Bones for Dogs

bearwithmeatyboneDeb D’Andrea

I know many a dog that enjoys a satisfying evening gnawing on a raw meaty bone, and my Girls are no different. The other day I offered each of them huge bones and they happily trotted off with their prize for hours of enjoyment. I keep a close eye on them while they enjoy their bones to ensure safe chewing.

A rule of thumb is to give your dog a bone that is large enough they cannot swallow the bone whole; thus, several bones I’ve seen in grocery stores are tiny, cut to about ½ inch thickness, which presents a choking hazard to my Girls. Also, I never give them cooked bones as cooking a bone makes it hard and more likely to splinter into smaller, sharp fragments should they crunch into one. I don’t let them keep bones strewn about the yard as the bones can dry out from sitting in the sun and present a splintering hazard. But raw meaty bones, chicken wings or necks can be a delicious addition to your dog’s meal. Of course you don’t want to just hand your dog a raw chicken wing without properly adjusting their digestive system to be able to handle raw food if they’ve never had it before.

Bone marrow is high in fat, and while delicious, ingesting high quantities of marrow can lead to pancreatitis or gastroenteritis. I typically give my Girls frozen bones so they can lick the marrow out like ice cream; and if the bones are really large, I’ll remove them before they finish helping minimize them ingesting too much marrow. In some dogs, the marrow can lead to constipation or diarrhea.

Gnawing on raw meaty bones is generally helpful in preventing dental disease, with the meaty part offering nature’s toothbrush as they chew through the bones, meat and tendons attached. The bones also offer up nutritional benefits of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Some aggressive chewer dogs can unfortunately do damage to their teeth, fracturing a tooth as they chew or getting pieces of bone stuck between two teeth. Fortunately, my Girls are not aggressive chewers but I still keep a close eye on them with their bones. Also, they are not aggressive towards each other when they have their bones, but many dogs will display possessive behavior so it’s recommended to separate dogs to reduce any issue from arising. I also remove bones from the house when I know visiting dogs are coming by to avoid confrontations.

If you’re thinking about adding raw meaty bones into your dog’s diet, Abby at the feed store here in Nederland is a great resource to ask questions about feeding. She carries raw meaty bones in several sizes, along with bison or beef.

Till next time. Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz & the Caribou Dog Ranch is recognized by the State of Colorado as a Certified Canine Massage Therapist and visits your home or Vet to work with your dog. Canine Agility may be offered at the Caribou Dog Ranch in 2017 if there is interest. Deb currently has limited availability for new Petz Nanny Clients; and she bakes up fresh dog treats & doggy birthday cakes per order.  For information contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or email:

Deb D'Andrea

Deb D’Andrea a columnist for The Mountain-Ear. She is the founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz which provides mobile Canine Massage, Canine Agility and Petz Nanny Services. Her home-made dog treats are sold at local stores, and 4TheLuvOfDogz K9Birthday Cakes are available direct. Deb Petz Nanny’s for dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, etc. Contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or email. Online: 4TheLuvOfDogz