Giving your dog a nice juicy bone as a treat seems like the right thing to do, yet most dog owners refrain from doing so. Why is this the case? When asked why they don’t give their dog a bone, the average dog owner will regale you with stories of choking, cracked teeth, and intestinal issues, although the tales they tell are usually based on hearsay as opposed to an event they experienced first-hand. Many dog owners have become a little gun shy in feeding bones to their dogs, which may explain why gum disease among dogs is now more prevalent than ever before.
Before we get to talking about safely feeding bones to your dog, let’s first take a moment to explain the benefits of doing so. As we already mentioned, gum disease is at an all-time high right now, and part of that is because we feed our dogs dry food and do little to keep their teeth and gums healthy. When dogs work over a juicy bone, the chewing, biting, and shearing action that is involved in getting at the bone helps remove tartar that can lead to unhealthy teeth and gums. Internal issues, particularly those having to do with the digestive track, also appear to be less in dogs who regularly chew bones.
The question now then is why so many vets recommend that you do not feed bones to your dog. The reality here is that most people who do give bones to their dog tend to give them the cooked variety. This is where problems can arise, as all the goodness that you find in an uncooked bone is essentially leached out during the cooking process. Dogs, especially those who are dry fed, have a harder time breaking those types of bones down in the stomach, as the use of dry food means that they have less stomach acid than dogs that are primarily fed a raw meat diet.
The upshot of all this is that bones can indeed be good for your dog, assuming that you take the time to give them the right type of bones. Cooked bones are always a bad idea, so never feed those to your pup. Similarly, large leg bones are also not a good idea for smaller dogs such as Cavoodles and Moodles, as they are fortified with iron and zinc, which tend to make them tougher and more difficult to chew. A big bone like that is a better idea for bigger dogs such as Groodles and Labradoodles, but they can still damage their teeth, as their natural instinct is to bite down on those bones.
Oxtails appear to be the perfect choice, as they are smaller, less tough, and are usually surrounded by meat. A raw, meaty bone can be given to your dog once a week without doing him any harm, but you should still be paying attention to his stool, just to be sure that all is well. If you notice that they have small yellowy-white stools, ease back on the bones, as this is a sign of too much calcium. Other than that, let your dog enjoy the benefits of a good bone.