If you ask most dog owners in Singapore, there’s a high chance that they feed bones to their dogs. Bones can have essential nutrients that our furry friends need but did you know they can also be dangerous?
Recently, a Taiwanese animal hospital shared a photo of a dog that underwent a one-hour operation to extract 1.3kgs of undigested bone from its stomach.
In the post, the veterinarian noted that most of the bones removed were chicken bones. They also pointed out that bones tend to cut dogs’ digestive tracks or clog them.
There’s a small chance that bones can kill dogs as well if you’re unlucky.
So should I stop feeding my dog bones?
Not at all! Bones can be healthy for dogs because they’re nutritional, it cleans their teeth, and it stimulates them mentally as they gnaw down on them.
But it’s important to take precaution when feeding your dogs bones unless you want them to end up like that poor pooch in Taiwan.
Here’s what you need to consider according to most veterinarians:
- Raw vs cooked – Most experts agree that cooked bones should never be given to dogs, they become brittle and easily break into sharp shards. The cooking process also removes some of the nutrients your dog needs. Uncooked bones, on the other hand, are somewhat safer compared to their cooked counterparts.
- Bone size – For recreational bones — ones for chewing and not eating — the bone should be about the size of the dogs head to prevent it from swallowing it whole. Larger bones are also less likely to be chewed into shards.
- Type of animal – Generally, larger animal bones like beef and lamb are safer while chicken, fish and pork are forbidden.
Another point to note is how much bone your dog is eating. You shouldn’t give them too much bone because they can be harder to digest. Additionally, when giving them bones for chewing, you should supervise them and only let them chew for 15 minutes at a time to make sure they don’t overeat.
This is stressing me out, can I just not feed them bones?
Of course. Most store-bought dog food provides all the nutrients your dogs need already. But you still need to make sure they have something to chew on — it keeps them entertained while keeping their teeth clean.
Also, note that opinions on feeding bones to dog differ widely depending on the veterinarian and animal organisation. It all boils down to being aware of the risks that you’re taking.
If you still have concerns, speak directly to your local veterinarian on advice on what to feed your dog.