“Give a dog a bone” an old adage, but is it true?

The traditional fare of our canine companions has been raw meat and bones to chew, but with modern science and changing views, this is often not the case.

Our current pet dogs did descend from wolves, but a very long time ago and so their dietary needs are quite different from what they once were.

Bones are great for most dogs, but what is important to determine is the sort of ‘chewer’ your dog is.

Some dogs will destroy anything (outdoor furniture included), others like to chew, but will not destroy, while some of our smaller breeds won’t chew at all or just quietly munch around the edges.

The risks involved with chewing bones are that they can break a tooth, get an upset stomach or get bits stuck. There are three rules I encourage people to follow:

Choose a bone of an appropriate size for your dog
Big dogs, need big bones, not the small off cuts from the supermarket they can swallow.  Long bones from the butcher are probably best, while the smaller off cuts would be fine for a dog under 10kg who just likes to gnaw away.

NEVER feed your dog cooked bones
When you cook a bone it changes its chemical nature and makes it much more harsh and brittle.  Not only is it harder to digest, but it is more likely to splinter and get caught.

Bones are treats
They should be given for 24 hours and then thrown away – bones sitting on the lawn can go rotten, get baked in the sun or be the centre of conflicts with visiting dogs or small children.

So, if your dog is a sensible chewer and you understand that there are some risks to feeding bones, go ahead and let them enjoy a meaty treat, but if they tend to devour and swallow things whole, then best to stay clear and divert their energy to other pursuits.

If you have any questions, you can email Catherine at info@barossavetservice.com.au or visit our website for more details.


Looking for more advice for your favourite pet? Check out the following articles by Catherine.

Catherine Harper of Barossa & Kapunda Veterinary Clinic