A Bone to Pick

The FDA recently updated a 2015 consumer report that warns against giving dogs “bone treats.” The agency regularly updates reports around this time of year to remind pet owners about the potential problems associated with giving bone treats or turkey/chicken bones during the holidays. Illnesses reported to FDA by owners and veterinarians in dogs that have eaten bone treats have included: choking, intestinal blockages, mouth wounds, vomiting, diarrhea and/or even death.

What exactly is a bone treat? The FDA says bone treats differ from uncooked butcher-type bones because they are processed and packaged for sale as dog treats. At Noble Beast we are picky about the bones we sell. We only carry brands that are 100% sourced, made and packaged in the US. We carry raw frozen bones, as well as freeze-dried bones and bones have been slowly cooked so as to maintain the same strength and breaking points as raw bones. When the proper moisture level is maintained in the cooked bone, there is no difference in the consistency of the bone materials.

As with any chew, treat, toy or food, there is a risk when you give a dog a bone. You should never provide your dog with any chew toy or treat as a way to keep them busy when you are gone or doing something else. Always supervise your dog during chew time. Here are some additional tips from Jones Natural Chews to help you choose the right bone for your dog and keep them safe.

Choosing the Right Bone:

Size

Make sure the bone is large enough for the size of the dog. If the bone is small enough to fit in the dog’s mouth, it is too small. It needs to be at least slightly larger around than the lower jaw of the dog.  Also, when the bone has been gnawed down to a considerably smaller size that will fit in the dog’s mouth, it should be taken away.

Bone Consistency

Make sure you choose a bone that is the right density for your dog. Pork and lamb bones are softer bones and are only recommended for light chewers. Beef bones are adequate for most chewers, the shank bone and knee cap being the hardest, most dense bones available.

Proper Consumption

A bone is meant to be slowly gnawed down. This provides the plaque removing benefits to the teeth and gives the dog a great chewing experience. If large pieces or slivers of bone are being removed, make sure to take away the pieces broken off or take away the entire bone and try a different type of bone or chew. Knuckles contain soft cartilage material which will be completely consumed and the center bone piece left should be slowly gnawed.

Avoiding Risks:

Broken Teeth

Be aware of the type of chewer your dog is. There are many levels of chewers from dainty, to average, to over-aggressive. If your dog is one of the over-aggressive chewers and can easily break pieces off bones, you should either choose from two of the hardest beef bones available, shank bone or knee cap, or you should give another type of chew such as bully sticks.

Mouth or Tongue Injuries

This type of injury will occur with chewers that are able to easily break pieces off the bone. Go with harder bones or stick with bully sticks. Other types of chewers experience benefits to their mouth, tongue and teeth by chewing on bones. It helps remove plaque and keep the mouth clean.

Bone Gets Looped Around Dog’s Jaw

Make sure you choose a bone large enough for the dog’s mouth size so the bone is never small enough to get stuck around the jaw.

Bone Fragment Situations

It is important to monitor your dog with the bone and choose the right bone for the dog.   If the dog is able to quickly consume the bone, it is not the right bone for the dog. Bones should be slowly gnawed down by the dog, they are not meant to be ingested. This provides the benefits of the natural grease and marrow for healthy skin and shiny coats as well as providing teeth cleaning by removing plaque. If the dog is able to remove large chunks or spiky pieces off the bone, the bone should be taken away. Choosing the right bone will provide hours of chewing pleasure for the dog while avoiding potential risks.