Dogs and Bones: The Hidden Dangers

Dogs have been gnawing on bones for centuries. It seems like a natural and harmless activity, right? Well, think again. Feeding your furry friend bones can come with a set of risks that you may not have considered.

As a veterinarian, I’ve witnessed the negative effects of bone consumption in dogs more times than I can count. The dangers are so significant that even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken notice. They’ve compiled a list of “10 reasons why giving your dog a bone is a bad idea” on their Consumer Updates website.

The Hazards of Bones

  1. Broken teeth: This unfortunate consequence may require expensive veterinary dentistry.
  2. Mouth or tongue injuries: These injuries can be messy and bloody, often necessitating a visit to your veterinarian.
  3. Bone looped around the lower jaw: This frightening and painful situation typically leads to a trip to the vet.
  4. Bone stuck in the esophagus: Your dog may gag and struggle to bring the bone back up, in which case a visit to the veterinarian is crucial.
  5. Bone lodged in windpipe: If your furry friend accidentally inhales a small bone fragment, they may experience difficulty breathing. This is an emergency situation that demands immediate veterinary attention.
  6. Bone lodged in the stomach: Although the bone went down the throat smoothly, it can get stuck in the stomach, requiring either surgery or an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy procedure to remove it.
  7. Bone obstructing the intestines: A blocked intestine requires surgical intervention.
  8. Constipation from bone fragments: Sharp bone fragments can cause severe pain and scraping along the large intestine or rectum, resulting in constipation.
  9. Severe rectal bleeding: A messy and dangerous situation that warrants a trip to the veterinarian.
  10. Peritonitis: This life-threatening bacterial infection occurs when bone fragments puncture the stomach or intestines. Immediate veterinary care is necessary to save your dog’s life.
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I view feeding bones to dogs much like letting them roam freely. It may be natural, and sure, dogs enjoy it, but misfortune can strike at any moment. Fortunately, there are plenty of safe alternatives to satisfy your dog’s chewing instincts and promote dental hygiene.

Safer Alternatives

Consider providing your furry companion with toys made from twisted rope fibers or dense rubber. These options can fulfill their desire to chew while minimizing the associated risks. Additionally, daily tooth brushing or dental diets can help maintain their oral health.

Ultimately, your dog’s well-being depends on high-quality food and balanced nutrition. Providing them with the right diet will keep them healthy and satisfied.

Dr. Jennifer Coates

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Remember, when it comes to your dog’s bones, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Opt for safer alternatives to keep their health and happiness intact.