Somehow over the years we’ve come to associate dogs with their favorite chew toy: The bone. Yes the classic calcium-hardened marrow tube, dogs love their bones to such a degree that we make other dog toys such as squeak toys and chews, and even shape cookies and their food, into something that resembles the traditional bone look. Why is that? And what should you know about real bones that you may not have heard before? Let’s take a look then at dogs and the things they love, bones.
Before dogs were domesticated, they were not the friendly little companions that they are today. Actually, we don’t even have to stretch to see just what an undomesticated dog looks like as we have wolves of all different subspecies running around all over the world, hunting in packs and devouring a whole deer or something similar when they come across it. Except there’s a key difference here: Wolves don’t cook their dinners.
A lot of dog owners gladly pass on chicken bones and such to a dog, completely unaware that cooking the bones makes them more likely to splinter and do some serious damage to your dog’s mouth and throat. A few chicken bones can be shredded up and then swallowed where they can become lodged in the throat, assuming they don’t just stab into the lining of the stomach and such.
Thing is, dogs will eat whatever we give them. They can’t tell the difference between something that’s harmful to them and something that only smells yummy. If it smells even remotely like anything, your dog will want to eat it, so don’t confuse them loving bones with loving something that they must naturally have a connection do. Truthfully, they aren’t meant to eat bones. Just because dogs tend to act like goats doesn’t mean they’re capable of dealing with the physical demands of actually being a living garbage disposal.
Still, there are a lot of bones that are perfectly fine for dogs. When you go to a pet store, you’ll typically find a lot of rawhide chews and thick bones with gristle and such still attached. Go with the thick bones as rawhide chews can frequently have the same splintering problems that cooked chicken bones have, whereas the thick bones, usually from cows and such, will have been sold specifically with the knowledge that they aren’t likely to splinter very easily and will not only give your dog something to keep himself occupied with, but also something to work out his jaw and clean his teeth with.
If the bones themselves don’t seem to really hit what you’re looking for, try something like a hoof or a full ankle including multiple hooves (like Christmas morning for most dogs). The goal is to provide your pup with a long-lasting chew toy while also being something that won’t cause undue pain. You don’t want to be responsible for feeding your pooch something that will hurt him, right?
Just remember the rule of thumb with most things you give to dogs: Just because your dog wants it doesn’t mean they need to have it. Dogs will eat things right out of the garbage, so don’t follow their advice when it comes to proper eating items. Use some discretion and be careful about the bones you let them chew.
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