While we love to serve up beef bones for dogs, and know calcium is highly important, there is a caveat. They can cause lead poisoning. I know, something else to worry about. Here's what you can do.
As you can see, my 14-year-old pit bull loves his bones. They keep him occupied and dogs need to chew for both exercise and to keep those teeth clean. Plus they're natural where things like rawhide chews are not. (In fact, most rawhide chews are treated with harsh chemicals so stay away!)
In fact, I switched to get away from rawhide chews. Raw bones add a nutritious source of calcium (dogs need ten times more calcium than we do!) and give my dogs a long lasting chew toy.
Imagine my shock when I read about the dangers of beef bones and beef dog food in Dr. Pitcairn's book, Complete guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats.
Lead from industrial output (and remember leaded gasoline?) still linger in the environment and become stored in the bones of cattle.
If you buy beef dog food, especially in a can, your dog can still be at risk for lead poisoning. Why? Added bone meal.
You should be aware that in one study a sampling of canned dog food revealed lead contamination levels ranging from 1.0 to 5.6 parts per million.
If this doesn't seem like much, consider that just one tiny six ounce can of such foods would exceed the dose of lead considered potentially toxic for children.
Consider using more fresh human grade food for your dog to avoid this and the many other toxins in highly processed dog foods. Have you ever heard the saying, "Variety is the spice of life?" Well variety is also a key to health!
Alternate with chicken, turkey, lamb or other meat source for your dog’s dinner.
Lead poisoning in dogs is not easy to recognize since it has such varying symptoms. Seizures, hyperactivity, blindness, stomach cramps, diarrhea, or anemia.
There are no drugs or prescriptions from your vet to rid the body of lead poisoning but there is a way.
A great way to do a lead detox should you suspect it, is through homeopathy. One of the things I love about homeopathy is there are no side effects and if the remedy isn't needed, it isn't used.
Use a heavy metal detox. I've seen them sold through both Pets Alive and Newton Homeopathics. (Newton is less expensive.)
To Sum It Up
The truth is, there are unseen toxins out there and it's inevitable that some will invade the bodies of our dogs and ours as well.
The best we can do is feed our dogs truly nutritious foods we can trust which leads (not leads) us to a homemade diet. If we put it together, we will know what's in it.
And I can't tell you how much those beef bones for dogs are cherished by my pit bulls. Since I feed a BARF diet, the bones they actually chew and swallow are from chicken, turkey and lamb.
And those beef bones for dogs? I serve them up big and raw where very little of the bone is actually ingested. I just can't bring myself to take that away from them.
I also keep a kit of homeopathic remedies and know an occasional detox is a good thing.