not the bone has been cooked.
Cooked Bones and Dangers
For many pet owners, that large juicy looking ham or roast bone may seem like a wonderful treat for their beloved pet. However, there are many dangers involved in giving your dog cooked bones of any kind.
When a bone goes through the cooking process it becomes brittle. When a bone becomes brittle it is highly more likely to splinter while being chewed. If splintered bones are ingested they can lead to serious internal injuries for your dog and may even require emergency surgery to be removed.
Aside from the danger factor, cooked bones hold much less nutritional value for your dogs, making them not at all worth the risk of harm.
The list of possible injuries that can occur if you give your dog a cooked bone is long and scary. At the very least a cooked bone can result in broken teeth, requiring pricey visits to the vet for dentistry repairs. Cooked bones can also inflict lacerations in your dog’s mouth, especially on the roof and tongue. Even without a trip to the vet, this experience can be painful and scary for your vet and create quite the mess for you.
If the bone does make it past your dog’s mouth without harm, the next level of threats presents themselves on it’s way from mouth to the stomach. Bone shards can lodge themselves in the esophagus, causing your dog to gag and try to bring it back up. If they are unsuccessful a trip to the vet will be in order for alternate means of removal.
Additionally, if your dog happens to inhale sharply during the chewing and swallowing process, a sliver could make it’s way into the windpipe, interfering with their ability to breathe. This will most definitely require an immediate emergency trip to the vet.
Should the bone make it to the stomach just fine, there is still the high possibility that it can get stuck in the stomach and be unable to pass through to the intestines? This may require surgery or an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and can be quite uncomfortable for your pet and pricey on your pocketbook.
Surgery is also needed should the bone get stuck in the intestines.
In addition to surgical procedures, your dog could develop peritonitis. This is a bacterial infection that occurs when the splintered bone pokes holes in the lining of the stomach or in the intestines. This can get out of hand quickly and be deathly if not treated.
Last, but certainly not least, fragmented bones can lead to constipation in a couple of different ways. Firstly, when sharp fragments scrape the intestine and rectum, it can cause significant enough pain that your dog will have trouble passing stool. In addition, the high calcium content in bones can make your dogs stool very firm, which is also difficult to pass.