Ever wondered why our dogs love bones so much? Meatless and all, our furry friends seem to enjoy sucking, gnawing and biting these treats with such strong enthusiasm.
Science accounts this to the evolutionary history of our canine friends. Dogs come from hypercarnivorous ancestors which gave them their strong jaw muscles. These muscles make their bite powerful and capable of crushing the bones of their prey. This also causes their constant desire to chew.
Bones are very beneficial for the canine diet. The bone marrow inside is a good source of fat, potassium, and calcium for dogs. This fat sucking habit was a crucial survival method for their ancestors especially during the winter season.
Now that most dogs are already domesticated, benefits from gnawing bones have been narrowed down to cleaning and sharpening their teeth, alleviating stress and anxiety, and for young pups it eases the pain of teething.
As dog-lovers, we may be tempted to give our leftover bones to our pet thinking how happy they will be of the treat. But stop right there! Not all bones are equal. Some are good while others can be dangerous.
Veterinarians have reported several cases of broken teeth, bleeding mouth, wounded windpipe, choking and internal bleeding due to swallowed bones. A lot of these have led to multiple surgeries with long term recovery period, and there are even reports of death.
So before you hand one out to your pet, here are some tips to know whether that bone is safe for your dog:
Keep it raw.
Cooked or cured bones have weakened with pressure and heat. This makes them more prone to splinters, the most common cause of internal bleeding. It can wound and even cut up internal organs which will deliver your dog straight to the veterinary emergency room.
The bigger the better.
Big leg bones, especially of beef and pork, are perfect for dogs. They are strong and sturdy which means it won’t break and splinter easily. Plus it gives the dog’s jaw a good exercise. They also contain thicker bone marrow which provides more fat and calcium content. The cartilage at the joints are especially yummy for our pups.
No Chicken Bones.
Birds are known for their hollow bones which allow them to lift their bodies on air. Chickens, despite being flightless, also have that characteristic. Even the biggest chicken bones easily splinter in one dog bite because of the empty space inside.
A common alternative for actual bones are chew toys. But dangers lurk in these as well. Chew toys are prone to chemical contamination which may be toxic for dogs if ingested. Rawhide, as an example, is drenched in various toxic chemicals. Rawhide is basically leftover leather. Production of this involves intensive bleaching, curing and color treatment. These chemical heavy processes introduce harmful compounds to the material, compounds that we don’t want in our dogs’ mouth.
Dogs are man’s best friend. We don’t want harm to come their way. We can protect them only if we know where danger lies.