9/27/2008

wRECk bones

I wanted to write about what we raw feeders affectionately call wRECk bones. Wreck bones are often marketed as "recreational bones" in which dogs chew on them forever. The truth about these bones, most notably the knuckle and femur, is that they are VERY dense and often break, chip and crack teeth down to the root. Think about it, they hold up a 1000 lb animal. What do you think is stronger- your dog's teeth which are a tiny fraction of an inch thick (referring to the enamel) or the weight bearing bone of a large ungulate that is around 3/8" thick all around the marrow?

These destructive bones are often the problem when you hear of impactions, as the pieces are swallowed whole and are not very digestable due to their thickness. These pieces can also cause choking as they cannot be crushed like a normal bone. More often choking is caused by feeding inappropriate sized meals. Your Great Dane is not going to "chew" a chicken leg unless you have a very particular dog that is an extremely slow and thorough eater.

Knuckles and femur bones also wear down the teeth. When cooked they can splinter which is why it's best to avoid ALL smoked/cooked bones marketed for dogs, despite if the company says they are safe of not, which brings me to an important point. I have had the pleasure of being able to look further into a company's products (smoked kangaroo parts) that are supposedly safe because they are slow cooked at low temps, preventing splintering and such. When I broke part of a shoulder blade, the (bite sized)piece was extremely sharp, hard and brittle. If my dog had swallowed that he would've ended up with a perforated intestine I am sure. Even when left out in the open, raw bones will naturally dry and these are just as dangerous as cooked.

If you want to feed a challenging meal that will clean teeth, feed items with the hide on, or things like meaty necks, ribs, and heads. If you have wRECk bones sitting in you house now, toss them out! Your dog's teeth matter more, which is one reason you are feeding a raw diet in the first place- to keep those chompers in prime condition!

2 comments:

  1. I have a question, though I know this is an old post-- if you are NOT feeding your dog (or in my case 4 month old purebred Labrador puppy) a raw diet, should you still give them the good raw bones (with the meat still attached) as chews? Or is it all or nothing? I just started giving my puppy bones to chew on, as she's chewing everything (but is not a hard chewer, just a constant one), and found that I should not be giving her commercial roasted bones. I am not in a place to switch to an all raw diet yet (mainly an unconvinced husband), but I want to give her chews that are ok. (Her favorites are beef trachea, which is obviously cooked but not nearly as hard as bone). Are bully sticks ok? (She is only kind of interested in them).

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  2. If you have a strong chewer definitely avoid raw marrow bones. However you can give turkey necks and other meaty bones. Bully sticks are great (make sure you go to a reputable natural pet store that has nothing sourced from China) as well as deer antlers. Hope this helps and thanks for reading!

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