View Full Version : Raw Butcher Bones

24th October 2007, 01:48 AM
Just wondering if any of you get bones from the butchers for your dogs to chew on. And if you do, do you cook them slightly or just give them to the dogs with the little bits of meat still raw? My family have always given our dogs bones but my mother used to cook them a bit so "the dogs wouldnt get a taste for blood"?! I could understand her anxiety as they live out in the country and numerous dogs belonging to our neighbours have wandered and then gotten shot by farmers because the dogs were "worrying" sheep. This still happens, my careless neighbours 2 dogs were only shot a few months ago after killing a few sheep. Im not worried about my dogs turning into sharks attacking sheep and theyre well supervised so the chance of them wandering off is non-existant. So ultimately my question is: Is it ok to give your dogs raw bones? Forgive my ignorance this is just something that always bothered me because I dont see the harm! But..... I could be wrong! :confused:

Cleo's Person
24th October 2007, 11:00 AM
I know there have been some discussions on the board about feeding raw so if you search for these you might get a better answer to your question. Personally I always cook the bones before I give them to Cleo. My mam used to do this with the bones for our Lab when we were growing up, so I supose that's why I do too!

Hopefully some much more knowledgeable person will chime in with some advise /an answer! :)

24th October 2007, 11:05 AM
Never cook bones -- this causes them to splinter more easily and makes them very hazardous to dogs. The one exception is the bones that are really hard cooked that you can get from pet shops -- they are like rocks! Vets and raw proponents both are VERY clear on this -- cooked bones are extremely dangerous and the major cause of gut and stomach punctures -- which are often fatal!! The most dangerous of all are cooked chicken or poultry bones as they easily splinter when eaten and won't digest down at all -- they remain in hard shards thru the intestine. :yikes.

Many people these days feed raw diets and are very happy with the results; while historically (until only the past few decades!) many dogs were fed the raw off-cuttings from butchers and it doesn't give them a taste for blood (any more than eating a black pudding or a rare steak ot steak tartare makes people hanker after a blood :)). But from the dog's point of view -- such things taste very good compared to a diet of dried food or tinned so no wonder they go crazy for bones, and can become very protective.

Feeding bones (and raw diets) though remains very controversial. The majority of vets will say not to, and will say there are always risks from any animal chewing on any bones whether it is eaten completely (like chicken wings or necks) or gnawed (large joint bones or marrow bones). On the opposite side, there is a dedicated raw feeding, 'bones and raw food (barf)' perspective -- with a couple of vets as the key proponents -- who feel feeding bones and raw meat is a better diet choice. There's a lot of info out on the web on both perspectives. But it won't make dogs hungry for (people) blood -- or more prone to bite, whch seems to be the old story as I've heard that too from friends.

Personally, I won't feed raw any longer based on the scientific studies that do exist for risk of ingestion of dangerous organisms and also for problems with splintering bones. I have seen one of my own dogs come close to a 3am trip to the emergency room because he was in increasing distress until he finally brought up a raw chicken wing he'd eaten over 12 hours earlier, with the bone shattered into large, extremely sharp pieces. According to barf proponents this is supposed to be impossible as a dog is supposed to digest bone and the raw meat quickly. But I saw the evidence otherwise and was horrified at the size and sharpness of the bones, which hed seemed to chew down when he was eating the wing. I also have read quite a few interviews with people who run wolf sanctuaries or who are specialists on wolves and wild canids who would dispute many of the claims put forward on behalf of raw diets, even for wolves (amongst them being that they say there's good evidence that wolves do die from punctured guts from eating raw bones -- and that the life of a wolf in captivity, where they are not often fed raw meat or bones, is three to four times as long as wolves in the wild, suggesting they don't suffer from poorer nutrition and greater health risks when eating a more conventional dog-style diet).

Others feel they see real and very positivie health benefits from feeding raw and offering lots of bones to gnaw or eat entirely so the best approach is really to read widely (I have some links in the Library section for example). There are whole books that can be bought giving directions on feeding raw (guidnace is needed as just giving a dog chicken wings or necks is not a balanced diet and has serious nutritional gaps).

If you want to offer raw bones for gnawing, you could ask the butcher to give you maybe three to four inch sections of marrow bone. Personally I am a lot more comfortable with large bones for gnawing than bones that are chewed and digested for the reasons noted before. To offer chews that that give them good satisfaction but are not raw, I give a lot of hard chew treats that I get from zooplus.ie -- the tendons are really good for example, as are pizzle sticks and dried tripe.

24th October 2007, 12:16 PM
Thanks a million Karlin for such an in-depth reply!!! I never give them chicken bones as I know about the dangers of them splintering but have often given them large bones to gnaw on for a few days. I won't cook them anymore as you've blown my old wives tale right out of the water :D I'm sure Eddie, Lola and Loki will want to thank you personally when I give them their bones today! Thanks again!!!

Cleo's Person
24th October 2007, 01:06 PM
Oh wow. I never give Cleo small bones, only big huge one that I get from the butcher specially, but I'll never cook them again. :eek: Adam53 thanks for asking the question or I might have gone on cooking bones and giving them to Cleo as a treat never realising that I might be causing harm! :)

24th October 2007, 10:08 PM
I have a question on regards to marrow bones... what are they? are they the ones that are really thick and have the soft marrow on the inside that can be used as soup bones? If so those are the ones my parent's always gave their springers... and boy did they love them.

28th October 2007, 09:23 AM
Yep, my guys get lots of bones to gnaw on, but as the others have said, never cook bones.

mother used to cook them a bit so "the dogs wouldnt get a taste for blood"?!

This is a fallacy that used to go around in the old days. People used to think that the dog would go around killing things for the blood. Giving your dog raw meat or blood from meat will not cause him to become a killer or in fact alter his personality in any way at all. My guys get quite a lot of raw chicken and yet we have wild birds that will land on our veranda and the dogs just leave them alone.

28th October 2007, 06:14 PM
I must admit i dont give bones at all.When i gave them to my labrador he turned into Mr Nasty,he got very possesive all must back to the wild dog.I had to get hubby to get it off him.

29th October 2007, 10:12 AM
Whenever I give bones, I tend to use those ones from the Vet which as Karlin says, are like rocks, so you know they are safe. They do love them, they occupy them for ages and my vet says they are good for their teeth.

shell nyc
30th October 2007, 02:43 AM
I would be careful giving the ones "like rocks"...a determined or enthusiastic chewer can easily crack a tooth on these! I prefer to give edible bones with lots of meat attached. Winston crunches aways, crushing the bone and then swallows bits of bone surrounded by meat, which acts as a cushion on its way down.

And as far as bones causing a dog to become aggressive or "wild", that is a complete myth. What CAN happen though is that the pup considers that tasty, yummy bone a lot more valuable than a bowl of kibble so therefore resource guards more intensely. A problem, yes, but one that prompts additional training. It certainly doesn't make a dog any more likely to chase small furry creatures or the like. I've met Great Pyrenes livestock guardians who eat raw and protect fuzzy bunnies and lambs!

Feeding bones, rawhides, or anything else is a personal preference, there aren't many clear cut right/wrong answers. The best advice is to supervise while feeding and to know your dog.

31st October 2007, 04:05 AM
Yep, I'm with Shell all the way on this one. The safest bones are the ones that can be chewed up and have lots of meat on them. And, agreed it is not meat or bones that causes a dog to become aggressive about his food, it is simply any food that is highly desired by the dog. A dog that has not been socialised correctly re food can become equally nasty over a piece of cheese or some other treat if it happens to be his favourite.