The Dangers of Dinner Bones

A dog with a bone hanging in his mouth is a popular image. There are few things that make a dog's tail wag harder than tossing him/her a juicy bone; however it's not the most responsible treat you can give your pet. Recent studies have shown that there are major risks involved with giving your dog a bone from the dinner plate. Experts recommend the use of synthetic bones or bone-like toys to keep your dog mouths happy and their teeth healthy.

"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."

Risks from Bones
  • Damaged Teeth
  • Bone Stuck in Esophagus
  • Splinters in Mouth
  • Bones Stuck in Digestive Track
  • Constipation
  • Bacterial Infections

Alternatives to Meat Bones
Almost all dogs require some kind of chew toy to keep their teeth and gums healthy, especially puppies. Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs. It helps reduce stress and can also control barking, digging or other destructive behavior. A teething puppy will chew on almost anything until their adult teeth come in, but their digestive systems are fragile and they're at a high risk if you insist on feeding them animal bones. A nice chew toy can give your pup the same benefits as a bone without risking an unplanned trip to the veterinarian's office.

  • Rope Toys are good for playing fetch or tug-of-war with your dog, but they're also a great way to remove plaque.
  • Teething Sticks are puppy-specific chew toys that are frozen to soothe your dog's gums before their adult teeth set in.
  • Rubber Chew-Toys come in various shapes and sizes depending on your dog's weight and breed. Dogs instinctually know that the bone is made for them to chew, but the toy's durability will far outlast any real bone.
  • Rawhide Bones are manufactured from cow bones and are a safer alternative to bones from the dinner table.

So, the next time your pooch is eyeing a bone after a dinner, remember that a chew toy is a safer alternative. Even though they may be yummy, bones can be a dangerous snack for a dog.

By Sean Bowes
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