Owners have fed their dogs bones for years and delighted in seeing how their pets seemed to enjoy their treats. However, questions have recently arisen over whether raw bones are safe or if dogs need bones at all.
If the dog chews off large chunks of bone, swallows them and has to have surgery, it can cost the owner hundreds of dollars in veterinary bills.
Proponents of the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, or Bones and Raw Food) diet believe a dog can have raw beef bones. Some veterinarians say a dog should have no animal bones, but allow for synthetic bones made of rubber, nylon or rawhide.
According to Dr. William Fortney with the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, the owner should consider whether his dog is a chewer or a large chunk swallower.
An owner may think a raw bone gives her dog some nutrition, but the bone itself and the collagen in the bone cannot be digested, according to experts at petcenter.com. Dogs do not require bones for good dental health either.
Bones from poultry can splinter and lodge in a dog's throat or cause internal tearing in the digestive tract. Pork chop bones have sharp ends which can do the same thing. Round steak bones can accidentally slip over a dog's lower eye teeth.