Raw bones – Are they safe?

Natural Dog Food is formulated as a balanced complete diet and as such provides everything your dog needs to remain fit and healthy. Nevertheless, we think that dogs are individuals with individual tastes and should be treated as such. Like humans, they thrive on variety and this can be provided through raw meaty bones. Most dogs tolerate raw bones well, however as with anything there are risks including fractured teeth, internal obstruction and constipation.

What are the dental benefits/risks?

80% of pets suffer from dental disease in the UK. This does not only cause discomfort and stinky breath, bacteria can spread to the Heart, Lungs and Liver and increase the risk of illness.

The most natural way of keeping teeth clean is through chewing. A lot of chew toys only focus the dogs chewing on the tips of the teeth at the front. Meaty bones help to encourage dogs to chew using their back teeth all the way up to the gum line, cleaning as they do so.

Large, hard bones can fracture teeth in some dogs. Beef shin bones and other similar weight bearing bones are more likely to cause a painful tooth fracture.

To limit this risk try to give bones such as knuckles, raw chicken wings and necks.

Can bones cause stomach upset?

Dogs are renowned for burying extra food to save it for later, however this can cause a nasty bout of gastroenteritis if dug up and eaten later on. The bacteria is left to grow rapidly if meat is left out for any period of time in temperatures of 5⁰C and upwards.

To avoid this, take any bones away once dogs are finished with them and monitor the amount eaten. You can freeze them to keep them fresh, and serve them either frozen or defrosted.

Dogs are designed to digest raw bones. Cooking them renders them completely indigestible and brittle, which is why they should never be fed cooked. This also makes them more likely to form sharp splinters when chewed which can cause an internal obstruction.

If an adequate amount of bone is digested, it is perfectly normal for following stools to become white and chalky. However if your dog is showing signs of difficulty such as straining and pain it may be caused by a blockage or chronic constipation. Please visit your vet if you suspect this and monitor any future bone amounts.

In conclusion, we believe that raw bones are a great treat for dogs, with the added benefit of dental care. They are a great addition to Natural Dog Food if fed in moderation, and meaty bones should be given as part of a complete diet – just make sure to reduce their daily feeding allowance.


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