Safe bones for dogs?

Question:

What kinds of bones are safe to give my dog?

Answer:

There are many different kinds of bones out there, so treating your dog to one once in a while will take a bit of research and some common sense. The most important thing to know is that chicken bones are never a safe idea, but some bones can actually be good for your dog.

Rawhides are one of the most popular types, but they happen to be my least favorite. Most rawhide bones are made from indigestible, over-preserved beef parts and contain very little protein and lots of fat. I recommend pork hides instead. They can be very high in protein and are highly digestible. Find a brand that uses only natural preservatives and you’ve got a great treat that’ll both keep your dog happy and promote good health.

Raw bones are full of nutrients, but present serious safety concerns. Not only can they scrape and tear internal organs, they often create a choking hazard. Remember, dogs don’t typically chew. Instead, they tear and swallow, which leaves big chunks of bones to cause blockage, internal damage, or even death. I don’t recommend them.

Marrow bones, on the other hand, are one of my favorites, and you can ask your butcher to cut them to any length you like. Throw them in a bag in the freezer and give one to your dog when the bone is frozen (she’ll find it especially interesting that way). In addition to the extra hardness, which helps clean teeth and massage gums, she’ll be occupied for hours as she gnaws away on the bone. Added bonus: marrow bones happen to be one of the least expensive types you can buy for your dog.

Remember, please supervise your dog anytime she gets a new treat or bone, and always make sure pieces are not so small as to present a choking hazard.