As a dog lover, giving your dog chunky bones to chew on feels like an excellent way to keep him happy. Most pictures of happy dogs often show them holding a bone, but does that mean you should feed your dog bones every day? How regularly should your dog chew a bone?
Generally, a dog should only chew a bone a maximum of two times per week, with a few days gap between both sittings and no more than 15 minutes allowed for each. If your dog chews bones too frequently, he’s at risk of developing a myriad of health problems, including constipation.
The rest of the article will take a closer look at the dangers of giving your dog a bone too frequently. You’ll also see the dos and don’ts for adding bones to the diet of your dogs.
Why Give Your Dog a Bone?
Dogs love chewing naturally. Chewing sinew bones cleans your dog’s teeth by breaking down tartar and also reducing gum disease. Recreational bones, on the other hand, are the perfect floss and brush for any dog’s teeth.
When dogs chew, it leads to the production of saliva enzymes, which helps ensure plaque doesn’t build up. Also, giving your dog bones reduces the chances of him scratching or licking his paws. Chewing is also a good way to mentally stimulate your dog. This can help reduce high blood pressure, which can lead to high blood pressure and heart diseases.
You should also know that giving your dog raw bones is a good way to ensure he’s getting a healthy dose of phosphorus, calcium, as well as other minerals. These vitamins and minerals help prevent many digestive health conditions, including anal gland problems, poor bowel movement, and bloating. They also strengthen the stomach muscles.
Why Does the Frequency Matter?
With all of the benefits associated with giving your dog a bone, it may feel counter-intuitive to regulate the frequency of each seating. However, too much bone in your dog’s diet can lead to many problems. As you’ve seen above, it can cause constipation. Bones need some time to digest properly in your dog’s system.
Secondly, your dog’s gums and teeth may receive some bruising in a chewing session. Feeding your dog bone too often could make it harder for these bruises to heal. This will leave your dog in discomfort and can lead to the onset of some mouth diseases.
To avoid this problem, you should stick to the recommended bi-weekly serving as much as possible, ensuring that your dog doesn’t gnaw on the bone for more than 15 minutes. However, some larger breed of dogs may be able to cope with more frequent servings.
To be completely certain, talk to a vet. During your consultation session, the vet will make a recommendation based on the breed and size of your dog, as well as the state of his oral health.
Dos and Don’ts When Giving Your Dog a Bone
Here are some things you should do when giving your dog a bone:
Give Your Dog Raw Meaty Bones
Many veterinary doctors recommend giving your dog raw meaty bones that are soft enough to chew, eat, and digest. Bones that are too hard can lead to damage to his teeth, and there’s also the risk of choking if your dog swallows too early because the bone is too hard.
Give your dog a Bone After Meals
If you give your dog a bone after he has just finished a meal, he will be less likely to chew and might swallow the bone too quickly. Remember, you are not supposed to give him the bone as a substitute for a proper meal or any potential benefits will be quickly offset by the damage that will be caused by your dog gorging on a bone.
Put the Bone in the Refrigerator
Once you take the bone away from your dog after the recommended 15 minutes, wrap it up, and put it in the refrigerator immediately. This is to keep it fresh enough for a second feeding. However, don’t keep the bone in the freezer longer than a week. Harmful bacteria can still form in such low temperatures.
Give Large Dogs Large Bones
Giving breeds like Mastiffs, Bloodhounds, and German Shepherds large bones will ensure they don’t swallow the bones whole. If you are unsure of what qualifies as a large bone for your dog, you can get started with a beef shank bone.
Keep an Eye on your dog
When you give your dog a bone, you need to watch him closely to ensure he doesn’t bite off more than he can chew, and that the bone isn’t getting too small for him.
Here are top things you shouldn’t do when giving your dog a bone:
Don’t Give a Dog the Wrong Type of Bone
Bones from pork and poultry are not healthy for your dog. Pork rib bones, for example, tend to contain a high amount of fat. Dogs can’t handle that level of saturated fat, so the result is pancreatitis. Some of the symptoms include a loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy. Once you notice these symptoms, get to a vet immediately.
Don’t Give your dog Cooked Bones
All kinds of cooked bones will splinter into shards when a dog chews on them. This can lead to damage to his teeth, mouth, and tongue. Other possible problems that can arise from swallowing cooked bones include esophageal blockage, rectal bleeding, and peritonitis.
Apart from harming your dog’s oral and digestive health, cooking bones removes the bulk of the nutrients your dog should have enjoyed.
Don’t Give your dog Commercial Bone Treats and Rawhides
According to the FDA, commercially available bone treats can cause illnesses in dogs. These bones are processed and will differ a great deal from the bones you’ll get from your local butcher. Rawhides also undergo heavy processing, which leaves small amounts of toxic chemicals on the final product. They are also prone to E. coli or Salmonella contamination, making them unhealthy for your dog.
Also, the gelatin and other preservatives in commercial bone treats and rawhides may contain carcinogens.
Don’t Give a Dog With Stomach Problems a Bone
A bone can worsen irritable bowel syndrome in dogs. If your dog is already battling with any kind of stomach problems, don’t feed him bones until you’ve talked to a vet. You should only start giving him bones when the vet approves.
Don’t Give a Dog With Dental Issues a Bone
A dog that’s had restorative dental work or one recovering from any other dental treatments is not in a position to chew on most types of bones. You’ll only cause a setback in your dog’s recovery and trigger new problems.
Don’t Give your dog Bones in Chunks
If your dog swallows a chunk of bone, it will lead to intestinal blockages. Such obstructions will disrupt the flow of other digested food in your dog’s system. It can lead to severe illness and may be fatal if nothing is done to correct the damage.
If you are thinking of making bones a permanent fixture in your dog’s menu, you need to weigh your options properly. It isn’t safe to grab any bones you find and leave it for your dog, and it most certainly isn’t a good idea to give your dog bones every day.
With the advice provided here, you can feed your dog bones while ensuring he is safe. Remember, you should talk to your vet if you are unsure about anything.