Can dogs have steak bones?

April 13, 2012

It is generally accepted that man’s best friends have descended from wolves. Of course we know that wolves have survived in the wild by hunting their prey. The carcass – meat and bones will be consumed. This means that modern day dogs propensity to gnaw bones is an inherited trait from their ancestors. Throughout the evolution of dogs bones have always been a part of the diet. Even cartoons and children’s books have always depicted dogs either chewing or burying bones. Although dogs are said to be omnivorous, these animals are mainly carnivorous. Made to choose between a meat and bones and a veggie meal, the meat and the bones will win hands down. Dogs have the teeth to tear and to shred meat. Their strong jaws are designed to crunch bones. Dog experts though have differing opinions on giving the dog bones. While some dog wise people would say that eating bones is a dog thing, others would argue that bones have no nutritional value and only pose a risk to the health of the pet. What about you? Would you give the dog the bones of the steak you had for dinner?

Dogs are food motivated. They also have very sensitive noses. As such, these pets would be seen hanging by the dining table while the family is eating. The dog may not verbalize its desire to taste the food the family is eating but the woebegone expression, the pitiful whining and the lip smacking would tell anyone that the dog is begging for food. Owners commonly give in to the pleading look of the pet. Thus the meat will be scraped from the steak and the bones will be tossed to the dog.

Undoubtedly, dogs get benefits from eating bones. Bones are good sources of protein, calcium and other essential nutrients. Commercially manufactured dog foods are primarily wheat based thus containing mostly carbohydrates. Dog owners, upon the recommendation of vets would regularly provide the pet with meaty bones. Chomping on bones is a good way of exercising the jaws and massaging the gums. Eating bones is a natural method of maintaining the dental health of the pet. Dog owners that have been giving the pet bones regularly would attest that bones keep the dog occupied thus excessive barking and destructive chewing are prevented. Unfortunately, a lot of dog owners that regularly feed the dog bones have repented after the pet has developed various life threatening concerns.

Feeding the dog steak bones must be avoided. Steak bones are commonly hard and dense. The dog’s jaws have to put extra pressure to crack the bones thereby resulting to chipped and broken teeth. Round steak bones can get jammed in the dog’s lower jaw causing the pet to panic. The dog would need to be rushed to a medical facility as the bone can only be removed if the dog is sedated. Dogs would certainly enjoy the taste of T-bones but these bones can splinter and perforate the esophagus, the stomach and the intestines. The bone can get stuck in the esophagus, create a blockage and prevent the dog from ingesting food. Although the dog’s stomach has strong acids that can digest the bones, it is still possible that smaller bones that were ingested by the dog can get impacted in the large intestines. The dog may have to undergo surgery if enemas and other procedures failed to remove the blockage.

The dog can certainly gain healthful benefits from chewing bones. The pet should not be deprived of the enjoyment it gets from this activity. A responsible dog owner though has to choose the kind of bone that must be given to the pet. Knuckle bones are spongy and softer. Bones of this kind would be kinder on the dog’s teeth.

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