There are many ways to reward a well-behaved dog, but bones are definitely the most common treat we tend to give. After all, dogs and bones go together like PB&J and humans, right? Well, there’s no doubt that bones are a nutritious addition to a dog’s main diet, but when cooked they are known to pose some risks. You see, cooked bones are brittle and can splinter and cut your pet’s mouth or get caught in its throat. What’s more, the cooking process also removes the nutrients from the bones, which makes them a bad choice for a treat.
On the other hand, canines have been chewing on raw bones in the wild since forever, and thus have a natural requirement for them. However, raw bones are entirely different from cooked ones. First of all, they contain a high amount of marrow, vitamins, calcium, protein and fat which are essential for canine growth and development. Raw bones are also a treat that’s safe for your doggy to enjoy, as they are softer and more pliable instead of brittle.
The best raw dog bones are dehydrated ones, which can be found in most food stores. Since dehydrated dog bones are air-dried, they manage to entirely preserve their nutritional components. The dehydration process is only applied to ensure they don’t spoil easily, and also make it easier for the dog to chew on them. When dried appropriately, these bones are soft enough as to not damage or irritate your dog’s teeth or gums.
Besides providing your doggy with healthy nourishment, bones are also a great way to preserve the oral health in domestic dogs. Like humans, dogs can also develop tartar and cavities which can lead to painful toothaches and even infections. But when your doggy chews on a raw bone, it helps remove trapped food particles from the teeth and stimulates saliva production, which helps strengthen the teeth’s enamel.
The addition of raw dehydrated bones to a dog’s diet also helps with digestion and stool problems. A diet based on meat and meat products can lead to loose stools and tummy aches, but raw bones are the equivalent of fibre in an omnivorous diet. They provide ample structure that can solidify stools, thus helping prevent bad digestion and diarrhoea.
When choosing a raw bone for your dog, make sure that it’s big enough and avoid small poultry bones or bones that have been cut as they are more prone to splintering. A big bone can provide plenty of surface for chewing and your dog is less likely to swallow it whole or break off chunks of it. Large kangaroo bones, lamb bones and femur bones, in general, are the safest for your pet to chew on.