|Barked: Thu Sep 6, '12 1:17pm PST |
|All of the above.
If you cook them, the bone becomes brittle and can splinter. I do not feed cooked bones at all.
If you leave them raw, there is an increased risk of bacterial growth - however, meat for human consumption is closely regulated AND dogs are created to handle huge bacteria loads without harm.
Soup bones are the weight-bearing bones of livestock. Weight-bearing bones are the densest in the body, and the larger the animal the harder they are. Thus beef soup bones (the most common) are completely inedible (minus the marrow). If you smash two objects together hard enough, eventually the softer one will give... So yes, your dog can break teeth chewing soup bones.
Your other options are knuckle bones, which still have a hard and inedible piece but are covered in softer joint tissue and meat. Or fully edible raw bones (if you go fully edible bones MUST be raw!!) that would count as part of your dog's diet.
As I tell my puppy classes, bones are wonderful but there ARE risks. They are mostly negated by educating yourself, watching your dog closely and adapting as needed. If you are too nervous or don't want to put in the time watching and learning, bones are not right for you. I've watched my dogs, I know what works for us, and I give raw soup bones, knuckle bones and fully edible raw bones.
You can come off bones entirely and stick with things like bully sticks, Himalayan chews, split elk antlers (all fully edible), stuffed frozen Kongs, treat-holding toys, Nylabones or hard rubber toys (all toys will wear down eventually and need replacing).
Edited by author Thu Sep 6, '12 1:23pm PST
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