Choosing the Right Raw Bones for My Dogs
Choosing the Right Raw Bones for My Dogs
22 February, 2017
chihuahua holding dog bone and walking on the grass

Guest Blog by: Kimberly Gauthier, Dog Nutrition Blogger for Keep the Tail Wagging

One of the scariest things about feeding raw – for me – was giving my dogs raw meaty bones.  Raw bones were the one area that veterinarians have done a bang up job warning dog parents about because they see the bad side of raw bones all the time.

  • Broken teeth
  • Abscesses and infections
  • Punctured esophagus
  • Punctured digestive tract
  • Obstruction

Each of these is horribly painful for dogs and terribly expensive for dog parents.  While I love taking control of my dogs’ nutrition and I understand that giving them raw bones is important, it’s scary too, right?

Why Dogs Need Raw Bones in their Diet

I give my dogs raw bones for three reasons…

  • Teeth cleaning and flossing
  • Great neck, shoulder, and jaw workout
  • Satisfies a dog’s chew drive

Our dogs LOVE chewing on their bones, and I love the peace that falls over our home when four dogs are busy gnawing away at their bones.  And I have seen a difference in my dogs’ teeth and breath thanks to a chewing session.

But it can’t just be any raw bone.

Choosing the Right Bones or My Dogs

I give our dogs raw meaty bones and recreational bones.  Raw meaty bones are bones that still have a lot of meat on them like duck necks and can serve as a small meal or part of a meal.

Recreational bones are bones with very little meat and are given to dogs to satisfy their chew drive and clean their teeth; these are not part of my dogs’ meal.

I will only allow my dogs to have bones under supervision and this is how I have been able to determine which bones were right for my dogs.  The following are the bones that I love and the bones I avoid.

Raw Meaty Bones

I have yet to find raw meaty bones that don’t work for my dogs, but, to be honest, they’ve only tried three:

  • Duck necks
  • Turkey necks
  • Lamb necks

I don’t give my dogs chicken necks because I don’t feed my dogs chicken due to Rodrigo’s protein allergies.

Recreational Bones

I like the following bones because they’re too big for the dogs to swallow and they give my dogs a long chew session while still having plenty left to save for the next day.  Stock up on freezer bags.

  • Beef knuckle bones
  • Beef knee caps

I don’t like the following bones because they either splinter (increased risk of internal trauma) or they’re too hard (increased risk of tooth injury).

  • Rib bones
  • Marrow bones
  • Leg bones

Not all raw feeders will agree because every dog is different. Rodrigo is a strong chewer, and I chose bones for my dogs based on his chewing style.

Alternatives to Raw Bones for Dogs

Ultimately, it boils down to what you feel comfortable doing with your dog.  I didn’t give my dogs bones for the first year that I fed them a raw diet; today, I order raw bones by the case.

If you’re not there yet, there are alternatives.  The following are chews I give my dogs during the winter months to help keep their teeth clean.  They’re not as good as raw bones, but they’re a great runner up…

  • Bully sticks
  • Tendons
  • Dehydrated turkey necks
  • Kangaroo tails
  • Beef gullet

For more options, check out my list of 28 Safe Alternatives to Rawhide Chews and find the perfect chew for your dog.

About the Author: Kimberly Gauthier is the Dog Nutrition Blogger and Pet Food Nutrition Specialist behind Keep the Tail Wagging, a blog about raw feeding and dog nutrition.  Kimberly and her boyfriend are raising two sets of littermates in the Pacific Northwest where they enjoy a property with plenty of room to run and explore.



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