In the vast majority of sources of information about dogs in one form or another there is information that animals love bones. Children’s books show a happy puppy with a bone in his mouth. And on the complaints of the new owner of the dog that the animal gnaws things, he is advised to give the pet a bone. Moreover, many believe that the bones are not just a treat, but a complete meal for the dog. But there is still very little reliable information about what bones can be given to dogs or whether they should be given at all.
Predators or no longer
In nature, canids (wolves, coyotes, jackals, foxes) eat the flesh of their prey along with the skin, entrails and bones, without suffering from digestive problems. The females bring the young hard parts of carcasses of dead animals (bones, hooves, horns) – playing with these parts is an important stage in the development of the hunting instinct in young animals. But modern dogs have gone so far in the process of natural evolution and artificial selection from wolves and jackals in food behavior, morphology, and the formation of reflexes, that for some of them, eating bones becomes dangerous to health.
Bones as a treat
Bone is a treat or a tasty toy for a dog. Yes, the dog gets calcium, phosphorus, iron from them, but they are not nutritious at all, because they do not contain carbohydrates, are not taken into account in the amount of food eaten, are not considered food, and moreover can not be the basis of a dog’s diet. With any feeding system, a raw bone can be regarded as a toy that the dog with pleasure and with good use does, without spoiling the owner’s things, shoes, furniture, and as a delicacy thanks to the pronounced aroma and taste.
The bones of animals have a number of disadvantages: they are fat, the bone marrow flows from them, they smell unpleasantly. If the dog is kept in an apartment or house, then it can soil the floor, carpet, sofa – depending on where it wants to chew on its toy. This does not suit the owners, who then have to wash the stubborn stains of fat.
Bones as a “toothbrush” for a dog
With dog teeth, a raid forms over time. Its excessive accumulation leads to the formation of tartar and premature bacterial destruction of teeth. Gnawing hard objects cleans teeth and removes plaque. As a "toothbrush" successfully used toys made of special plastic, which does not crumble, and gently spring when chewing a dog: taverns, rings, balls. This is a good alternative to bones.
Does a dog need bones
The question should not even be asked how dogs can be given bones, but do they need them? Fresh, raw bones are needed for dogs that are on natural nutrition. In this case, bone gnawing helps clean the dog’s teeth from plaque and massage the gums to improve blood circulation.
If the pet receives high-quality industrial dry food, it “brushes” the teeth while eating, besides hard granules promote gum massage. The more often the dog gnaws the bones, the faster his teeth are ground. Therefore, you can pet pet no more than a couple once a month. Lovers of nibble something constantly offered carrots, apples, sprigs of fruit trees.
The bones for dogs depend on the size of the animal, the condition of its teeth and the gastrointestinal tract, on the presence or absence of allergies in it, not some varieties of meat, on its nutritional system.
Small dogs like Russian toi, lapdogs, Pekingese, Dachshund, Spitz can be offered raw chicken necks without skin, bird keels, chicken and turkey ridges without skin.
Psam larger – most terriers (bull terrier, Staffordshire, Irish), bulldogs, most hunting – can be offered beef tibia, forearm, bones of the metatarsus and zaplyusny.
For big dogs – like Russian black terriers, rieschnauzers, dogs, boxers, most sheepdogs – hips, shoulders, shoulder blades of cows will do.
But the giants – the Bullmastiff, the Tibetan Mastiff, the Great Dane, the Newfoundland, the Irish Wolfhound, the Caucasian and Central Asian Shepherd Dogs – will effortlessly cope with the lamb or goat skull, pelvic girdles and ribs of cows, goats and sheep.
What bones a dog can have also depends on its health. If she has few teeth, or they are very dry, partially destroyed, or do not sit firmly in the holes, then the harmful bone tissue will aggravate their condition. Such dogs are even advised to slightly soak dry food so that they do not damage the teeth even more and absorb it normally. To massage the gums, animals with weak teeth can be offered apples, carrots, pumpkin pulp.
Hard delicacy is contraindicated for animals prone to constipation, undergoing abdominal surgery during the last couple of months, or undergoing surgery for resection of a part of the stomach or intestines. Before changing teeth in puppies, they don’t need bones. Before six months of age, they generally should not receive excessive solid food.
Not recommended bones for feeding dogs
A lot of controversy raises the question of whether a dog can have chicken bones? It is possible, except for tubular ones – in birds in the wings and thighs. They split into sharp parts that can puncture the esophagus, stomach and intestines, cause constipation or internal bleeding. It is not recommended to give bones of turkeys, geese, birds, rabbits and small game. When they crack, they break apart into pieces with which the dog can easily choke. A single bone fragment with a sharp edge is able to pierce through the soft muscles of the digestive tract. In this case, only an emergency operation can save the animal, which involves the removal of a part of the damaged organ.
Pork bones should not be given to dogs due to the high risk of infection with helminths, which are swarming with pig carcasses. Only heat treatment helps to get rid of worms and pathogenic bacteria, fungi and viruses.
Fish bones are not discussed at all: they are so thin and sharp that the dog cannot swallow them without being choked. You need to choose bones from slaughtered, not dead birds and animals, scald them with boiling water and only then offer them to your pet. Cooked and roasted bones from any animals clog the stomach and cause constipation, forming dense "traffic jams" in the intestines. Therefore, you can only give raw and fresh.