of the biggest things which people worry about, and which makes some
people turn away from the idea of feeding a natural, raw diet to their
pet, is the idea of feeding bones.
all remember the vets warning, “never ever feed your dogs bones” – but
many will also remember dogs always having marrow bones and ribs when
they were younger, and some who lived in the country or on farms etc.
will also remember their dogs always having raw food or tripe for their
vets first uttered that warning, did the canine world a great
dis-service by not clarifying that they were talking about ‘cooked’
bones……cooked bones where all the moisture is gone because of the
cooking process, leaving them dry and brittle……which would, of course,
pose a high risk of splintering and causing health issues.
is not to say there lies ‘zero’ risk in feeding raw bones, but there is
risk in everything, dried pet foods known as ‘kibble’ harbour
salmonella and bacteria and pets have choked on kibbles before now,
there is risk in everything.
is needed is basic good old common sense – you don’t start a new diet
without researching first, talking to others who successfully follow
that diet and have done so for a good number of years, even someone,
such as myself, who will offer consultations and ongoing support,
or joining a group for support incase you have queries and questions.
bones still have all that lovely moisture in them, making them more
pliable, add to that the fact that animals are killed at such young ages
these days, thus having softer bones, and unless you neglect ensuring
your dog knows how to eat a bone ‘nicely’ there is very little danger of
a bone causing problems.
How do we ‘teach' a dog to eat bones ‘nicely’ ?
dogs ‘inhale’ their food and gulp it down so quickly that to just give
them a bone one day would be foolish, but many dogs eat their food
nicely and do eat small amounts at a time.
For dogs where there is a chance they may gulp, or the owners are unsure, there are 2 ways which both work very well:
bone you are giving your dog, hold it and only give access to
small parts of it to the dog so he/she can only get small bits at a
time – after a few times the dog will naturally eat it this way, and
if you teach the word ‘gently’ whilst doing this, and use that
reminder when you start letting the dog have the bone without you
holding it, this works well.
a really large, meaty bone as large, or larger than your dogs own
head – like half a whole chicken, or a whole chicken – so the dog
has to work and has eaten some meat already before it eats the bone,
and has tired it’s jaws out a bit already and so will eat slightly
What do bones ‘bring to the table’ for our dogs in their diet ?
- important minerals such as calcium, phosphorus
- protein containing essential amino acids, including lysine
- blood-forming nutrients including copper and iron [from the marrow]
- essential fatty acids
- fat-soluble vitamins [A, D and E]
a dogs digestive system is still the same as a carnivore and has not
evolved [has adapted to a small extent but not evolved] they have
stronger stomach acid than people and are therefore able to access
nutrients which would simply be inedible to a person.
action of chewing, crunching and tearing at bones releases feel-good
endorphins in the brain, such as serotonin, which also creates a feeling
of well-being and calm within dogs.
is also good exercise,as when a dog is eating a bone, all it’s upper
body muscles are being used, digestive juices are flowing, they are
stimulated as they are fulfilling natural instinctual urges, which
stimulates the flow of brain chemicals and these help tone the hormonal
and immune systems.
being able to gnaw on bones also acts like a toothbrush and floss for
our dogs and can prevent tartar and plaque build-up, which lead to
bacteria on the teeth releasing noxious gases, givingour
pets bad breath and eventually leading to gum and tooth disease,
periodontal disease, and as the bacteria from the diseased gums and
teeth travel further into the body on food eaten, will lead to internal
disease within the body such as Liver and Kidney disease and Immune
dogs have loved their bones for over 10yrs now, above is my 4yr old
German Shepherd Tye’s teeth – he has never visited a vet or needed his
Suitable bones to give your dogs are :
* Beef, Lamb, Pork, Deer, Rabbit, Chicken, Turkey,Duck, Pheasant – and many other animals your dog may eat as small prey.
leg bones and knuckle bones from large animals, such as cows and large
deer, as the more weight a bone has had to carry, the harder the bone
will be and there is a chance there of your dogs teeth being chipped, or
a small chance of splintering.
some countries Pork can contain parasites, but in many countries,
including the UK this is not a problem - check with your source if
unsure and only feed human grade.
great favourite with my dogs has always been chicken Carcass’s [as seen
above], which are easily obtained from most Butchers [what’s left once
the butcher has taken his lot] which often includes organs, some skin
and meat aswell as the skeletal structure].
if you don't 'go the whole hog' with feeding a natural raw diet, just
giving your dog a raw meaty bone every day or every other day will give