Should I Feed My Dog Bones?

Dogs need something to chew. It keeps their gums healthy, their teeth strong and their breath (somewhat) fresh. In the old days, owners would toss their dog a meaty bone from a ham or a big roast and leave them to it. The rule was as long as it was not a chicken or turkey bone, it was safe to give to a dog. But there are some experts, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who say that giving a fresh bone to a dog, no matter what their size, is risky business.

On the other hand, some veterinarians say that the occasional bone, when chewed on with supervision, is OK to give to give to a dog as a treat. According to some vets, a bone generates healthy behavior in canines. Chewing bones exercises their jaw bones and keeps plaque from building around their teeth. Dog owners have also said that chewing bones has kept their puppies away from gnawing on their furniture and from munching on shoes.

No Bones for Some Breeds

All dogs are different. There is risk involved for all dogs who chew bones, however Brachiocephalic breeds such as boxers, bull dogs, and pugs are at the highest risk for injury from bones. The reason that these dogs should avoid chewing bones is due to the shape of their mouth, which is wider and stouter than the muzzles on most dogs. Nylabones are better substitutes for these breeds altogether.

Also, dog owners with smaller breeds should avoid larger bones or chew toys. If your dog seems to be struggling with their treat, it is probably too large and could be causing damage to their jaw muscles. As with any change to your pet's diet or exercise plan, you should consult with your local vet to see what type of chew toy or bones could make your pooch a happy, healthy pup.

By Sean Bowes
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