It was during Missy’s treatment for thyroid cancer in late 2014 that I couldn’t help but wonder if dogs could really eat raw meaty bones for the first time in my life. As far as I knew up to that point in time, bones were considered dangerous and had to be avoided at all cost.
Yet they seemed to play an important part in this diet I kept reading about while researching if I could do anything to help her! This diet was called the raw, or species appropriate, diet and said to have the power of boosting a dog’s immune system to the point where serious sickness, allergies and tooth decay had a minimal chance of (re) occurring.
It seemed to be some kind of cancer “hack” that owners of K9 cancer survivors talked about a lot in K9 cancer forums and holistic veterinarians such as Drs. Karen Becker and Dee Blanco swore by on YouTube.
Fast forward 4+ years and I am here to tell you with a confident YES! that dogs can absolutely eat raw, meaty bones and that they come with many health benefits. Let’s look at some more detailed information!
Raw Meaty Bones Make Up 10% Of Raw Dog Food
The raw diet consists of 80% muscle meat, 10% raw meaty bones, and 10% secreting organ (of that, 5% has to be liver and the remaining 5% other secreting organs).
Raw meaty bones can (and will be!) eaten entirely, which is normal and nothing to worry about. A dog’s stomach is much more acidic than our human’s and designed to break down raw bones and raw food.
Raw meaty bones are such an integral part of the raw diet because the calcium, phosphorus and trace minerals contained in them is essential to a dog’s skeletal health. Without the bone content, a raw diet would be nutritiously incomplete and considered unbalanced.
Never Feed Your Dog Cooked or Dried Bones
I have to stress the importance of never feeding your dog cooked or dried bones!
They should NEVER be fed because they are sharp, can splinter and cause choking as well as a lot of internal damage to a dog’s body, particularly poke holes into their intestines.
While raw meaty bones are soft and pliable, the process of cooking bones changes their structure and makes them brittle. It also removes many nutrients which would make feeding the bone pointless either way.
Raw Meaty Bones I Feed My Dogs
My pups Missy (50 lb), Buzz (75 lb), and now Wally (40 lb) all enjoy raw meaty bones mainly from poultry such as chickens, turkeys and ducks, to include feet, necks, wings, heads, and frames.
They also enjoy the occasional stuffed quail from Raw Feeding Miami ($12.15 for a pack of 2 quails stuffed with green tripe; each quail weighs just under 1 lb).
Avoid Feeding Your Dog Weight Bearing Bones
I do not feed weight bearing bones from large grazing animals such as from beef and bison (knuckle and femur bones). They should be avoided because of their density, which can fracture teeth.
It makes sense when you think about it – they have to hold up hundreds of pounds of beef after all! In comparison, poultry bones are considerably less dense because they only hold up a few pounds of animal.
I made the huge mistake of offering Buzz a large, smoked beef bone from the grocery store for Christmas back in 2014. This was before I started feeding raw dog food (which I did in 2015) and assumed that all recreational bones for dogs were safe.
I couldn’t have been more wrong as it resulted in Buzz fracturing a molar that had to be removed in its entirety. It was a painful and expensive experience I don’t wish on anyone else.
Benefits Of Eating Raw Meaty Bones For Dogs- Tooth, Gum, and Jaw Health
I’ve already mentioned their calcium, phosphorus and trace mineral content which are all important for a healthy skeleton. But raw meaty bones also act as a natural tooth brush by scraping off food residue and therefore helping prevent plaque buildup (which can cause a plethora of diseases as the bacteria enter the bloodstream and travel to vital organs).
Gnawing on the bone is also a wonderful means of exercising a dog’s jaws and providing mental stimulation. It’s ok to offer raw meaty bones that are still partially frozen for a longer lasting workout, so to speak.
My dog Wally eating a partially frozen turkey neck
Offer Your Dog The Appropriate Size Raw Meaty Bone
Raw meaty bones should always be larger than a dog’s mouth, especially when dealing with a gulper to ensure that the bone gets chewed and not just swallowed whole.
Grind Your Dog’s Raw Meaty Bones If They Have Trouble Chewing Due To Age Or Poor Dental Health
Dogs suffering from tooth decay or those that might have had the majority of their teeth pulled should not be offered raw meaty bones for obvious reasons – they can’t chew them.
But that doesn’t mean that those dogs have to miss out on the health benefits of bone content. You can buy a meat/bone grinder and grind your own bones and then add them to your pup’s raw diet (if no teeth are left you’ll have to grind the entirety of the meal, to include the muscle meat and organs).
They offer raw, balanced meals that have been put together following the 80/10/5/5 raw feeding formula and that have been completely ground. Some brands like Darwin’s add veggies and fruit to their formulas.
Be aware that those meals are more expensive than purchasing the individual components of the raw diet and putting them together yourself. You’ll be paying for the convenience factor!
Raw Meaty Bones Are Safe To Feed Small Dogs
Small dogs should be fed smaller raw meaty bones that are appropriate in size to their mouths. They can be fed:
- Chicken wings
- Chicken necks
- Chicken feet
- Duck feet
- Duck necks
- Very small beef oxtails
Raw meaty bones are an integral part of balanced raw dog food and are safe to feed your dog as long as a few guidelines are observed.
Remember to feed the appropriate size raw meaty bone and avoid weight bearing ones from large grazing animals. Your dog’s teeth will thank you!
Do you feed raw meaty bones? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!
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