What Kind of Bones Are Safe For Dogs?

what kind of bones are safe for dogs
what kind of bones are safe for dogs

It’s hard to resist giving our dogs a treat every now and then, but you may want to think twice before offering your dog a bone. Not all bones are safe for dogs; some can cause serious problems. Read on to find out what kind of bones are safe for dogs! 

Dog owners love it when their canine pals consume edible treats and snacks that they provide them with.

It’s not uncommon for people to give their pup a bone as well in order to keep them occupied while they leave the house or go about doing other tasks around the house.

However, what many people don’t realize is that not all bones are good for their pups! 

In this article you will learn:

  • the best type of bones for dogs
  • which bones are best for chewing, for their stomach and which ones are the worst
  • our favorite options of the best type of bone
  • if your dog’s stomach can dissolve a bone
  • why dogs bury their bone

What Bones Are Safe For Dogs?

We are often asked what kind of bone is best for dogs as there are so many options. The best type of bone is not only about the style or nutritional value. It is also about what your dog breed likes, their habits and your budget.

The safest type of raw meat bone for your dog to chew are beef, turkey or lamb bones.

Chicken necks are a great alternative to a small chicken bone and are inexpensive. 

Raw meaty treats are also fantastic and a safe alternative to raw meat bones if you’re concerned for your dog’s teeth.

Bully sticks, rawhide chews, pig ears, elk antlers or chew toys offer the same benefits.

Why Do Dogs Love to Chew?

Let’s start with why dogs love bones or chew toys – they love chewing! This goes way back to their wild dog days.

When they used to hunt, they would chew the raw bones of the animals they ate.

chewing bones

Chewing is one of their natural desires and raw bones are the perfect way to satisfy it. 

Giving your dog something to chew is great for a multitude of reasons. 

The marrow and raw meat that comes off them is full of nutritional benefits. Feeding bones give your dog their calcium intake and provides much-needed vitamins and minerals. 

Although, you must be careful with what kind of bone you give your dogs and how often. 

A maximum of one to two bones should be given as marrow bones can be high in fat. If chewed too much, they can also give your dog fractured teeth. Check out this article about everything you need to know on marrow bones for more information.

Another reason why raw treats, rawhide or bones are great for dogs to chew on is for their dental hygiene.

Chewing dog treats helps their teeth as chewing prevents plaque buildup. This is very important as it keeps your dogs’ teeth strong and healthy. 

Did we mention raw dog bones and chew toys are stimulating?

A recreational bone can keep them busy and stop your dog from chewing shoes or other items. Dogs can chew on these for hours and not get bored.

If your dog is chewing a lot, we’ve written an article on simple ways to stop your dogs destructive chewing

What Kind Of Bones Should You Avoid?

Cooked Bones

Cooked bones are incredibly unsafe for dogs as the tiny bone fragments can chip off once cooked. This can get stuck in your dog’s esophagus and cause them to choke when chewing. Cooked bones can cut the tonsils up or the stomach if they make it that far. They can even puncture their gastrointestinal tract!

Cooked bones are unsafe for your dogs’ mouth too. They can splinter into their gums or cause a broken tooth. The shards can give them tongue or gum lacerations. Fractured dog teeth would be incredibly painful for your pup and expensive for you. 

Cooked Chicken Bones

Cooked chicken bones are the worst type of cooked bone as the bones are so small. A large, cooked beef bone, pork bone or lamb bone are unsafe too and can cause the same damage. Pork bones are a close second to cooked chicken bones as they easily splinter or chip. 

bones to avoid

You must be very careful to not give these cooked bones to your dog to chew on. You should also make sure your dog doesn’t get them out of the trash or nick them off your plate to chew!

Smoked Dog Bone

A smoked dog bone has become a popular chewing option but recent research points away from giving these to dogs. It has shown there has been an increased risk of choking with this type of bone treat as it splinters. It’s best to be safe and give your dog a raw meat animal bone instead.

Not only are cooked or smoked bones unsafe, but they also do not offer the same nutritional value as raw meaty bones or chew toys.

We’ve written an article on dog food nutrition so you can learn more about what foods are best for your dog.

Can a Dog’s Stomach Dissolve a Bone?

A dogs’ stomach acid has no problem in digesting bones if they chew them properly.

Dogs have been chewing bones for centuries.

Their digestive systems are so fantastic that raw chicken bones will often dissolve before they’ve even hit their stomach!

How do you know if a bone is stuck in your dog?

This can depend on your dogs’ individual traits.

Notice if your dog is barking or wanting more attention than usual after eating a bone.

This could be a sign they have a bone stuck in their body. 

  • Regurgitating or vomiting – You may notice your dog starting to regurgitate or vomit. They often try to chew grass when they need to be sick so look out for this. 
  • Loss of appetite – They may lose their appetite or seem more tired than usual. 
  • Restlessness – Your dog might start pacing and become restless and fidget.
  • Drooling or tilting – You might notice your dog drooling. Dogs can also sometimes tilt their head trying to dislodge something that is stuck. 
  • Constipation – When bone fragments are stuck or haven’t been chewed enough, it can cause constipation. 
  • Blue gums – Dogs might get blue gums or paw at their face if there is something stuck.

If you see any of these tell-tale signs, you must try and get the bone out. 

Ask for help from someone in your family if you can.

Get them to hold your dog while you open their tongue and try to dislodge the bone with your fingers.

You could also try the pet Heimlich maneuver. 

This video explains how to dislodge stuck bones and how to the Heimlich maneuver on pets. It is super helpful, plus the dog is very cute!

If this fails, take your dog to the vet immediately. 

People Also Ask:

How long do I let my dog chew on a bone?

fractured dog teeth

Raw meaty bones or bones with filling are fantastic dog treats.

Ingesting too much bone can lead to intestinal problems so it is best to give it to them after a meal. They should be treated like a dog treat or recreational bone, rather than a meal. 

Because of this, it is best to take it away after 10-15 minutes or your dog will happily chew a dog bone for hours.

Have a look at an excellent video the American Kennel Club made about dogs and bones.

Why do dogs bury bones and not eat them?

It’s funny how after all these years, dogs still have the instincts of their descendants – wolves!

Dogs bury bones to preserve the meat and keep it out of sunlight.

Back in the day, they would have had to stockpile food and save it from other dogs in their pack. This instinct still comes through in their behavior today.

To prevent this, make sure you take your dog’s bone off them after 10-15 minutes. 

Great options for bones and chew toys

The options for the best bones or chew toys are endless!

The best dog raw bone options for your dog to chew are a marrow bone, beef bone, meaty bone or a bone with filling. 

If you live somewhere warm, you can even give your dog a frozen bone to cool them down!

Be careful it is not rock hard frozen though, as this could cause a tooth fracture.

If you want your dog to have a chew toy or bone treat that is not raw here are some excellent, safe alternatives to feeding bones: 

  • elk antler
  • nylon bone
  • synthetic bone
  • rawhide bone
  • natural bone
  • milk bone
  • bully stick
  • rib bones
  • pig ears. 

You can pick up these items from your local butcher, pet store or grocery store. 

If you’re more of an online shopper, here are some of our favorite bone options for your dog to chew.

These are all great for dental health, entertainment and nutrition:

Rawhide Kabobs – Suitable for puppies and all breed sizes. 

Bully Sticks – Suitable for puppies, small and medium dogs

Pig Ears – Suitable for small to large dogs.