Bones can be an enriching treat for your dog. Chewing can relieve boredom, anxiety and stress, and helps keep your dog's teeth clean. However, bones can be also harmful to dogs. Today, our Clarksville vets explain.

Are bones good for dogs?

The most common answer is yes.In addition to providing your dog with nutrition and minerals, bones satiate their appetite. Chewing stimulates the production of salivary enzymes, which helps to prevent gum disease and plaque buildup. Furthermore, a dog is less likely to excessively lick or scratch his paws when it is chewing on a dog bone.

So can you give a dog a bone?

A better question to ask is "should dogs chew bones?"

In general, raw bones tend to be better for dogs than cooked bones. So if you ever wondered "are cooked bones bad for dogs?" the answer is yes, but again, in general.

This is because, although cooked bones are more likely to cause this, splinters from raw or cooked bones can seriously injure or even kill your dog if they get into their mouth or digestive system. A dog that gnaws on raw or cooked bones may experience the effects listed below.

  • Lacerations or punctures to the gums and tongue
  • Cuts and wounds to the throat
  • Damaged or broken teeth
  • Choking
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe constipation
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Perforation of the intestines
  • Rectal trauma and bleeding

What bones are not safe for dogs?

Cooked Chicken and Turkey Bones: These bones are most likely to splinter. Small bones are also more prone to getting lodged in the throat and esophagus than larger, more solid bones.

T-Bones: T-bones, due to their shape, can become stuck in a dog's throat while the other end is down the esophagus or trachea. This can lead to severe swelling that can block the airway, preventing your dog from breathing.

Small Bones and Circular Bones: Anything that is too small for your dog's mouth or could break easily should not be given to them. Both can harm the mouth and digestive system and increase the risk of choking. The lower jaw of a dog may get trapped by circular bones, which makes them very undesirable. Because of their fear of this, dogs often need to be sedated in order to cut the bone that releases their jaw.

What bones can dogs eat?

Generally, you want to get raw bones from a reputable butcher large enough to be easily grasped and about the size of your dog's head. It should also have bulges or lumps on both ends.

There are still dangers even though raw bones are thought to be a "safe" bone option. Your dog may still have a splintered bone, cut gums, or broken teeth. Overindulging in bone chewing may lead to constipation. The bone needs to be refrigerated before use and thrown out after a few hours.

General Rules for Bone Safety

If you are considering giving your dog a bone, here are some general safety rules to follow:

  • Serve raw meat bones.
  • After 10 to 15 minutes, remove the bone from your dog and place it in the refrigerator.
  • After three or four days, discard the bone.
  • Give large bones to large breeds like German Shepherd Dogs, Bloodhounds, and Mastiffs.
  • When you give your dog a bone, keep an eye on him.
  • Be an educated consumer
Do Not:
  • Give your dog the wrong type of bone.
  • Don't give your dog cooked bones of any kind.
  • Allow your dog to chew any type of bone into small pieces.
  • Don't give your dog a bone if he has stomach problems.
  • If another dog is visiting, don't give your dog a bone to chew on.
Are you still wondering what kinds of bones are safe for your dog to chew? Contact our Clarksville vets today and we'd be happy to answer any questions you have.