Raw bones for dogs provide important minerals, protein, fats, collagen, vitamins, and enzymes in perfect proportions, especially if they are raw meaty bones.
From the Archives: This page was originally published in 2012
Many of us picture a big slick clean bone,
like in the old cartoons, but a good raw bone has meat, cartilage and
a bit of fat.
I've seen my dogs work for what seems like hours when they get a large fresh raw meaty bone. First, no one wants to walk away until it's picked clean.
Second, they enjoy the chewing so much they lose track of time. It's like having a dog sitter who brushes their teeth :-)
And boy do they pick a bone clean. They use their front teeth to scrape every morsel of meat and tissue from the bone and then they go after the bone marrow.
Later they will still chew on it for the shear enjoyment of it for maybe 30 minutes at a time.
No matter what you feed your dog as a meal, raw meaty bones should at least be a healthy treat on a regular basis.
Now when we talk about the canine raw diet, raw bones for dogs have a little different definition. We choose parts that have a larger ratio of bone to meat. Here's are examples of standard fare where the bones in their entirety will be eaten;
split pigs feet
The last two I tried after a few years of feeding raw. It gives them variety, even though it was hard to get used to for me.
Here's my Bonz eating a beef bone with marrow. Most dogs love them.
Bonz was nearly 12 years old in this picture. He had all his teeth, they were clean and he had never been to a vet's office for teeth cleaning!
Canine oral health is something we all want for our dogs and raw dog bones keep our dog’s teeth clean and his gums healthy, eliminating degenerative tooth and gum disease.
By the way, he didn't make the switch to raw until he was around nine years old so imagine my delight to see those pearly whites come back.
-And he's a very good boy to stay on his old blanket while he enjoys his treat!
Did you know that a build up of tarter can not only lead to tooth loss and gum disease (and pain for your dog) but the bacteria from chronic mouth infections can spread to various organs in the body, resulting in more disease? Yuck!
Worried about your dog ingesting bacteria (germs) when eating raw bones? Please don’t be. Dogs have a short intestinal tract to take care of that (see dog digestion).
Also their saliva kills germs, which is why they lick their wounds (and yours).
Why not serve treated or cooked instead of raw bones for dogs? Cooking kills the food value and treated bones just add unnatural chemical additives your dog can definitely do without.
Don’t we all suffer from too many chemicals already? Every time I see those huge, colorful, treated beef knuckle bones in the grocery store I shake my head and think what a waste that is. They have been altered to make them look more appetizing to humans.
If you're worried about bacteria from leaving a raw bone out at room temperature, you can stick it in the freezer for a day or two to kill the germs and then serve again.
Kibble does NOT clean the teeth. I still hear this fallacy more often
than I can stand. It is hard and crunchy but it is made of things that
stick to the teeth and all those carbs in kibble turn to sugar promoting bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease.
In retrospect, I wonder how many pair of shoes I might have saved if I’d started my dogs on raw bones when they were much younger. Not only will a good size bone entertain each of my dogs for at least thirty minutes, it gives them focus, gets rid of a little energy – and they look so happy chewing on them!
Lastly, I have read that it's best to throw out any raw bones for dogs after several days because they dry out and become too hard and might chip a tooth. Personally I've kept them around for a few months and not had any problems at all. The choice is yours.
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