Should you feed your dog bones? There is much debate around the issue, no bones about it, but we say no, and here’s why.
Bones can make your dog very unwell, and even be deadly. Bones get stuck in the mouth, throat, oesophagus, stomach, and small intestine, and cause constipation. Any of these can prove fatal. It is also a costly and traumatic exercise to treat any of these problems.
Recently we have seen three cases of very sick and painful dogs with different problems due to eating bones. The constipated dog required several days in the hospital with repeated enemas; the dog with an oesophageal obstruction required urgent referral to the specialists at Massey; and the dog with an intestinal obstruction required urgent surgery in the clinic. Fortunately all of these animals were successfully treated. Unfortunately none of these issues are unusual.
Bones may help to clean teeth but can also wear them down faster and may cause teeth to fracture or break. The high fat content of marrow bones can cause pancreatitis, a very painful condition requiring hospitalisation; and raw meat can be a source of bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli, and Giardia, which cause pain, diarrhoea and vomiting.
Dogs in the wild that eat bones are vastly different animals to our pets. In the wild dogs live much shorter, harder lives, and if a wild dog gets a bone obstruction or breaks a tooth there is no vet to care for them.
Come in to our clinic to see our range of recommended alternatives for bones suitable for your pet. If you have fed your dog bones, it seems uncomfortable or depressed, has vomiting or diarrhoea, or you suspect it is constipated, please contact your veterinarian immediately. Don’t wait for them to get better on their own, as they may get worse before you seek help.