Why is it bad for dogs to eat bones?

Are bones dangerous to dogs?

Basically, Christian H. hadn't thought much of it. A neighboring innkeeper who prepared fresh soups every day made him the offer to let him have the soup bones for his dog. Christian H. accepted the offer with thanks. The very next day Bella, his five-year-old mixed breed dog, was eating one bone at a time.

This real-world case is a typical example of how ignorance can make an animal seriously ill. It was three days later - Bella had eaten quite a few cooked beef bones by now - when the dog threw itself on the floor, rolled over, whined, and howled. Christian H. couldn't understand what was suddenly going on with his four-legged friend. He put the dog in the car and drove to the vet. She asked him about feeding and took an X-ray. Then the diagnosis was made: bone feces. Mr H. had never heard of that before.

When bones are fed in large quantities, they cause severe constipation in the intestines and severe abdominal pain at the same time. Bella was given pain relievers, drugs to relax the bowel muscles, and drugs to soften the stool. She had to stay with the vet for two days until she recovered. Since then, Christian H. has known: The simple idea of ​​the dog that a big bone makes happy all round is not true. Bones can easily pierce the stomach wall or lead to bleeding injuries in the oral cavity.

Optimal dental care
Nevertheless, one should not condemn bones in general. If fed properly, they can even be healthy. Biting bones is an optimal dental care for dogs. They also contain important minerals and trace elements and also offer a nice activity. In the field of tension between advantages and disadvantages and in the course of the BARF trend, two real camps have now formed: those who see bone feeding as particularly natural and healthy and those who completely reject it.

First of all: the digestion of our dogs can no longer be compared with that of wolves, because over the millennia of coexistence between dogs and humans, changes have taken place, especially in the dog's intestines. For example, it can use carbohydrates much better than a wolf. That is why: No dog has to eat bones to get a good and balanced diet. But most dogs love bones, and many owners would love to get them to them. But then a few basic rules should be heeded:

  • Only feed bones raw! There are several reasons for this: on the one hand valuable ingredients are destroyed when heated, on the other hand the bone substance becomes porous when cooked, which is why the bones splinter easily. It's risky.
  • Small bones are better. Many dogs are greedy. Especially when another dog approaches or the human wants to take the bone away, they tend to devour it whole. But the gastrointestinal tract has its difficulties with large pieces of bone. The risk of abdominal pain and constipation increases. Dogs are allowed to have a huge bone to nibble on, which definitely cannot be swallowed.
  • Be careful with marrow bones. On the one hand, these are mostly sharp-edged, on the other hand, they often become wedged in the mouth when the dog licks them out. It is not uncommon for completely entangled marrow bones to be removed by the vet. Therefore: Better to do without it.
  • Poultry is also allowed. Many dog ​​owners have in mind that poultry bones are brittle and dangerous. This is only true if the bones come from a grilled or roast chicken - that is, if they have been heated or cooked. This does not apply to raw poultry bones. Dogs especially love raw, crunchy chicken necks with bones and cartilage. They are absolutely harmless as dog food.
  • Do not feed wild boar. A warning was always given against the use of pork or pork bones, because pork can transmit a virus that causes the disease "pseudo rage". This disease is fatal to dogs. Today, Switzerland is considered to have been freed from the pseudo rage virus with regard to domestic pigs. The all-clear can therefore be given for raw pork bones that come from Swiss animals. In the case of wild boars, on the other hand, it cannot be said with certainty how common the pathogen is. Therefore do not feed raw wild boar meat or wild boar bones.
  • Use young animal bones. They are smaller, thinner, softer and therefore well suited as dog food. Particularly popular with Bello and colleagues: raw breastbones or ribs of calves or lambs.
  • Once a week is enough! It is primarily the dose that can cause a problem when feeding bones. Dogs usually get along well with a small ration once a week, even if they have a harder to digest piece of food. Tip: Always offer some raw meat to the bone. That makes it easier for digestion.