Dogs and Bones

Remember back in the day when the family pet was fed leftovers from the family dinner? Whether it was a chicken carcass or leftover lamb roast, the four-legged member of the family was considered a garbage disposal of sorts.  Well, we have since learned that some of these table scraps can make out pets very sick.  Cooked bones, for example are a bad idea when it comes to our pets. While raw bones for dogs helps maintain dental health, when you cook bones, they become softer and can cause havoc in the gastrointestinal tract. 

As a vet, I have seen many cases of pets who have come in severely constipated after being fed a meal of cooked bones.  Some of these cases are so severe that they require a general anaesthetic to have an enema!

Cooked bones can also splinter in the intestines, and the sharp end of the bone can puncture through the wall of the intestines.  This then leads to septic peritonitis, which is a severe and possibly life threatening infection in the abdominal cavity.

When pets are fed bones, they should always be completely raw and have rounded edges.  Examples of safe bones for dogs are chicken necks for small dogs, and chicken drumsticks or lamb shanks for medium to large breed dogs.  Sharp ended bones, such as T-bones, should be avoided.  It is preferable that your pet is at least vaguely supervised when chewing a bone, just in case there are any problems, and a large meal of bones should not be fed at one time.

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