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Exploring the Benefits of Dog Bones as Long-Lasting Chews

You would almost think that the incredibly strong connection between dog bones and dogs were self-explanatory or at least, completely natural.  Surely the number one reason for buying dog bone dog treats is to give a dog a long hard chew.  And sometimes it is, but it can be so much more.

We will firstly look at the time aspects of dog bone chewing, then some of the other benefits.

Safety first

Firstly, let’s explore the elephant bone in the room.  The major reason that people avoid dog bones for their dogs, is that their vet told them to.

The reason they did that is the potential for a choking hazard.  But of course, many dogs choke on kibble each year.  And some big dogs get bloat – another big risk of dog death, and again from kibble. Perhaps we should ban kibble?

And the reason for the ban is said to be blanket safety concerns.  Whether it be raw or cooked, big or small bones, the nutrition challenged vets will take the safest option and offer you one of their high margins, synthetic or plant-based bone shaped treats to amuse your dog.  Not actually give your dog any nutrition, and not the best dental cleaners either, but a high margin treat for the vet none the less.

Dog bone chewing time

The technical term for this is an ‘occupier treat’.  The number one reason dog bones are used is to provide the most interest, and longest chew time for a dog.

But just like all dogs are not the same, there are many different shapes, strengths and sizes of bones.  Getting the match right for your dog will provide the best chewing time option.

For example, a small dog, even with great chewing technique, is unlikely to get its jaw wrapped around a large bone head.  They will chew the gristle on both ends, but then are most likely going to be bored since all of the meat and anything they can digest is gone.

At the opposite end, a big chewing big dog, with a relatively small or soft bone, will chew the whole thing down to nothing very quickly, and that means a very short time that they are occupied.

A big dog, with a big clod bone (load bearing leg bone) is likely to see this as a worthy challenge. But if that bone is of a domestic animal, fed growth hormones, its possible that the bone can be moderately easy to crack.  They will enjoy getting the marrow, but it could potentially break into sharp splinters that an lodge in the big dogs neck.

Before you select a bone for your dog, you need to know what your goals are, and what the specific dog’s capabilities are.

  • Do you want to just select the bone that will last the longest
  • Do you want to pick a bone that has meat on it so they get nutrition.
  • Do you want to select a bone that is a good dental bone chew and will clean their teeth?
  • Do you want the dog to NOT break the bone, or break the bone safely so it gets a calcium, phosphorous and marrow reward?

We would normally suggest getting a bone that last a while, that is safe, gives a dog nutrition and some dental cleaning.

The big safety tip.  If you trust the place or person  you are buying the bone from, get their advice. If they don’t ask what kind of dog you have, or what the purpose is, you probably are shopping at the wrong place.

ALWAYS observe your dog chewing the type of bone you have selected before leaving it alone.  We suggest that feeding your dog on a work day off, after they have had a big walk and are very hungry.  You will then see if they know how to chew safely (ie if they chew properly before swallowing).

Consult your vet if you have any major concerns.  Noting that if your vet mostly sells commercial dog food, and isn’t big on natural feeding or raw diets, they probably won’t be a fan of bones of any type.

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