Raw Meaty Bones for Dogs

The idea of feeding raw meaty bones may take some getting used to on our end but your dog will love them and they're even good for him!

Since this topic can be so controversial, I feel it’s necessary to add a caveat.

I’m not suggesting you do this! I’m just offering information.

Whew, ok, let's move on, the converts to raw feeding are many and it’s something worth considering if just from the standpoint of being an educated dog person.

I know it’s a stretch for many of you to even consider feeding such things to your babies.

You probably have a lot of questions. Fair enough: Doesn’t raw meat have bacteria? Aren’t bones dangerous? What kinds of bones? Where do you get them?

First things first

1)Yes, raw meat probably has some bacteria. But that’s ok. Dog’s bodies are made to eat raw meat and deal with bacteria. Have you ever considered what dogs in the wild eat? Dead carcasses. Often OLD dead carcasses.

The raw meat is packed with enzymes, which, as I mentioned in my last newsletter, helps to clean their teeth.

Gnawing on the bones gives your dog a little work out and the scraping action of chewing on the bone really helps to clean out their teeth. Plus, the bone is packed with calcium.

2) Of course, there’s always the possibility of choking or getting hurt on the bone.

Gauge the bone size for your dog and give them one in proportion with his or her size. A bigger bone is a good idea so they can’t swallow it whole. And don’t give them bones and then leave for work! Bones should be given in a supervised setting. That way, if something does happen, you’re there to help or call the vet if necessary.

3) What kinds of bones? Mary Straus of Whole Dog Journal feeds her Shar-pei raw chicken necks, chicken backs and lamb breast. You can also feed canned salmon and other canned fish, pork breast and bones and riblets. You can feed plenty of other foods too but this is a starting point.

Cooked chicken bones are usually the ones you hear of shattering. Dr Pitcairn warns that chicken, turkey, fish or pork bones can splinter easily whether they’re cooked or not.

Actually, any cooked bones can shatter and cause problems for your dog. Can is the important word here. It doesn't mean they will.

So, it’s best to give raw bones, not cooked ones. Some proponents of raw meaty bones even advocate giving a whole carcass such as a Cornish hen or quail and letting your pet consume the entire thing.

4) You can get the bones at the grocery (an ethnic grocery may have more selection), a butcher shop or possibly a food co-op. It seems many people get to know a butcher and have that person set aside particular bones for them. But to get started, the meat section at the grocery will work.

Why would you feed raw meaty bones anyway some of you are asking?

Well, the dental benefits of clean teeth without expensive vet bills is one reason. Another is to more closely mimic the eating habits of dogs in the wild. Most people feeding raw meaty bones are also feeding a raw diet to their pets.

I know it was scary the first time I gave Baggins a raw meaty beef chuck neck bone. I watched closely. He seemed happy but a little confused. He gnawed the meat off and then left the bone. He wanted to play with the bone. Next, when I tried putting chicken livers in his dish he wouldn’t touch them. Still haven’t gotten him to eat those!

My point is, I’m tiptoeing into this raw food diet as much as many of you and I want this to be a place of information sharing. If you’ve had experiences with raw meaty bones good or bad, or you have questions, please share.

And remember, I'm not a vet and you should consult a vet if you have concerns about your pet. Thanks!

Some resources for you to learn more:

Dr. Tom Lonsdale

Mary Straus

Dr. Ian Billinghurst