Some people believe that marrow bones, which are rich in nutrients and safe enough for chewing hours and hours as a toy, are good for their dogs. Many studies proved that chewing bones, such as marrow bones or ham bones, improve dental health, remove tartar, keep gums strong and healthy. However, there are some factors to consider before treating them to your dogs so that the treatment doesn’t finish by a visit to vets for urgent help or other diseases
What do you know about marrow bones for dogs? Let’s find out!
The Benefits of Marrow Bones for Dogs
Bone marrow is yellow/red substance contained in the center of long bones. For years, wild animals have eaten bones as a necessity for their wellness benefits. For dogs, this food not only provides nutrients but also plays essential roles in their strong growth. Below are some of the great advantages that marrow bones bring to your beloved pets.
Naturally, eating bones is a canine species’ instinct, but it is also a good habit for healthy teeth and a physical exercise to toughen their teeth and gums. The chewing process helps to scrape the plaque and tartar off the teeth as well as cure gum-related illnesses.
Photo credit: Todd Wynia
If you don’t have time for teeth brushing every day, letting your pets work on marrow bones and clean their teeth by themselves is an effective solution. Some dogs even reject brushing, which results in the form of plague and creates tartar on the surface of the teeth over the time. Generally, tartar requires professional support to be removed.
Plague, tartar and other gum diseases also cause halitosis. Chewing scrapes them off, whitening teeth and freshening up your dog’s breath.
Prevent Negative Chewing Habits
Another benefit of chewing bones is that, because dogs are natural chewers, time consume on marrow bones may prevent chewing around. Take shoes for an example, my family has 7 dogs and usually, we put our shoes on the lowest step within their reach. Many times I found them in damages than had no way but throwing them away.
Marrow bones, which are hard and safe enough for dogs to chew, can keep them busy for hours and provide plenty of stimulation.
The Downsides of Marrow Bones for Dogs
Pancreatitis and Other Issues Related to Fatty Bones
If you feed your dogs marrow bones frequently and one day he/she has symptoms like belly pains, vomiting or losing appetite, you should see them as signals of pancreatitis. Often, the high-fat content in some kinds of food, like marrow, triggers it. It hasn’t been proved why dogs get into trouble with high fatty foods in this way, but it can lead to a visit to the vets.
For the dogs that have undergone surgery for a short time, fatty meals cause the pancreas irritation which then leads to pancreatitis as a byproduct of drugs. The same condition for old and overweight ones which are more likely to suffer from this trouble.
In case your dogs suffer diarrhea after eating marrow bones, don’t worry. It is because of your dog’s skeletal digestive tract and can be avoided by reducing the amount of marrow in the bone core. I will mention it more details later.
It cannot be denied that marrow bones are not only a source of nutrients but also a toy for our lovely pets, taking them hours to play with and in the meantime improving dental health. Some may believe that the tough exterior and soft marrow inside make marrow bones harmless when chewing. However, if you are pet parents, you may know that bones, regardless of which types and sizes, should be perceived as a threat to your dogs.
Actually, there is a real risk of injury when chewing that may scare you, causing dogs panic and pain.
One of the most popular accidents is the marrow bones get lodged over the dog's jaw, which requires urgent cares. Naturally, dogs try to lick the marrow off the bone, so they move their mouth into the interior then cannot remove the bone by themselves. The bone ring which looks like a think bangle bracelet can be locked behind the canine teeth, leading dogs to undergo surgery in some cases.
Some injuries can be treated easily with lubrication and skillful manipulation alone, but some thick ring bones need a cast cutting saw to be removed. During this process, dogs may have to be given an anesthetic, since the operation is unbearable while they are conscious. Plus, the treatment can be extremely costly.
Safe Ways To Feed Your Dogs Marrow Bones
Choose Suitable Bone Sizes
It doesn’t mean puppies consume small bones and mature, large dogs like bulldogs or pitbulls can chew big ones. Pet owners should keep a close eye on their pets to observe the chewing habit of their dogs then get the advice of bone sizes from professionals.
As mentioned above, chewing process may combine with risks, so it is very important to choose the right size of bone rings suitable for each dog. Remember, bones may splinter if cut too short and hurt dogs, so a reasonable size should be no shorter than two inches.
Feed Raw Bones
Some vets recommend using raw bones because the cooking process may make marrow bones brittle and easier to splinter. Dogs work really hard on bones for the marrow in the core of the bones, and during chewing process, their teeth can break bones into sharp pieces which may get stuck in some organs like throat, stomach, intestines, leading to urgent operations.
Reduce the Amount of Marrow
A rich source of fat and nutrients contained in marrow can be harmful to poor digestions, causing diarrhea problems. It can be solved by thawing the bone and spoon some marrow out of the core. You can leave a little bit in the core to attract dogs on chewing it.
Make Bone Broth
If you worry that chewing bones may not be safe, but you want to feed your dogs marrow because of its nutritious and delicious minerals, I highly recommend you to make bone broth.
For dogs that have a sensitive stomach and get diarrhea easily with raw marrow bones, eating bone broth supports their healthy digestion.
Finally, is it safe to give dogs marrow bones? Do the benefits of this treatment outweigh its risks? The answers are “yes” and “no”. Leaving your dogs working with bones is safe if you have already considered which sizes of bones are suitable and how much fatty content your dogs need to be healthy. Please assess potential risks and make sure your pets are under supervision when enjoying their gifts.
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