Should I feed my dog bones?

Bones provide many nutritional benefits to dogs. They're also ideal for mental enrichment and are wonderful for their dental health.

It's important to make sure when giving dogs bones, that they are suitable for your dog. Dog bones should be appropriate in size and texture relative to the size and age of your dog and you should always supervise when feeding. If you spend a little time getting into the right routine, bones are an excellent supplement to your dog's nutrition.

What are the benefits of feeding bones to dogs?

Almost all dogs love chewing on bones. As a dog owner, you can see their eyes light up when they get a new treat. It's entertaining and fulfilling, while also giving them essential calcium.

There's no easier way to keep a dog's teeth clean. Good dental hygiene means less smelly breath.

The main benefits you'll see from feeding bones are:

  • Whiter, cleaner teeth and improved oral hygiene.
  • Calcium for stronger bones. From a natural source, rather than synthetic supplements.
  • Less anxiety due to mental stimulation and enrichment.
  • Firmer stools, reducing the chances of inflamed anal glands.

Which bones should I choose?

The type of bone you choose for your dog depends on their size and bone chewing style.

Can you give dogs cooked bones?

Raw bones are best. Cooked bones are prone to splintering and can be dangerous.

The bones should be fresh, with plenty of raw meat and some sinew to give the dogs something to work with. High-energy dogs will benefit from a higher fat content, like lamb brisket bones. You can also feed a leaner variety like turkey necks, which are surprisingly large, but easier to chew than heavier bones.

Which bone size for which dog?

A bone should be at least the size of your dog's head to avoid them swallowing it whole, or biting off chunks that are likely to cause a choking hazard.

For smaller dogs and less active chewers, a smaller, softer bone will be more than enough for them.

Toy and Small Dogs (5-10kg)

Medium Dogs (10-25kg)

Large Dogs (26kg and Over)

Bone density

You may have heard the term "weight-bearing bones" before. This refers to high-density leg bones bones like the femur. These bones are especially hard and should be fed with caution. Beef marrow bones are the most common type of weight-bearing bone you'll find.

Feeding tough bones come with risks and should be done with caution. Read on to understand more about the potential risks of feeding your dog bones.

Are bones dangerous for dogs?

Not if you take the appropriate care. If you choose carefully and supervise while your dogs eat, then the risks are minor.

Dental risks

Aggressive chewers need bones that can't be swallowed whole, but also won't damage their teeth. It may seem natural to feed a dense bone to a dog with a strong bite force, but the opposite is actually true. Weight-bearing bones like marrow bones are not appropriate for power-chewers, since they can cause tooth slab fracture and damage their teeth. You're better off with a larger raw meaty bone like a roo tail for larger, powerful dogs.

The knuckle provides good abrasion for cleaning teeth, but the main bone is too tough for most dogs to chomp on safely. Some dogs, like bully breeds, also have a stronger bite force than their teeth can handle, so can break them on these bones or split chunks off, causing foreign bodies to become lodged in their digestive tract. If your dog bites down too much on the hard bone slab, then it's best to choose a softer bone for them.

As such, tough bones are safer for lazy chewers.

Digestive balance

Too much bone content can cause constipation and inflammation of the bowels, so take care to only feed them occasionally as a treat. The marrow is also very rich in fat, so for dogs who suffer from conditions like pancreatitis or colitis, try to limit the fat and marrow content. Bones with a lower fat content are better for these dogs, to avoid inflammation of the pancreas.

Shelf life

Bones can be frozen for up to three months and should be ideally finished in one sitting once thawed. Dogs have very acidic stomachs and are generally resistant to bacteria, but you should avoid letting dogs bury and revisit their bones, just in case. There's no need to take unnecessary risks with food safety, especially with raw chicken.

If too much of the bone is going to waste, then a smaller size might be a better choice.

Where can I buy dog bones?

We have a variety of dog bones appropriate for all sizes and needs.

Browse dog bones for sale on our website.

Do I have to feed bones to my dog?

Not necessarily. If you feed a complete and balanced diet made up of raw and fresh ingredients, then you can get the calcium content you need from natural sources like ground bone. Dog food that's balanced to an established standard like AAFCO ensures you're getting all of the nutrients you need from the base recipe.

Keeping their teeth clean can become challenging in this case, so we recommend you manually brush their teeth with dog-friendly toothpaste if they're not keeping them clean with chewing.

Browse raw dog food for sale on our website.