Can Dogs Eat Bones?

pug with bone shaped treat in his mouth

Bones are sometimes safe for dogs

Dogs love chewing on bones but not all bones are safe. Bones are high in calcium, phosphate, and other minerals. Chewing bones is good for dental health and helps remove plaque. It also provides a source of mental stimulation. With any bone, caution is needed.

Cooked bones should never be fed to dogs. They become brittle and can easily splinter into sharp shards. Cooked bones can cause broken teeth, choking, and obstruction anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract. The sharp pieces can also puncture the stomach or intestine causing a serious infection that can kill your dog.

Some raw bones are fine to give to your dog. But even raw bones can cause the same issues as cooked bones, including choking, broken teeth, obstruction, and perforation. It is important to always supervise your dog while they chew on a bone. Rib bones should never be given because they are small and can easily splinter. Some larger beef rib bones may be safe. Bones should be larger than your dog’s mouth so they cannot be swallowed. Raw pork bones should never be given since they can easily splinter. Chicken and turkey bones should generally be avoided but chicken wings or neck may be safe depending on size. It is safer to grind them since they are small and soft. Beef and lamb bones are a good option since they are larger.

Bone marrow is very fatty and can cause pancreatitis if eaten in large quantities. Eating bones often can cause constipation due to large amounts of calcium. Prepackaged bones should be avoided since they may contain unsafe additives and chemicals. Giving your dog digestible chew treats or a non-edible chew toy is a safe alternative to bones.

Symptoms: vomiting, avoiding food, distended abdomen, low energy, blood in stool, constipation, straining to defecate