Monday, September 24, 2012

Give a Dog a Bone?

So I mentioned in this morning's Farmers Market post that we picked up a smoked beef bone for Andy yesterday. Some folks we know that sell at the market recommended them as did other vendors and dog owners. The bones looked and felt sturdy and smelled delicious, so it was no surprise then that Andy was all over it. It got me to wondering though how safe is it to give a dog a real bone? I was a little creeped out by the fact the bone had soft marrow in the center - uh, salmonella anyone?

Growing up we always gave our dogs bones from the table. The bones were never from chicken but from beef and the occasional ox tail. They loved it and we never had any problems. Digging around on the internet however yielded the fact that the FDA made a recommendation back in 2010 that dog owners not feed real bones of any kind to their pups. According to their consumer update the potential risks involved are many, including: broken teeth, bone fragments getting stuck in the intestines, constipation due to bone fragments, and severe bleeding from the rectum (ouch!).

The debate appears to be raging on. While many vets recommend avoiding bones altogether others say it's ok to feed your dog raw bones (they're less likely to splinter). I guess as dog owners we each have to decide how much risk we're willing to take when it comes to the health of our pups. From past experience I can say with confidence that giving my dogs bones never caused any issues but reading this FDA report has me feeling less confident about how safe they are. I hate to be overly protective of my pets, but then again, I think why take the risk? Yesterday Andy was focusing on nibbling off the meaty bits on the outside of the bone and the marrow that he could reach on the inside. Today he started really focusing on the bone itself and was managing to break off little pieces.
I took it away at this point to be on the safe side. I'm on the fence about this and would love to hear what you think.

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