The bones do not serve as food for a dog. They should be considered a game object, they have to be chosen carefully, they have to be large and always be cooked
If we are asked to associate the dog with an object, most of us would most likely choose a bone. But these skeleton pieces, whatever the animal they are, rather than feeding they entertain the dog for hours. And you have to be careful because, although they seem harmless, bones can cause significant health problems for our four-legged companion. We will tell you about it in the following lines.
If the bones are from small animals, such as a rabbit or chicken, they can splinter and tear the intestine. If they belong to a larger animal, such as a cow or a pig, the risk will be lower but it will continue to exist: when gnawing them, a grit will be produced capable of obstructing the intestine and causing both diarrhea and constipation. How those bones are, raw or cooked, is also relevant. The raw bones are more dangerous, more easily splinter and can be contaminated by bacteria and parasites, such as Toxoplasma gondii, and cause an infection, toxoplasmosis in this case. On the contrary, cooked bones do not fragment and are softer, which helps to prevent the dog’s teeth from being damaged when it gnaws on them.
There is no doubt that dogs like bones and that they provide them with moments of inordinate happiness, but we must weigh the pros and cons before succumbing to the animal’s desires. If we want to avoid annoyances, it is best to opt for a toy made with natural materials such as leather, fur, or antler and designed to be bitten. Whether it is in the shape of a bone or a shoe is our decision: the important thing is that our dog’s health is not compromised.
Is it healthy for my dog to eat bones?
Bones are not healthy for dogs, they do not preserve or restore their health. “The bone itself does not contribute anything. It is a mineralized tissue of calcium and phosphorus that the body does not absorb or digest. Only if they are meaty can you add any nutrients. Dogs like bones because they always have some flavor, they give them a lot of taste and pleasure, “says veterinarian Emilio Castro.
So why do we have the belief that bones are good for dogs? There are different theories that support this conviction, most of them based on the fact that wolves (which do eat bones) and dogs are of the same species: ergo, what is good for one, is good for the other. Diets such as BARF for pets ( Bones And Raw Food, in Spanish, bones and raw food), enhance the virtues of including bone remains in the dog’s menu with the excuse of improving its health and respecting the carnivorous nature of the animal.
Nothing could be further from the truth: the fact that the bones are raw can cause the dog to become ill and even die from an infection. “There are a lot of parasites in fresh meats. Getting toxoplasmosis, for example, is quite common. The disease may not manifest itself or be fatal ”, warns the veterinarian.
What are bones made of and why are they dangerous for the dog?
” Veterinarians do not like bones, they cause a lot of problems.” That’s how clear Castro is when we ask him his opinion on this matter. The worst, in his opinion, are those of small animals, rabbits or chickens, since “they can perforate the intestine, the stomach or cause quite a few injuries .” If it is a bone of a large animal, veal or pork, “the typical bones that we put in ham or cow stew”, we will reduce the risks since they do not splinter, but they will continue to be harmful. “The dog is going to gnaw them and is going to remove grit. That grit is not digested either, it is as if the dog swallowed sand from the field. It can cause diarrhea or constipation, “he says.
The sticks of the chops, the pork ribs, the remains of the chicken … Sometimes we do not have a filter with what we give to our pet. “On Mondays, there are more consultations for gastroenteritis. And if there have been a fair and the dogs have walked around eating as they please and without any supervision from the owner, more intestinal problems appear than usual, ”insists Castro.
The canine specialist also does not recommend giving raw bones to a dog. They break more easily and can cause a tooth or molar to break. “The best are cooked because they are somewhat softer,” he says.
In addition, it recommends taking extreme precautions if they are old and young dogs. “A senior has the most delicate intestine and teeth. For a puppy, which is in full development, bones are bad because it can damage his teeth, “he explains.