The image of a dog with a bone is an iconic one and for good reason. Bones can be great for dogs: they help teething puppies relieve pain, they’re good for dental health and they satisfy a dog’s natural urge to chew.
But did you know not all bones are created equal? Some bones can be dangerous for our dogs to chew so it’s worth it to be aware of which ones are safest and which ones should be avoided. Even the FDA has weighed in after numerous reports of illness and even death.
Here are some tips for choosing the right bone for your dog:
Avoid cooked bones. Cooked bones can become brittle and be more likely to splinter, which can cause injuries to the mouth and throat or blockages in the intestinal tract. These bones are often sold in stores as “bone treats” so check the package and choose raw bones instead.
Consider your dog’s size and chewing style. Be sure to choose a bone that’s too big to be swallowed whole and be mindful of marrow bone slices as these can actually get stuck on your dog’s lower jaw.
Be wary of rawhide. Rawhide is a common and cheap option but it can be a major choking hazard, especially for aggressive chewers. As it’s chewed it begins to soften and this is when it’s most likely to be swallowed and potentially get stuck in your dog’s throat.
Consider alternatives.There is a wide range of options outside of bones to satisfy a dog’s need to chew including bully sticks, hooves, antlers, and synthetic chews. Talk to your vet about the best choice for your dog and visit Hollywood Feed or your local pet store to see what they offer.
And remember, whatever he’s chewing, supervise your dog.
Always keep an eye on your dog while he’s working on a bone, treat or other chew toy. Accidents can happen quickly and you want to be around to take the bone away if it gets too small.