When to give dog bones
How often should you give a dog bones?
If you’re a new dog owner or haven’t traditionally feed your furry friend bones, it’s understandable that you might feel apprehensive about how to feed dog bones and when to give dog bones. You’ve come to the right place as we’ll explore all these aspects of bones for dogs and more. By the end of this article, you’ll be confident in feeding tasty bones and your four-legged friend will thank you for it!
What are the health benefits of dog bones?
Bones are like toys for dogs, they keep them happy and stimulated. Arguably, they’re even better than a toy as they smell and taste great and can defer other health benefits too!
Bones are an excellent source of nutrition for your dog. They are packed with minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. They are also high in protein, fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids.
What other reasons would you have for giving bones to your dog?
Other advantages to giving dogs bones is that they are considered nature’s toothbrush, an important part of good dental care for pets. The saliva that is stimulated from chewing a bone helps to clean the dog’s teeth and gums and prevents build-up of plaque.
Chewing a bone can help relieve boredom and anxiety. A dog that has a chance to gnaw away at a bone will be less likely to chew or lick his paws and create sore spots.
Can puppies have bones too?
Why should puppies miss out on all the fun? Yes, puppies can have bones. In fact, it’s recommended to start on bones early so that they get the hang of it properly and don’t cause damage to their teeth later on. Wait til your pup is around four months old and once you notice their adult teeth coming through.
Start with soft bones such as chicken necks and offer them just once per week initially. Ensure that you always supervise your puppy with the bone from start until it’s full consumption.
Top tips for how to feed dog bones
There are some key considerations to giving dogs bones. For your dog’s safety, make sure you follow these rules:
- Always raw bones, never cooked. Cooked bones can splinter and cause choking or throat damage.
- Size does matter. A good rule of thumb is to choose a bone longer than the length of the dog’s muzzle. You don’t want to give small pieces of hard bone as they can be a choking hazard. And not too big that they can’t get their mouth around it or hurt their jaw trying.
- Note that bones should almost always be chewed on, rather than chewed through. The exception is the small chicken bones that are suitable for small dogs, and these would be entirely devoured.
- Choose meaty bones but not with too much fat as excess fat can cause stomach upset.
- You can allow your dog a bone around 1-3 times per week. Generally, it’s best to give it to them for a short while (up to 20 minutes) and then take it away. Store in the fridge but dispose of after four days to reduce bacterial contamination risk.
- Give a bone after a meal so the dog’s appetite is satisfied and they are less likely to wolf it down quicky.
- Supervise the dog when they are eating bones and be ready to confiscate it, if it looks dangerous or has sharp edges.
How to introduce raw bones for dogs
Start slowly. We recommend just one bone a week initially as your dog gets accustomed to it. If your dog already eats a raw diet of fresh meat, then they will adapt readily to the addition of bones. However, if your dog is currently on a more processed diet, then their stomach may have adapted to that and it will be harder on their digestive system initially when you introduce unprocessed meat from the bones.
If just starting out and wondering when to give dog bones, the best time is straight after their dinner. This is because they will have active stomach acid which can aid in the digestion of the bone.
Be aware that dog’s with sensitive stomachs may find bones and their marrow cause flare ups so tread carefully if your pooch is prone to tummy upset.
“If just starting out and wondering when to give dog bones, the best time is straight after their dinner”.