Choosing the right bone for your dog and how to let them enjoy one safely.

The article was written for us from Jenny at the Complete Pet Company, Jenny produces one of the best raw food in Australia and probably the world for dogs and cats. Jenny also has a great range of consumable bones which we stock along with the raw food at Paddington Pups.
If you have any other questions about the food or bones please feel free to contact Jenny on 07 3855 3555 or Jenny@completepet.com.au

A bone a day keeps the vet away
Over the many years of producing the Complete Meal and recommending bones I am still amazed at the number of dog and cat owners that are concerned about feeding bones.
Bones to a cats and dogs are about as real as it gets. Bones are necessary , they not only clean teeth, they provide nutritional value of calcium and cartilage, they create muscle work for the jaw, they help bulk the stool to assist with anal gland problems as well as assist with stimulation to calm the carnivorous animal while chewing. Dogs and cats have a jaw and set of teeth that are designed to rip, tear and crunch. I find nothing better than watching my dogs lie in the sun and enjoy their bone, the whole bone.
Research tells us that Periodontal disease effects around 8 out of every 10 pets. Sadly, pets over the age of 3 and 4 experience serious problems needing treatment. This disease is caused by bacterial infection that destroys the fibres and supporting bones that hold the teeth in place.
I remember a vet telling me many years ago that this is one of the main reasons for death in little dogs.
Raw bones to a dog is like a toothbrush to the human. Why spend 10 minutes every day cleaning your dogs teeth when all you need to do is provide a bone.
When do you start feeding a bone?
I have always recommended getting puppies and kittens on to bones as soon as you can. Hopefully breeders have already introduced them before you pick up your precious little bundle and then it’s up to you to continue.

What if your dog won’t eat bones?
This is usually because they have never had the pleasure of enjoying them as a young dog and they have what I call a “mushy jaw” this is a jaw that is weak and finds it easier to just eat revolting kibble/biscuits that don’t do anything for the jaw, teeth or general health.
Another reason dogs don’t eat bones is because they are already suffering from infection or broken teeth and it is painful for them to use pressure. If this is the case, you need to address the problem and then once you have had the all clear and there is no disease or pain you can begin feeding soft bones like Organic chicken wings, legs or frames. These bones are very soft and easy for the dog to chew and you can always assist in the beginning by giving these soft bones a bash with a rubber hammer, rock or tough knife to start the process.
Some people have had great success coating the bone in coconut oil or marinating it in a nice natural flavour.
The best time to introduce the bone to the dog that won’t eat them is when they are hungry. I personally feed my dogs their bone for their morning meal 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

What if they choke on the bone?
This is a question I get asked a lot and to be honest in all the years I have been feeding raw consumable organic bones I have never had a problem. Common sense tells us that we never leave a dog with a bone and head out the door but at the same time we never stand over our dog while it is eating as this will only encourage them to gulp the bone in fear of it being taken away. This is an instinctual behaviour that all carnivores have as food is important to their survival and they must eat it before it is taken away. I can relate to this as I don’t like to share my food either.

What if you have more than one dog?
This is easy. Feed your dogs in separate parts of the yard so they are not under any pressure from competition. Always watch from a distance if you are concerned but not close enough to create pressure. If a dog is given the space in a calm area to eat their bone, there is no reason for any competition. Be observant and invisible.

What sort of bones should you feed your dog?
The butchers will not like me saying this but those marrow/dinasaur bones are not suitable for any dog. They are very hard and don’t have any cleaning action or nutritional value. They may look the part but will only create problems down the track.
Under no circumstances should cooked or smoked bones be given to your dog or cat. They are brittle, can be bitten off in sharp chunks and have absolutely no nutritional value.
Frozen bones are not really advisable but certainly won’t cause any damage if done on occasions.
The best bones to feed will depend on the age and size of your dog.
If you have a large dog then you would go with a larger bone like a lamb shank, brisket, kangaroo tail, turkey frame, wing, neck, feet or chicken frame. Some people feed rabbit which I think is great but only if you can find free range rabbits not those that have been farmed in cages in sheds.
For the smaller dogs and puppies you can go with smaller bones like organic chicken necks, wings, part of the frame, brisket cut up, tips of the kangaroo tail, part of a turkey neck or small shank.
All bones should be consumable – meaning the dog should be able to eat the whole bone and never under any circumstance leave bone lying around.

What sort of bone should you feed your cat? Chicken wings, legs and frames are excellent for cats. They are soft enough for them to crunch through. I have even seen cats eat larger bones like turkey necks.

How often should I feed a bone?
I am a firm believer in a bone a day. But if you find that is not possible then at least 3 bones per week is necessary to give your pet the best benefit of teeth cleaning, nutrition and satisfaction.

How do I keep the canine teeth clean?
Most of you that feed bones will notice that the canine teeth don’t stay as clean as the other teeth. This is because they are not used to actually chew. They are used to bring down prey and hold. I suggest that you keep an eye on those teeth to ensure there is not bacteria near the gum line and if you do find discolouration or red gums in this area you can give them a gentle clean with a face cloth, pet tooth brush and a natural cleaner. Diatomaceous earth and coconut oil make a great cleaner for these teeth.
Other than that, if you can get hold of some big chunks of meat and bone this will usually help keep those teeth strong and healthy when they sink their canines into it.

What if your dog vomits up bone?
This is a good indication that your pet has an unhealthy digestive system. Most dogs that are fed a processed diet will not tolerate bones.
Let’s look at the stomach acid of a Kibble (dry) fed dog = ph 2.5
Now let’s look at the stomach acid of a Raw fed dog = ph 1.5
As you can see the raw fed dog’s acidic stomach has a much better chance of breaking down that bone. While the kibble fed dog is unable to break down the bone and therefor rejects it.

My final note:
Feeding bones is not rocket science and you don’t have to be a veterinarian or nutritionals to understand that the carnivore is designed to rip, tear, crunch and digest the right bones easily.
And you don’t need to be an accountant to work out that the money is much better in your pocket than the vets when he charges you anywhere from $800.00 onwards for an unnecessary anaesthetic, clean or teeth removal god forbid.

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