Choosing Bones: What Bones Are Safe for Dogs?

what bones are safe for dogs
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Let’s be honest: Dogs commonly experience boredom.  They spend the entire day lying around the house waiting for their loved ones to return from work or school. Your pets undoubtedly still get a lot of downtime, even if you work from home. 

Recreational bones for dogs come into play here. But, what bones are safe for dogs?

One of the best things your dog can do is rip into a massive bone! It’s a fantastic exercise for your dog to build muscles. It strengthens the neck and spine. In fact, you can see your dog working his entire body as he chews on a large bone.

Additionally, bones serve as nature’s toothbrush. Chewing cleans teeth of plaque and tartar and freshens breath.

Don’t grab any old bone. It matters what kind of bone you offer your dog.

By selecting the appropriate bone, you can provide your dog with a safe, enjoyable activity for the afternoon. If you give your dog the wrong bone, you might have to take him to the hospital!

You must pick a bone that is appropriate for your dog’s size and chewing style.

Choose The Right Bone Type

There are two types of recreational bones for dogs: long bones and flat bones.

Long Bones 

The bones of an animal’s legs and wings are called long bones.

Long bones frequently have a smooth, hard exterior and a large, marrow-filled interior. These bones’ ends are often soft and contain a significant amount of healthy cartilage.

Flat Bones 

The ribs, pelvis, shoulder, and spinal column are all examples of flat bones. They don’t have as much marrow and are softer than long bones.

Choose The Right Bone Size For Your Dog

The bone’s edibility depends on its size (and that of the dog).

Recreational bones are typically a supplement to a healthy diet. Avoid letting your dog consume too much of the bone. Consequently, he would receive far more calcium than he requires.

In an ideal scenario, the bone would be big enough for him to remove all the meat while avoiding eating too much of the bone.

Recreational Bones for Large Dogs

For big, aggressive chewers, bones from cows, moose, and other huge animals are good. Beef neck bones, beef rib bones, and beef pelvis bones are a few alternatives for large dogs.

If you’re not afraid of being gross (and you’re confident you won’t scare your neighbors), you can even feed sheep, or goat heads, beef, or both (most ethnic markets carry these).

Small And Medium Dogs

Smaller dogs can consume the bones of smaller animals like deer, goats, pigs, and lamb, but larger breeds cannot.

Beef rib bones, lamb neck bones (which are quite meaty), pork or lamb ribs, and heads are all acceptable options.

is bones bad for dogs
Jacl Russell Terrier

Most dogs of all sizes can eat poultry bones. However, you shouldn’t feed them to your dog as a treat.

Let’s discuss a little bit more about safety now that you are aware of the many sorts of bones.

Remember to Be Safe

Even if it’s harmless, giving your dog a bone to chew on could cause complications. Here are some additional suggestions to help you make your dog’s favorite activity safer.

Cooked Bones

Never feed cooked bones of any kind!

Cooked bones can damage teeth because they are hard and can splinter resulting in sharp pieces going into your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. If you pick the correct bone, even kibble-fed dogs can enjoy a wonderful raw bone without worrying about diarrhea or bacteria.

Bowel Blockages

Long bones have soft ends that are more cartilage than bone. These types of bones may not be a good choice for large, aggressive chewers as they can tear off a lot of that cartilage. The cartilage can accumulate in the bowels.

If your dog isn’t used to bones or he really overdoes it, he could end up at the vet’s for an enema or even surgery to remove the blockage.

Signs of obstruction can include:

  • Bloating
  • A hunched-over posture
  • Frequent unsuccessful attempts to defecate or vomit

Beware of Broken Teeth with the Wrong Bone Type

Long bones might damage your dog’s teeth because they are extremely hard on the outside. For medium to large-sized dogs, flat bones are preferable since they are more softer and more difficult to choke on.

Flat bones will last longer as well. This is due to their angular surfaces, which conceal the meat more effectively than lengthy bones. They become a much more intriguing chew as a result.

can bones hurt dogs
Photo by Blue Bird on

Bones can become brittle when they dry out. Don’t leave your dog’s bones lying about for days; sooner or later, you’ll notice a cracked tooth.

After a day or two of letting your dog chew on them, dispose of them in the trash or the organics container.

If you’re still worried about broken teeth, you can try giving your dog some air-dried or dehydrated bone powder.

Loose Stools

Dogs that aren’t used to eating bones or who consume more bones than usual may get loose stools.

The rich, fatty marrow inside the bone usually contributes to this.

Long bones have more marrow than flat ones, so if loose stools are a concern, flat bones might be a better option.

If you notice loose stools or diarrhea, you can try these home remedies until your dog’s body becomes accustomed to the bone content.

Constipation in Dogs

Constipation may result if your dog consumes a lot of bone. You may notice feces that are white, yellowish, powdery, or even yellow and runny.

Make sure your dog is focused on the meat by keeping an eye on him. He shouldn’t consume too much bone, but if you notice too much bone consumption, reduce the amount of bone you are feeding instead of quitting altogether.

Generally speaking, if your dog consumes more of a chew bone than you had intended. For the upcoming meals, give him more meat and less bone (if you feed him a raw diet). Their minerals, including calcium and phosphorus, will be balanced as a result.


Avoid feeding bones from older animals. They are more likely to contain pollutants and toxins.

The best bones to locate are those of young, grass-fed animals. For the same reasons, choosing animals that have been raised organically is safer.

Where To Find Good Bones

You might be thinking, “Wow, those bones at the pet store are pricey.” You’d be accurate, too!  But don’t worry, if you look in the areas listed below, you can find recreational bones for dogs that are not only less expensive, but healthier.

Grocery Store
Larger supermarkets will sell complete carcasses without the bones. Make friends with your butcher and don’t be shy about asking; they’ll usually offer you a bag at a very low cost.

It’s likely that you’ll have to pay for your bones at the butcher, but if you’re a good client, they’ll treat you well too. Always ask. Don’t assume that your butcher doesn’t have some bones stored aside just because there aren’t any in the display case.

Ethnic Market
Many cultures love bones, so a trip to a local ethnic market could result in some healthy, fresh bones.

Allow Your Dog to Reap the Benefits of Bones

There are many benefits to giving your dog bones, but the most important is that they provide a natural source of calcium. Bones also help keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy. Dogs who eat bones have fewer dental problems than dogs who don’t, which means they’re less likely to need expensive dental procedures later in life.

Bones are also good for your dog’s digestive system because they help grind food down into smaller particles and break up any large pieces that may be difficult to digest. This helps prevent constipation, diarrhea, and other digestive issues.

If you give your dog raw bones (which are softer than cooked), it can help improve his chewing habits as well as strengthen his jaw muscles.

Read more:

6 Reasons To Throw Your Dog A Raw Bone

Raw Bone Benefits | Northwest Naturals

Why Raw Bones are Great for Dogs AND Cats! – Primal Pet Foods

Published by Amber L. Drake

Dr. Amber L. Drake is a celebrated author and a distinguished cancer specialist, renowned for her comprehensive research in canine cancer prevention and nutrition. She is widely recognized for her commitment to helping dogs lead long and joyful lives, as well as for her contributions to veterinary medicine education. As the CEO of Canine Companions Co., the Founder of the Drake Dog Cancer Foundation and Academy, and the Co-Founder of Preferable Pups, she has become a respected and influential figure in the canine community, earning the admiration and respect of dog enthusiasts around the globe.

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