No! It is NOT okay to feed BONES to your dog!
So, you and your family just finished a sumptuous meal of rice, chicken with some fresh fish… The rice has been totally cleared from the plates and the fleshy parts of your chicken/fish have been stripped clear of their bones. Bruno (your dog) is heard barking happily outside and then you think to yourself “Bruno (your dog) is such a great dog, he deserves a real good treat”.
Then you gather the semi-crushed bones and mount it up on one plate for Bruno to eat …. Believe me when I say, you may just be feeding Bruno his last meal….
It is the oldest cliché everywhere in the world that Dogs love to chew on bones. We all grew up thinking that bones are the perfect treat for dogs. In fact, for most of us in our early childhood school days, it was common to see graphics and cartoons of dogs delightedly chewing and gnawing on bones.
The good news is that it’s true dogs really love to feed and gnaw on bones. The very bad news is that bones are actually very dangerous and sometimes deadly for a dog! And it doesn’t stop there… cooked bones especially are dangerous for them!!! Large bones are usually too large for their gastro-intestinal lumen, thereby causing blockage and obstruction. Broken large bones are brittle and sharp while small bone have sharp pointed edges that could pierce the internal organs of your dog as they are swallowed and travel down the alimentary canal. Also, the cooking process for bones makes them more brittle, increasing the likelihood they might splinter and cause internal injury to your dog.
So what those risks associated with giving your dog a cooked bone to chew?
These are listed below with particular details on the organs of the alimentary canal that the bones usually affect;
- Broken teeth.
- Mouth or tongue injuries.
- Bone may get looped around your dog’s lower jaw.
- Bone gets stuck in esophagus. Esophagus is the small tube that food travels through to reach the stomach. It is a very delicate organ and once it has an injury, infection or irritation, it usually takes longer than most organs to heal because of its structure, location and constant usage. A bone stuck in the esophagus may cause your dog to gag, trying to bring the bone back up, or start to vomit. It is usually an emergency and would mostly require surgery.
- Bone gets stuck in windpipe. This may happen if your dog accidentally inhales a small enough piece of bone. This is an emergency because your dog will have trouble breathing.
- Bone gets stuck in stomach. It went down just fine, but the bone may be too big to pass out of the stomach and into the intestines. Depending on the bone’s size, your dog may need surgery or to try to remove the stuck bone from the stomach. The dog may start to vomit or may have diarrhea.
- Bone gets stuck in intestines and causes a blockage. That would mostly require surgery and it is definitely an emergency
- Constipation due to bone fragments. Your dog may have a hard time passing the bone fragments because they’re very sharp and may scrape the inside of the large intestine or rectum as they move along. This usually causes severe pain and may require a visit to your veterinarian. Also, bones also contain a lot of calcium, which make their stool firm and movement down the intestine becomes more difficult. This would lead to constipation and inability to pass out feces. Either way the attention of the veterinarian is needed.
- Severe bleeding from the rectum. Either from bone scraping or puncture, this is very messy and can be dangerous. It’s time for a trip to see your veterinarian.
- Peritonitis. This is a nasty, difficult-to-treat bacterial infection of the abdomen which happens when bone fragments poke holes in your dog’s stomach or intestines. Your dog needs an emergency visit to your veterinarian because peritonitis can kill your dog.
In most cases like this, your dog will usually refuse to eat, will be in great pain and will be much less active. It is important that you take your dog to a qualified and registered veterinarian who will provide quality examination, diagnosis and provide required treatment (including surgery if its indicated).
Generally, dogs like to chew on something as it provides activity, exercise and mental stimulation for them. (Remember that your dog can pick up bones around the house or get into the kitchen trash and eat bones that you may have thrown away).
You can talk with your veterinarian or visit a good vet shop for toys or treats that are safe and most appropriate for your dog (like the ones in the picture directly above). There are many available products made with different materials for dogs to chew on, so you have a varied option. Also, whatever new toys or treat you get, ensure you supervise the dog to be sure it is totally safe.
Again … remember, Bones should not be fed to your dog. Ensure you keep your dogs safe and throw the bones away.
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Reference; U.S FDA