Can My Dog Eat Leftover Bones?

Large dog with big boneShould I feed my dog leftover bones?

Leftover bones can be a great treat for dogs. However, there are certain types of bones that should be avoided to keep your dog safe and healthy.
Dr Adam Sternberg from Greencross Vets Brookvale says ‘If you must give your dog a bone then it should always be raw.’
‘If they are cooked, smoked, fried or steamed, this makes the bone very brittle and likely to splinter,’ he says.
‘Cooked bones are not recommended under any circumstance.’

Raw bones

While raw meat bones can be good for dental health, Dr Sternberg warns that ‘No bone is completely safe to give to a dog.’
The risks of giving your dog a bone include:
  • splintering
  • the bone becoming lodged in the mouth, throat, oesophagus or stomach
  • fractured teeth
  • constipation
Dr Sternberg says if you do decide to give your dog a bone, make sure you prepare it properly by separating all the meat from it first.
‘Some dogs become frustrated they cannot chew the meat off the bone, and they instead try to inhale the entire thing,’ he says. ‘I do not recommend feeding bones to dogs that ‘inhale’ their food. If dogs eat food or bones very fast, then the bone can become stuck and cause issues.’

Chicken bones

Dr Sternberg says if you’re intent on feeding your dog chicken bones, make sure you only use parts like chicken wing tips or neck pieces – and always cut them up into small, flattened pieces.
‘Chicken bones to dogs are like us going to a pub and having chips – they taste good, but aren’t healthy,’ he says. ‘I do not recommend feeding chicken drumsticks to dogs, nor wishbones.’

Other alternatives

Puppies in particular love to chew. There is a range of products that are safer and healthier than bones that will keep your dog entertained, maintain healthy teeth, and keep their jaw strong. These include flavoured synthetic bones and toys filled with dental friendly treats. If you have concerns over your dog’s dental health, consult your local Greencross Vets for advice on appropriate dental treats or toys.