Over thousands of years, dogs increasingly became human’s closest companions. Dogs helped early humans hunt, and in turn, they were rewarded with delicious, juicy bones.
Our dogs are not much different from their ancestors, at least in their love of bones. However, owners have to be careful these days, as not all bones are created equal. Here’s how to safely throw your dog a bone.
Cooked Bones Are Bad News For Dogs
Cooked bones become brittle and weak, which leads to splintering. These bones break easily, and your dog could ingest the shards. Bone splinters can lead to:
These are all serious conditions that can result in permanent damage or death in some cases.
This includes bones from your leftovers. While they aren’t 100% fatal if swallowed, they can and will cause serious problems for your dog. These bones are unsafe to eat, and should be secured out of your dog’s reach.
The best bones to feed your dog are natural, uncooked bones. Dogs are fully capable of handling raw bones of many kinds. You may be surprised, but dogs can eat raw bones from:
Beef bones are larger and will give your dog tons of chew-time, but all of these bones are safe when raw. Raw bones are durable and they won’t splinter into shards like cooked bones tend to.
Bones Are Not Chew Toys: Supervise Your Dog
Even though raw bones are much safer for dogs to chew, you can’t just toss them one and walk away. If they’re left unattended, they may swallow the bone whole. This can cause some of the same problems as ingesting cooked bones.
You need to take the bone away when it’s no longer safe for your dog to chew it. For example, we gave our dog Noodle a short rib. He gnawed and chewed to his heart’s delight. But as soon as we heard a “crack,” we took the bone away.
Taking a bone away can be somewhat difficult, depending on the dog’s temperament. Dogs are often very invested in their bones and might resist your attempts to remove it from their jaws.
You can use treats or the “leave it” command to draw their attention away from the bone. Just try to offer something more appealing than the bone so that they’ll drop it. This could be:
You want to avoid a situation where your dog reacts adversely as you grab the bone. Bones are a prized possession among dogs, but you can lure a dog away with the right reward and some patience.
Watch Out For Resource Guarding With Multiple Dogs
As we mentioned, bones are a high value treat. This makes it much more likely that your dog may exhibit resource guarding behavior towards you or other dogs when bones are involved.
Because resource guarding often involves aggressive displays, it can lead to fighting and other negative reactions. Avoiding this is fairly simple. Just separate the dogs first, and then you can safely give them their bones.
You can also crate your dogs to keep them separate while they gnaw away at their special treat. This makes them comfortable in their own space. They won’t view the other dogs as threats to their prized bone.
If you notice a resource guarding problem, you should begin steps to discourage it. Practice removing the bone without any fuss by:
- Picking the bone up
- Taking it away from the dog
- Giving it back to the dog
This will teach the dog that they’ll get the bone back if they remain patient and calm.
You can also substitute treats for the bone as we mentioned before. This will communicate to the dog that they’ll be getting something even better as long as they give up their bone.
If you have any questions about how to give bones safely, or are dealing with a resource guarding problem and need help, please contact us today!
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