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Help! My Dog Ate A Bone

Black Labrador Retriever chewing on a bone while laying in grass

Dogs vary in size, as do their stomach’s ability to process bones when they are eaten. Specifically, this will depend on the size of your pet, health status, and dental health. Even with the highest precautions, your dog could have a problem because of eating bones every year. Common question pet owners ask is, “What do I do if my dog eats a bone?”
In this article, we will answer various questions, but it is recommended to contact a veterinary in case your dog eats a bone.

Raw Bones V/S Cooked Bones

In general, dogs eat the rib bones which are usually divided into two main categories: raw and cooked. The risk to them varies accordingly.
Relatively raw bones are good for dogs because they contain calcium, phosphorus, minerals, and other important nutritional supplements. These minerals are essential in improving teeth and bones in dogs.
Also, nibbling on raw bones generally promote the release of salivary proteins. Nibbling on the raw bone also help in reducing the tartar stones thereby maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
Raw bones can also be seen as a source of happiness for your mysterious friends. Instead of letting the dog run around with boredom, the raw bone can keep them busy exercising their jaw while keeping them amused at the same time.
Also, your dog may be at a higher risk of bacterial contamination from raw bones with undercooked meat. In these circumstances, before feeding your dog, you should boil or heat the bones first. Either way, be sure to watch him while feeding him the bones.

Unlike raw bones, cooked bones for dogs is not recommended as its risks outweigh the gains. It should not be given to your dog without the proper safety certificate. Cooked bones have a higher chance of friability than raw bones and should be avoided.

The dangers of feeding Cooked Bones to your dog

plate of chicken bones

It is normal for cooked rib bones to crack when bitten, resulting in small and sharp lumps. Your dog is at great risk of suffocation as such fragments are likely to get stuck in your dog’s throat and even straighten their airways.
Also, these parts are sharp enough to penetrate and damage the mouth, tongue, stomach, and digestive organs. Without quick medical help, serious internal bleeding can occur, which in the worst-case scenario can lead to death.

  • Pancreatitis – Pancreatitis is a specific disease that occurs in dogs when they burn themselves from their high-fat eating routine. Cooked bones, especially pork bones, are usually high in fat as they are cooked with sauces, flavours, and spices. With too much-saturated fat, dogs cannot easily handle it which leads to pancreatitis. Common symptoms are gas, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and lethargy. Symptoms range from mild to severe, depending on the amount of fat consumed.
  • Clogging – Regardless of whether the bones can get through your dog’s neck, the chances of them getting stuck in their digestive tracts cannot be neglected. This occurs when a large portion of the bone cannot get through the intestines and fills up into the digestive system. This causes acid reflux which is likely to be followed by real illness.
    Also, your dog may be at risk of blockage in a colon prolapse. Please watch carefully for bowel movements as your pet most likely had an intestinal obstruction.

What type of bones can I feed to my dog?

Dog licking large bone

In general, the bones belong to two different categories:

  1. Edible Bones
  2. Recreational Bones

Edible bones are the ones that are soft and hollow. These type of bones does not bear any weight like chicken wings, turkey necks, etc. Edible bones do not contain marrow which allows the dog to chew the bone before eating it.
While on the other hand, recreational bones are the big bones that are filled with marrow on which your dog can nibble for hours. Recreational bones are not meant for eating and it is more of a play date for your dog. Beef hip bones, femurs are few examples of non-edible recreational bones.

How to select the right bone for your dog?

Small dog licking very large beef bone

The most important thing to remember while selecting the bones is that they must be appropriate for the size of your dog. Bones should be large enough such that it is difficult fo your dog to swallow it.
Dogs get overly excited seeing a bone and if your dog is hungry then he will definitely try to eat the whole bone and will not waste his time in chewing it. Therefore, it is recommended to feed him the bone after he had his meal.
So bigger the bone better it is for your dog.

Few Important Things to Consider

Dog laying in grass chewing bone with marrow
  • Keep the bones in refrigerator-friendly plastic containers.
  • Always let your dog eat the bone under your supervision.
  • Throw away the bone as soon as it has been chewed to a size where your dog could swallow it.
  • Dogs can get sore gums from nibbling. So keep on checking their mouth for any spots of blood.
  • Bones can get very smelly so keep them away from your furniture.
  • If your dog has pancreatitis, then choose specifically designed low-fat bone instead.

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