One of the favorite treats that my dogs eat is raw meaty bones. If you aren’t sure what a raw meaty bone is, it’s just what it sounds like: a bone that has some of the meat still attached. It should only be given to the dog when it’s raw. Although many people feel raw bones pose a danger to dogs, they are actually quite good for your dog and are a recommended treat by vets all over the world. However, there are a few precautions every dog owner should take so their dogs receive the full benefit of raw meaty bones.
Benefits of Raw Meaty Bones
Before we look at some of the cautions, let’s take some time to go over the health benefits of feeding raw bones to your dog. There are a number of benefits, both dental and for overall health. These include:
1) Clean Teeth
The very first benefit that we should look at with raw meaty bones is that they clean your dog’s teeth. Studies prove that dogs that chew raw meaty bones have cleaner teeth. The bones work like a toothbrush and remove the built-up plaque, tartar, and food from the teeth.
This helps keep the teeth nice and clean so you won’t have to worry about problems later on in your dog’s life.
2) Full of Nutrients
Raw meaty bones are full of nutrients beneficial to your dog. What this means is that not only is your dog chewing, he is able to get nutrients from the bone. Nutrients that are commonly found in raw meaty bones are:
- Phosphorous: Like calcium, phosphorous is great for healthier bones and teeth. However, it serves for healthy cell membranes throughout the body.
- Calcium: Essential for strong teeth and bones, it also aids in improved blood clotting, improved muscle contraction, and improved nerve impulse transmission.
- Protein: Most of the protein is found in any of the meat that is left on the bone. Protein is a super nutrient for dogs and has many functions including repairing body tissue, building muscle, and contributes to a better coat in dogs.
As you can see, one raw meaty bone can pack a lot of nutrients for dogs and are a great treat for them.
3) Reduces the Risk of Periodontal Disease
Since you know that raw meaty bones help keep those teeth clean, it should be no surprise that they help reduce the risk of periodontal disease.
In addition, they can actually reverse the disease if it is in early stages. The reason for this is because the bones are removing the plague and tartar that is forming on the teeth. This helps restore the overall health of your dog’s mouth in a very short period of time.
Plus, all those nutrients will be used by the dog’s body to restore nutrients and health to his teeth.
Finally, if your dog has to work to remove the meat and tendons from the bone, it actually tones the mouth. This, in turn, increases the number of capillaries in the gums, which improves the overall health of the dog’s mouth.
4) Can Curb Chewing Habits
Dogs are natural chewers. It is just a fact and it is part of their natural instincts to chew. When dogs are offered raw meaty bones for chewing, it provides them with a way to curb their natural instinct.
The dog is also happier when he has something to chew. Especially if he isn’t going to get in trouble for chewing it.
5) Provides Mental Stimulation for Dogs
Finally, raw meaty bones are an excellent way to provide mental stimulation for your dog. It keeps them engaged, makes them less likely to get bored, and causes them to focus on what they are doing.
Most dogs can spend hours chewing raw meaty bones and they are definitely a treat that is never turned down.
So give your dog a raw meaty bone, as there are many benefits for him.
Cautions About Raw Meaty Bones
Although there are many benefits of feeding your dog raw bones, it should be done with caution. Bones can present risks if they are not given to the dog properly. These include:
1) Know the Healthy Bones
There are actually four different types of raw bones that you can give your dog. These are:
- Edible Bones: These bones are bird bones, which are hollow and don’t contain marrow. Typically, these bones are placed through a meat grinder but dogs can break down small portions of bird bones, such as chicken neck. The bones are soft and pliable.
- Recreation Bones: When we look at recreation bones, we are looking at beef or bison bones. These are the thick, meaty bones with lots of marrow inside that dogs can chew on for hours.
- Meal Replacement Bones: Like edible bones, meal replacement bones are bones with a lot of meat on them. Common meaty bones are veal, lamb, and beefy femurs.
- Toothbrush Bones: These bones refer to marrowbones, such as knee bones or ribs, that will work like floss on the teeth. This will give your dog the best type of cleaning, although all bones do this to differing extents.
When it comes to the type of bones, avoid feeding pork bones to dogs. While they can be a great treat, many pork bones contain parasites. If you want to offer a pork bone, be sure to freeze it for over 3 weeks to kill the parasites. In general, always avoid raw pork.
2) Never Cook the Bones
The main point of these bones is that they are raw. This provides them with the best chewing. In addition, cooked bones can splinter and can lead to a trip to the veterinarian office. Splintered bones can cause impaction and even puncture the intestine.
3) Don’t Give to Aggressive Chewers
Only feed your dog raw meaty bones if he is not an aggressive chewer, which is a dog that will attack the bone more than actually chewing it. Dogs that are aggressive chewers can damage their teeth severely while chewing.
In fact, they can fracture teeth, chip them, or even dislocate their jaw from aggressive chewing. If you aren’t sure if your dog is an aggressive chewer, speak to your veterinarian before giving a raw bone.
4) Limit the Amount of Time
When your dog is chewing the bones, limit the amount of time he is chewing them. First, raw bones can make a huge mess so you want to keep them confined to a washable area.
Second, the marrow of a bone is very rich. Include the marrow into your dog’s daily caloric intake.
By limiting the amount of time your dog chews on it, you will also prevent stomach upset or diarrhea. While perfectly safe in small amounts, too much can lead to a few stomach problems.
5) Get the All Clear From the Vet
If your dog has periodontal disease, take him in for a vet visit first before you give him the bones. There are two reasons for this:
- One: It will help prevent further tooth damage if the disease has progressed too far. Your vet will recommend other things to chew to build bone and teeth strength before he moves to raw bones.
- Two: The vet will give your dog a teeth cleaning to make chewing raw bones a bit safer.
If your dog does not have any signs of periodontal disease, it is safe to give him the bones.
6) Choose Bones According to Your Dog’s Size
Small bones can be easy to swallow while large bones can lead to your dog injuring his jaw. The best rule of thumb is to match the size of the bone to the size of your dog’s head. This will make it the perfect size. Make sure the bone is not too big to deter chewing and not too small to be a choking hazard.
7) Always Supervise
Never give your dog any type of bone without supervising. Dogs can choke on small pieces that break off so you want to be close at hand if an emergency arises.
Also, never leave the bones down for your dog to chew whenever he likes. This creates a chance of your dog hiding with the bone and ending up choking on it when you can’t see him.
8) Check Your Dog’s Teeth
Finally, always check your dog’s teeth whenever he is chewing a bone. This is important to make sure that the bones are actually helping his teeth and not harming them. When you are checking them, look for:
- Abrasions on the teeth.
- Cracked or chipped teeth.
- Scratched gums.
- Bleeding in the mouth.
If you spot any of these problems, take the bone away immediately and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.
While raw meaty bones do have risks, they are very small if you provide the right type of bones for your dog. In addition, the benefits are so significant that I strongly recommend you make raw meaty bones part of their regular diet.