Food Guidelines

Give a Dog a Bone (But Make Sure it’s Safe First!)


Bones have always been a dog’s all-time favorite treat. For years, we have fed our pooches raw or cooked bones, and have delighted in seeing them enjoy every bit of it. Nevertheless, questions have recently been thrown to experts whether all bones are safe for dogs to eat. If not, which ones need to be avoided?

Bones to Feed

· Raw bones. Almost any raw bone is safe for dogs. Believe it or not, raw chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, or even oxtail bones can be fed in their natural raw form. Plus, besides being tasty, raw bones are excellent for maintaining dental health. Aside from that, a whole fish, including its head, can also be given to your pooch. These raw dog bones have been identified as soft bones; making it easy and safe to chew and eat.

· Recreational bones. Another kind of bone that can be given to your dog is the recreational type. This generally refers to a large joint bone that is offered not as a meal but to provide your pooch long hours of chewing satisfaction. Some of the most common recreational bones are the knuckle bones and the beef leg bones. It is critical, though, that owners get to remove these large bones once chewed down to small chunks as it can pose a serious choking hazard to pets. When cooked, these bones are labeled specifically for dogs.

Bones to Avoid

· Cooked fish and poultry bones. Any bone that breaks into sharp shards is dangerous for your dog. This kind of cooked bone generally presents not only a choking hazard to dogs but a splintering risk as well. Never feed cooked fish, chicken, or beef bones as they can easily splinter, damaging his gums, teeth, and throat; causing pain and even potential injury. If your dog swallows the shards from these cooked bones, he also runs the risk of internal injury.

So, as a standard rule of thumb – only give your dog raw bones or bones sold and labeled specifically for dogs. Always make sure you give your dog a bone that is appropriate for his or her size to avoid any choking hazards. And, always monitor him while he’s gnawing away to avoid any potential dangers.



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  3. Esther Pacheco

    Dec 13, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    I have a ham bone from thanksgiving that was placed in the frigerator…I used it to cook a pot beans. Now should I just toss it in the trash?

    • Wolf68

      Jan 22, 2017 at 8:06 pm

      Cooked bones become hard and brittle. Brittle bones splinter sharp splinters that can be VERY dangerous or deadly. However, I feed my my dogs cooked bones all the time. I pressure cook the bones when I’m done eating. It softens the bone, soft bones don’t splinter. Pressure cooking bones for 30 min to 1 hr will make them soft, and safe for animals to eat.

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  6. f-s

    Mar 7, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    i give my dogs pure dried bison liver as treats, they love it. its pure 100%


    Jan 31, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    throw a dog a bone

  8. Leanne

    Nov 9, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    i have 2 Aussie kelpies, aged 2 and 6 1/2. They have had s bone every day since puppyhood and vets are astounded at their glowing white teeth. The 6 year-olds teeth are just as nice as the 2 year olds. My current vet is almost at retirement age and says he has seen many more problems from poor teeth than from bone consumption. My big girl has got a bone stuck on her teeth a handful of times, each time sitting until the saliver builds and has removed it herself within the hour. The little guy has had no bone incidents. I choose beef soup bones from the butcher. They are cheap in bulk and are a good size for my medium size breed. I avoid knuckles and long ones because they crack and leave sharp edges. Statistically 80% of dogs have dental disease before turning 3. Dental disease leads to infected teeth, kidney and heart disease. Done safely, bones are essential in my opinion. Another safety hint is to bin old bones every day – the elements make them brittle and splintery – and if chewed the dog can break a tooth. I don’t have this problem because my dogs eat them straight away!

  9. Mark hardy

    Nov 6, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    I have recently bought my 7 month old bulldog/bull mastiff a raw beef knuckle bone. We have had it for about 4/5 days and noticed today part of the bone was going a really dark grey/black ish colour around the knuckle area. Is it still safe for dexter to gnaw on? He hasn’t been eating alot of the bone instead just gnawing making a mess on my floor. If anyone can let me know asap I will be very grateful. Thank u. Mardy hardy.

  10. Mahiitsoh

    Oct 14, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    Absolutely DO NOT, give your dog any raw fish from the salmon family. My two dogs got into some trout heads that we had caught that day. The common term is called “salmon poisoning” even though it is ANY salmonoid species. After 3 days they became very lethargic. As I was taking them to the vet on the third day, one died and the other almost died. My vet explained to me that dogs in the wild have developed an immunity to this disease, also that almost all salmonoid fish in the Pacific northwest(where I live) are carriers. Please do not learn about this disease the way I did.

    • AngelinaC

      Oct 21, 2015 at 3:51 pm

      Sorry for your terrible loss. :,(

    • Dani Hacking

      Jul 31, 2016 at 9:07 pm

      Soooooo sorry for ur loss, I just recently loss my dog its really really really hard to get over it, U never did get over it.

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