Are Bones Safe For Dogs?

Bones Safe For Dogs

Are Bones Safe For Dogs?


Dogs are so often paired with bones that it might be hard to imagine that perhaps they aren’t meant for each other after all. In recent years, many veterinarians and even the FDA have cautioned against giving dogs bones because of the health risks they pose. So, are bones safe for dogs?

But just what is so dangerous about bones, does anyone disagree, and what are the alternatives? Let’s take a look.

Wait a Second… Don’t Wolves Eat Bones?

This is a common and understandable question. If dogs evolved from wolves and wolves consume bones, shouldn’t it be safe for your dog to do so as well?

The truth is that wolves usually don’t eat the large bones of their prey; they are often left behind with the animal’s hide, skull, and stomach contents.

Additionally, wild wolves have shorter lifespans on average than domesticated dogs due to disease, parasites, and injuries — which yes, can occur if a wolf swallows an unfriendly bone.

RELATED STORY: Why Using Dog Dental Chews Improves Tooth Health

Why Are Bones Dangerous?

The FDA published a report in 2010 outlining the dangers associated with feeding your dog bones.

“Some people think it’s safe to give dogs large bones, like those from a ham or a roast,” says Carmela Stamper, D.V.M., a veterinarian in the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration.

“Bones are unsafe no matter what their size. Giving your dog a bone may make your pet a candidate for a trip to your veterinarian’s office later, possible emergency surgery, or even death.”

The FDA goes on to list 10 reasons why it’s a bad idea to give your dog a bone:

Bones can break teeth

And fixing broken teeth can cost a pretty penny.

Bones can injure the mouth and tongue

These injuries can be very bloody and messy, as well as painful for your dog. They could also land you at the veterinarian’s office.

Bones can get stuck around your dog’s lower jaw

This usually occurs with round, hallow bones (like the end of a marrow bone). It can not only be a very frightening experience for a dog, it can also be painful and costly at the vet.

Bones can get trapped in the esophagus

Which is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. This can cause your dog to gag and in most cases you will need to head to the vet’s office.

Bones can get trapped in the windpipe

This can happen if a dog inhales a small piece of bone. This is an emergency situation, as your dog will be having a hard time breathing. Go to the vet’s office or an emergency clinic right away.

Bones can get stuck in the stomach

If the bone was small enough to swallow but not large enough to move from the stomach to the intestines, your dog will most likely require surgery to remove it.

Bones can get trapped in the intestines

If this happens, it can cause a gastrointestinal blockage, and surgery may be required.

Constipation

It can be difficult for a dog to squeeze out sharp, jagged bone fragments. This is a painful situation and requires a trip to the veterinarian.

Bleeding from the rectum

Those sharp, jagged fragments can cause injury to the rectum and severe bleeding. This can be very messy and you’ll need to see the veterinarian. Never attempt to pull out a bone fragment that is partially protruding from your dog’s rear end; this could cause further injury.

Bones can cause peritonitis

Peritonitis is a severe bacterial infection of the abdomen that can occur when bone fragments puncture your dog’s stomach or intestines. This infection can be deadly and requires emergency veterinary treatment.

Varying Opinions

Some veterinarians and raw food groups argue that while cooked bones are not safe for dogs, raw bones are because they are softer, less likely to splinter, and more easily digestible. Talk to you veterinarian to find out their opinion on the matter. The opinion on whether bones are safe dogs will vary based on their recommended diets.

RELATED STORY: Raw Food Dog Diet

Safe Alternatives

No one is saying to throw out chewing altogether. Indeed, the right kind of chewing can be good for your dog’s teeth and breath, soothe the painful gums of teething pups, and be an outlet for mental and physical energy.

Ask your veterinarian about bone alternatives and chews like Greenies and Kongs, and always supervise your dog whenever you give them a new chew.

What do you think? Should you give your dog bones? Leave a comment and let us know your opinion, and to keep your dog safe and healthy, consider signing up for PetPlus. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more at PetPlus.com.

For more information: No Bones About It: Bones Are Unsafe For Your Dog via the FDA

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6 Common Pet Health Myths Debunked

Pet health is a complicated topic, and with so much information at our fingertips these days, it can sometimes be difficult to separate fact from fiction. There are a lot of myths floating around, and in some cases, believing them could be harmful to your pet’s well-being. Here we’ll look at 6 of the most common pet health myths, and then give you the facts!

Remember: never hesitate to contact your veterinarian if you have ANY questions about your pet’s health. Making that phone call can not only save you time and anxiety, it could also save your pet’s life.

MYTH #1: If a dog’s nose is warm or dry, it means that they are sick.

FACT: The temperature or wetness of a dog’s nose is no indication of their health status. Many dogs have a warm and dry nose when they first wake up, for example, and a wet and cold nose after drinking water. While a warm or dry nose is no indication of a health problem, you should contact your veterinarian if you ever notice any unusual changes to your dog’s nose, such as crusting, bleeding, or discharge.

MYTH #2: Cats get sick less often than dogs.

FACT: Cats can get sick just as often as dogs (even indoor cats), but they are more likely and more capable of hiding their symptoms than dogs — in fact, they are famous for doing so. This makes it all the more important to keep up with your cat’s annual visits to the vet so that your veterinarian can give your cat a thorough once-over and check for any health conditions that they might be hiding.

RELATED STORY: The Importance Of Taking Your Cat To The Vet

MYTH #3: Pets only need to be protected from heartworms in the summer months when mosquitoes are active.

FACT: The American Heartworm Society suggests that all pets — regardless of where they live — should be protected all year round. Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal condition, so make sure that your pet is protected with a heartworm preventative, such as a tablet or topical treatment.

MYTH #4: Dogs eat grass to make themselves throw up.

FACT: This myth gets a lot of play, but the truth is that while eating grass CAN cause vomiting, it is most likely not the reason that your dog is consuming it. Many dogs consume grass because they simply like the taste, because they are bored, or because they have learned that eating grass will start a fun game in which you chase your pal to get them to stop. Eating small amounts of grass shouldn’t be harmful to your dog, but make sure that they aren’t also eating poisonous plants or foxtails, and contact your veterinarian if the habit seems to be getting worse.

RELATED STORY: Dog Vomiting Mucus? Here’s Why, And What You Can Do About It

MYTH #5: Feeding your pet garlic can rid them of tapeworms.

FACT: This myth most likely got started because of garlic’s pungent smell. It has also been suggested that garlic can treat and prevent fleas. The truth is that garlic won’t do a thing for tapeworms or fleas, and in fact, garlic is poisonous to pets and can cause anemia if consumed in large quantities. If you ever notice tapeworms (they look like small grains of rice) in your pet’s stool or near their rear end, contact your veterinarian. They will most likely prescribe a deworming medication. To protect your pet from fleas, use an oral or topical treatment.

MYTH #6: Pets take care of their own dental health, so you don’t need to brush their teeth.

FACT: Pets need all the help they can get when it comes to dental care. Most veterinarians agree that 75% or more of the health problems they see in pets are related to periodontal disease or gum disease, and studies have shown that most animals have signs of dental disease by 3 or 4 years old! While feeding crunchy dry food and giving your pet healthy chews or dental chews like Greenies can help to reduce some tartar buildup, you still need to brush your pet’s teeth. Brushing your pet’s teeth every day is the best course of action, but doing it at least once a week can go a long way in preventing dental problems.

Know any other pet health myths? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus to save on your pet’s health care and more.

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