SHOULD I GIVE MY GREYHOUND BONES?
We know dogs love to chew. This applies to all ages – from puppies to senior dogs. Chewing is simply part of their nature. Bones do have dental and nutritional benefits, but giving dogs the wrong type of bone can be hazardous.
Bones are a good source of minerals and other nutrients and help satisfy your dog’s appetite. Today’s Greyhound owner is much more knowledgeable about canine nutrition and realizes that the watchword about dog bones is: caution.
There is a lot of contradictory information out there about feeding bones to dogs, and it’s important to sort out what the facts are, including both the health benefits and risks. Have a discussion with your vet before giving your Greyhound new foods, bones, or chews to make sure you’re being as safe as possible. If you’re well-informed and follow some common-sense rules, it can be safe and even good for your pup.
- bones should only be given to dogs under supervision, and they should never be left alone with them
- never give your dog cooked bones
- bones should never be given in small chunks as they could be swallowed
- raw large bones are best for your dog - bones should be almost as big as your dog’s head (or at least as long as their muzzle)
- never let a dog bury a bone, nor dig them up later to eat
- frozen bones should never be given to dogs (can crack their teeth)
- let them chew on it for only 10-15 minutes, refrigerate after you take it away
- throw the bone away after 3-4 days
Dogs who eat cooked bones may suffer from the following:
- Broken teeth
- Mouth or tongue injuries
- Bones looped around the lower jaw
- Windpipe, esophagus, or gastrointestinal blockage
- Rectal bleeding
- Peritonitis–a bacterial infection of the abdomen caused by punctures in the stomach or intestines
Cooked bones should always be off-limits. They become brittle and easily break into sharp shards that can do a lot of damage when they pass through the gastrointestinal tract. Never feed your dog cooked bones. This includes those that originate in your kitchen and those that can be purchased. In 2015, the FDA received 35 reports of dogs suffering from a variety of conditions related to commercially available bone treat products including Ham Bones, Pork Femur Bones, Rib Bones, and Smokey Knuckle Bones.
Cooked bones are not digestible. If they happen to get all the way through the digestive tract they can also be very uncomfortable for the dog to get out the other end. Frozen bones get very hard and dogs are more likely to crack their teeth on them, and old or buried bones grow bacteria on them that can cause infection.
If your hound steals leftover cooked bones from the counter or trash, keep a close eye on them and call your vet at the first sign of discomfort or if anything seems off with your dog.
Pork bones, whether raw or cooked, are likely to splinter and crack when your dog chews on them. If your dog swallows bone pieces, they could choke or experience organ damage.
Raw bones are a good source of calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals. They have benefits to the digestive system, including strengthening the stomach muscles, preventing bloat, fostering healthy bowel movements, and preventing anal gland problems. Chewing stimulates saliva enzymes and helps prevent plaque buildup on teeth and gum disease. And a dog chewing on a bone is less inclined to excessively scratch or lick his paws.
In addition to physical health, chewing has the benefit of mentally stimulating dogs. This can actually reduce anxiety, which is linked to high blood pressure and heart disease.
You should know that bones that are too hard, even raw bones, could damage your dog’s teeth. If a bone is harder than a tooth, the tooth can fracture and your dog will need an expensive dental evaluation and treatment
Give your dog a bone after his meal. He’s not as likely to chew it as quickly.
Some advocate grinding bones into a powder to be sprinkled over food, which can provide the minerals from bones to your dog’s diet without the risks of choking or other complications. This does, however, also eliminate the benefits of chewing.
As to whether the health benefits outweigh the risks of feeding your dog bones, many veterinarians disagree on this issue. When going over the pros and cons, you should do your research and discuss these issues with your veterinarian before you decide to give your Greyhound a bone. Ultimately, the choice is yours as the caretaker of your dog.