Whether you give your dog a bone to please him or as part of his diet (BARF diet), you should know that it is not without danger: digestive problems, broken teeth... The risks are less important for dogs fed with a BARF ration, the bones being raw and fleshy.
What are the benefits of bones for dogs?
The advantage of bones is that they keep dogs busy for a long time.
Chewing bones also promotes good oral hygiene.
They are also a source of minerals for BARF rations.
What are the risks?
First of all, bones can be responsible for digestive problems in dogs. They can irritate the digestive mucous membrane and cause severe diarrhea. Bone fragments can stick in the walls of the digestive tract and lead to intestinal perforation. This problem is encountered primarily with cooked bones, which are more likely to form shards when eaten by dogs.
Dogs consuming large amounts of bone may also experience constipation or even obstruction.
These risks are lower for dogs fed a BARF diet. This is because BARF-fed dogs eat raw, meaty bones. Raw bones are more elastic than cooked bones and generally do not lead to fragment formation. These bones are also coated with meat, which makes them easier to move through the digestive tract and limits the risk of slowing down the transit. However, there is no such thing as zero risk, problems are possible even for dogs fed a BARF ration.
Dogs can have broken teeth as a result of eating bones.
Finally, bones can be responsible for an excess of mineral intake (calcium, phosphorus) and secondary deficiencies.
Good to know: there are bones sold in stores as treats. Although they are specially designed for dogs, they present the same dangers as other bones.
How to reduce the risks?
First of all, it is not recommended to give cooked bones to dogs as they are more brittle than raw bones. Bones from table scraps should be avoided.
It is preferable to choose fleshy raw bones (both for a BARF diet and to please your dog).
Bones should always be given under supervision. The size of the bone should also be adapted to the size of the animal.
- It is not recommended to give bones to puppies in addition to their kibble.
- A BARF diet is very delicate for puppies for whom the mineral balance is very important for growth.
- Bones should also be given with caution to older dogs, as the phosphorus in bones is toxic to the kidneys.
- Marrow bones can get stuck in the lower jaw of dogs.