The idea that it’s natural for dogs to chew on bones is a popular one. However, it can be dangerous and can cause serious injury to your pet. Some people think it’s safe to give dogs large bones, like those from a ham or a roast, but they are unsafe no matter what their size. Giving your dog a bone may make your pet a candidate for a trip to your vet, possible emergency surgery, or even death. Make sure you throw out bones from your own meals in a way that your dog can’t get to them and pay attention to where your dog’s nose is when you walk around the neighbourhood—steer your pet away from any objects lying in the grass.
Here are 10 reasons why it’s a bad idea to give your dog a bone:
1. Broken teeth. This usually requires extraction or dental restoration of one of the major chewing teeth.
2. Mouth or tongue injuries. These can be serious and require a vet visit.
3. Getting bone stuck in your dog’s mouth. This can be frightening and painful for your dog and means a trip to the vet.
4. Getting the bone stuck in the oesophagus. Your dog may gag, trying to bring the bone back up, and will need to see your vet.
5. Bone stuck in windpipe. This may happen if your dog accidentally inhales a small enough piece of bone. This is an emergency because your dog will have trouble breathing. Get your pet to your vet immediately!
6. Bone getting stuck in stomach. The bone may be too big to pass out of the stomach and into the intestines. Your dog may need surgery to remove the stuck bone from the stomach.
7. Bone getting stuck in intestines causing a blockage. Time for major surgery.
8. Constipation due to bone fragments. Your dog may have a hard time passing the bone fragments because they’re very sharp and they scrape the inside of the large intestine and rectum as they move along. This causes severe pain and requires a visit to your vet.
9. Severe bleeding from the rectum. This is can be dangerous. It’s time for a trip to see your vet.
10. Pancreatitis and diarrhoea. This very painful condition can arise due to the large amount of fat found in the marrow of bones. It can often lead to many days hospitalisation and treatment and lifelong dietary restrictions.
We have several alternatives to giving bones to your dog that are safe for dogs to chew on. Always supervise your dog with any chew product, especially one your dog hasn’t had before, and always, if your dog ‘just isn’t acting right,’ call your veterinarian right away!