Giving bones to a dog

carmen_grower_2007(4/5)July 29, 2008

We got a couple of large soup bones (no meat on them but had to pay a good price for them anyway!) for our dog and wonder what to do next. I have read that if you boil them it softens them but what about all that stuff inside that the dog won't be able to get out? Won't it spoil?

I remember years ago that the grocer would just give you dog bones --- those days are long gone, I guess. I don't remember if I boiled them though.

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johanna_h(Z5 SW MI)

I give them to my dogs raw. They get the marrow out of the femurs and then chew the bones with great delight. Cooking bones can make them harder and more brittle -- you don't want chips going down the dog's throat.

If it's the first time your dog has had a raw bone, he might not know what to do with it right off, but he'll figure it out. Some dogs eat them quickly, others savor the marrow for a while.

And by the way, if you enjoy giving your dog marrow bones, shop around. I can get two 6 inch bones for 2-3 dollars total at one local market, but at the upscale butcher the same order would be over 5 dollars! I only made that mistake once!!!


    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 8:50PM
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long ago when I had a dog I gave him the bone raw too. like johanna said he will figure it out

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 11:31PM
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Just a couple of things. . .

I bought my dogs some marrow bones. The grocery store has these prepackaged in about 1 inch slices. One day, my beagle cross seemed quite upset. She had chewed all the marrow out and the bone ring was lodged around her lower jaw, (hooked behind her teeth and under her chin). I used cooking oil to slip it off, but my friend who works in a vet's office said they get many of these every year and sometimes they have to sedate the dog to cut off the bone. $$$ I asked the grocery store to cut the bones at least 2-1/2 inches long. They still have packages of the 1-inch ones for sale. I can tell the butcher gets irritated when I ask them to cut them special. What's the diff if they are cut 2-1/2 or 1 inch? They sell them by the pound.

The other thing is, one dog likes to bury her bones out in the yard. The other dog found one yesterday, chewed on it all afternoon, and then got sick last night. She's okay, but I will try to make sure it doesn't happen again.

They are so happy when they get a real bone treat, its hard not to give them one occasionally.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 6:15PM
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These bones are about 8" long and my initial question was about giving them raw and what happens when the dog can't get to all of the marrow inside? There is no way her tongue is long enough. Doesn't the meat inside spoil?

I boiled the two bones until I could get the insides out, then put one in the freezer. The other one, we gave to her and she thought she was in heaven! I put it away when she went to bed and will bring it out this evening again when she gets into her 'wild time'. She is only 4 mos. old and gets very wild in the evenings.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 6:36PM
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dunwaukin(Ontario 5b)

Just watch their teeth - - our vet told us that too many bones can cause the front teeth to wear down, or develop micro cracks. So they advised us not to give our border collie bones - but then -- collies are bad for chewing anything they can get their hands onto.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 10:49PM
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gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)

Bones should only be given to dogs raw.

Cooking/smoking/drying changes the molecular structure, making them brittle and dangerous.

Beef bones are the worst as far as causing damage to teeth. The "canine" teeth and "incisors" can be worn down to nubs with repeated chewing of hard bones. In the wild, canines chew bones to try to extract nutrients. Old, dried, hard bones are usually not consumed. First choice of wild canines is meat, organs, intestines, with bones and skin as a last choice.

Edible bones such as turkey necks, pork brisket, chicken feet/backs/thighs, pork necks, and chicken necks/wings for tiny dogs, are better choices. They are soft (because these animals are butchered very young), and usually easily digested. Dogs not used to raw foods may "urp" up bone fragments, but that is normal.

I've fed raw to a large number of dogs for nearly 18 years. It is how they are meant to eat. Kibble is nasty stuff, and totally unsuited to a healthy life. Funny how people believe what is on TV, or on a billboard. Just look at how many folks eat at fast food places, and you can understand why people feed commercial foods... Easier than thinking about what to feed/eat!

A raw, meaty bone is a great treat for dogs. If you use a "beef" bone, take it away once the meat and marrow is gone. You want those nice clean teeth from gnawing bones, to last a lifetime!


    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 8:25PM
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Lisa in response to your statement:
Edible bones such as turkey necks, pork brisket, chicken feet/backs/thighs, pork necks, and chicken necks/wings for tiny dogs, are better choices.

I was always told those bones were BAD for a dog because they were soft and easily splintered and dogs can choke on them or pierce their insides.

I decided to do a little research on the Internet since I am not a vet and just like you guys I am just a pet owner. I found the link beow and it has all sorts of interesting information and there is a link in the message to further explain.

It is a confusing issue but to specifically address your question I could not find anything that states the marrow will or will not go bad. I had to jump in on that little bone issue.

As I was reading several sides of the issue on different websites I thought it just like with humans; one minute they say something is good for you the next minute they say it causes cancer. Ya can't win!

All I can say is that whenever I gave my dog bones the marrow seemed to dry out and I imagined it is still good for them. the bad side is that it attracts flies and they leave eggs and well we know what that leads to.

Here is a link that might be useful: pet centers take on dog bones

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 9:25AM
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This has all been very interesting. Our pup is just 4 mos. old now and doesn't have permanent teeth yet. She is in heaven while knawing on the big bone that we gave to her. She gets it only in the evening for an hour when she is so wild she can't seem to settle down. Then I put it in the frig until the next evening.

If I see any breakage in the bone, I will toss it, but for now it seems to be the only thing to calm her during her 'wild' time.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 10:52AM
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goodhors(z5 MI)

You do need to figure the size of dog, to the size of bone. Ham bones from a hog, are still very strong, hard bones. I would give a large dog a ham bone to gnaw on.

Big beef bones are also pretty solid to gnaw, don't splinter easily, even to strong dogs.

Steak bones, pot roast round bones, might work for small to medium sized dogs, with less jaw strength to break them. My small Corgi has a strong jaw, yet still can't break the heavy pot roast bone. Steak bones would be crunched up quickly so she doesn't get steak bones. Bouvier would have both kinds of bone in splinters with second bite, unsafe for her at all.

I would not recommend any poultry bones, raw or cooked, for dogs. They do splinter easily when forced, even raw. Break a raw chicken leg yourself, see the sharp edges it produces. I would give cats, raw poultry bones, not much jaw strength compared to a dog. Picked up and thrown away the next day.

I would strongly advise NOT feeding dogs any lamb, sheep, or pig bones because they are small bones, break fairly easily. Even the leg of lamb bone is brittle. This is both raw and cooked, in my experience. Again, the big bone in a ham has been fine to feed the large dogs for me, but mine get no other pork bones.

My Bouvier dog will crack open the large leg bones sold in stores. Very strong bite force. She then licks out the marrow. These are bones about 4-5 inches long, couple inches across. It is funny watching her try to get tongue into the bone interior. We usually only give bones when weather is cold, so flies are not out. I then don't have to worry about germs on the bones or fast rotting of meat in the warm weather.

Dogs like bones, but not all bones are good for the dogs. Better safe than sorry in picking bones to feed them to prevent any problems. I do pick up the broken bones in yard, because lawn mower REALLY doesn't like hitting them.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 6:20PM
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Lisa (gcmastiffs) stated: "First choice of wild canines is meat, organs, intestines, with bones and skin as a last choice."

Sorry, but that's incorrect. The first choice of wild predators (and smart humans) is always the organs, because organ meat has (by far) the highest nutritional content. The liver is the one they really fight for. It's the largest internal organ, it's very high in fat, and it has every nutrient except calcium ( which can be extracted from bones) and insoluble fiber ( which, contrary to popular belief, is not essential).

After all of the internal organs are gone, THEN they'll divvy up the muscle meat, then the skin, and lastly the bone.

    Bookmark   Yesterday at 10:06AM
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