BONE is a four-letter word
I am opposed to feeding bone…ground or whole…in a dog or cats’ food. The reason you should not feed the bones in their food is because those bones are not fresh kill. Prey that they catch in the wild is raw, fresh, and alive. The bones are still soft, supple, hydrated, and full of nutrients. Bones in the meat you buy have been dead for days, weeks, or months. Rigor mortis sets in right after death and the bones become hard, brittle, dehydrated; the nutrients are dead and gone. What is left is a gritty substance that causes severe pancreatitis, leaky-gut, irritable bowel, impacted bowel, chalky and bloody stools, diarrhea, constipation, all of which are devastating to the gastrointestinal system.
And if your dog swallows a chunk of bone that is too large to go through his esophagus or his small intestine, you have a serious blockage problem.
Yes, you can occasionally give SOME dogs bones for dessert to chew for pleasure. And even that needs to be evaluated depending on each individual dog, how voraciously s/he goes after the bone. If your dog actually eats the bone, breaks off chunks, whatever, then you must take the bone away. When giving bones, you must be there with your dog. Do not give your dog a bone, and then go off and not observe whether s/he is eating the actual bone. It is okay to eat the meat off of the bone, but not the bone itself.
NO bones of any kind, whole or ground, should be fed to dogs or cats as part of their main meal.
DOGS: No cooked bones, rawhide, pig’s ears, bully sticks, dental chews, milk bones, greenies, dried jerky, or any of the other various treats you find in pet stores.
CATS: No cooked bones, catnip, temptations, greenies, fish treats, dental chews, moist-soft treats or any of the other various treats you fine in pet stores.
Femur bones can be given for pleasure. The femur bone that has the marrow in it has to be at least 3 inches long; your dog can spend time trying to dig out the marrow. However, you cannot buy femur bones that are usually sold as soup bones and are about 1/2 to 1 inch thick, because those bones can get caught over the bottom canine teeth once your dog digs out the marrow, and more often than not, you cannot dislodge the bone yourself; it has to be sawed off.
Also Kongs filled with raw meat can be fun for your dogs. If they are able to get the raw meat out in a couple of seconds, then my suggestion is to freeze the Kongs packed with the raw meat, and that will take at least a little longer to get out that frozen raw meat.
I have been making what I call “hot dogs.” This is the one time I use ground beef that I know is pure ground beef. I roll the meat into the appropriate size of hot dogs, depending on the size of the dog. I freeze them on cookie sheets, and when frozen, then put them in a bag in the freezer and give them for treats. I sometimes add the cooked vegetables to the “hot dogs.”
You can also try knuckle bones; see if after your dog eats the meat/fat off what s/he does with the bone. If s/he just keeps chewing on it for pleasure and doesn't break off any pieces that s/he can swallow, then s/he's fine. But once you see that s/he can actually destroy the bone, you have to take it away.
Be sure the knuckle bones are too large for your dog to swallow.
If your dog or cat is interested in any soft toys that they can tear up, they can have those. When my dogs were pups, I went to the thrift stores and bought stuffed toys for 50 cents and let my dogs tear them up to their heart's content. You have to be sure that the stuffed toys have embroidered or painted eyes and noses and not glass or buttons, and that they are stuffed with batting and not plastic pellets or beans.
I feel that dog toys are too expensive to let them tear up. And the ones they can't tear up, they usually don't like. Cats are much more about texture and movement of their toys.
Bones & Treats & Toys
TREATS: The only treats that should be given to your dogs and cats are pieces of raw meat or raw meatballs or butter. For training purposes, you may give tiny pieces of roasted meat, because it certainly isn't convenient to carry raw meat in your pocket.
For free nutrition information and advice, email Pat McKay