In general, big bones are a great treat for your dog. Chewing on bones is good for your dog’s teeth, as they stimulate healthy growth, and bones can help keep them clean. That said, some bones are off-limits to your pooch. These include small bones like chicken and fish bones, which can easily get stuck in your dog’s throat or puncture their digestive tract if not chewed properly. Also, no matter the bones you decide to give your dog, they should never be cooked.
So, are rib and pork bones safe for dogs? The best answer we can give is: maybe. This is because while it may seem harmless to throw your dog a leftover pork bone after a meal and pork itself a great source of protein, there are potential dangers to take into consideration.
Potential Dangers of Pork and Rib Bones
Feeding cooked rib bones to your dog can easily lead to a vet visit. Pork and rib bones can easily splinter when chewed, and the splintered shards can cause your dog to choke. The shards can also get stuck in your dog’s gums, throat, and digestive tract and perforate internal organs.
Raw bones will not splinter as easily, as they are still soft and somewhat flexible. This means your dog can usually chew and digest them easily. Raw meat is far richer in nutrition than cooked meat, and that’s how dogs would eat it in the wild.
Pork can be problematic, however. It can be contaminated with parasites and bacteria that can potentially make your dog ill. If you have the ribs frozen for a long period of time — a minimum of two weeks should be adequate — the cold temperature should kill any bacteria or parasites.
Bone and Rib Alternatives
With all the potential risks associated with your dog’s eating bones, a bone alternative may be the best choice. There are many safe replacements for bones that can still give benefits. These include:
- Bully sticks
- Tough rubber toys
- Chicken necks
- Large, raw beef bones
- Cow ears
While raw rib and pork bones are safe and possibly beneficial for your dog to eat, they should be stored properly and come from a trusted source. If you do decide to give your pooch a raw rib bone, it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on them.
Cooked bones of any kind are not worth the associated risks of choking or lacerations and should never be given to your dog.
As with any advice pertaining to your dog’s diet, you should consult your vet first, as they will be able to give you more specific advice tailored to your unique situation. Hopefully, we’ve helped clear up some confusion regarding bones, so you can make the safest choice for your beloved pooch.
Featured Image Credit: tortic84, Pixabay