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All about bones and your dog

Being informed on dog nutrition is an essential part of being a dog owner. Just as you would generally watch what you eat yourself, it’s important that you monitor what you feed your dog. An unhealthy and unbalanced diet may manifest in all sorts of health problems. As part of every dog’s diet, it’s a good idea to include a variety of raw meaty bones – they help to keep teeth and gums healthy and also provide a way to express normal chewing behaviour.

Which bones are best?

  • Bones must be raw
  • Never feed cooked bones as these can splinter, causing internal damage or intestinal obstruction – which can cause death
  • Only offer human-grade raw meaty bones
  • Talk to your vet for advice
  • See RSPCA Australia knowledgebase for more on feeding guidelines

Pre-packaged meat / bone products often contain preservatives, which may be harmful to some dogs. One such preservative is sulphite, which may lead to thiamine deficiency, a condition which can be fatal so always ensure raw meat / raw meaty bones are human-grade quality.

Ensure the raw bone is large enough so that the dog cannot swallow it whole or fit the whole bone in its mouth.

Cooked or raw?

Always feed your dog raw bones. Raw meaty bones (such as raw chicken wings or lamb flaps) help to keep teeth and gums healthy, provide added nutrition and help cleanse your dog’s digestive tract. Never feed cooked bones to your dog, as these can splinter and cause internal injury.

How many and how often?

Too many bones may lead to constipation. The general guideline is one to two raw bones per week with a few days in between each serving, but this may vary between individual dogs so talk to your vet for advice.

Speak to your vet about your dog’s nutrition. They can advise you on the best diet, and the most appropriate raw bones for your dog. The Australian Veterinary Association can provide details of qualified vets in your area, and for general care advice, pay a visit to the RSPCA website.