The Short Answer is:
Bones and dental hygiene are both helped by cartilage. It cleans your dog’s teeth as he chews on rubbery cartilage removing nasty bacteria and food particles stuck between his teeth. It prevents gum disease as well.
The purpose of this research is to explain the “Can Dog’s Eat Cartilage?“.
- What is cartilage? And why is it beneficial for dogs to eat it?
- Should dogs eat raw or cooked bones?
- What type of animal bones should dogs eat?
- What type of bones should dogs eat?
- How long do beef bones last in the fridge?
- Do bones wear down a dog’s teeth?
- Tips on feeding your dog bones
- Wrapping Up
- Can Dog’s Eat Cartilage? (Watch Video)
Dogs often gnaw on bones guard them furiously or dig holes to hide them. Its natural to throw a bone at a dog if you have grown up with this image.
Many dog owners shudder at the thought of feeding their four-legged friends any kind of bone in the era when the pet food is bought at the store. Is there a right or wrong answer?
Is it bad for dogs to eat bones? Can they eat cartilage? If not bones then at least cartilage?
Here are all the answers to your questions.
What is cartilage? And why is it beneficial for dogs to eat it?
A bones cartilage is the chewy part at the end. It is the connective tissue that holds bones together in joints such as the shoulders knees or even the ends of the ribs. Physically it is firm and rubbery – since its biological function is to absorb shock.
Dogs can eat cartilage but is it good for them? There are several reasons why.
Glucosamine is abundant in cartilage. People with arthritis may be familiar with glucosamine as a supplement. As dogs age they can also develop arthritis. A number of dog supplements contain glucosamine. Including cartilage in your dogs diet ensures he gets the glucosamine he needs for healthy joints.
Chicken feet beef trachea or pigtails are the best sources of natural glucosamine for dogs.
Chicken feet for instance contain 30% cartilage. The cartilage in chicken feet contains 5% glucosamine. Your dog can get 450 mg of glucosamine from just one chicken bone according to experts.
A serving of beef trachea contains the same amount of glucosamine but is larger so your dog gets around 1400 mg per serving. Its quite a lot considering a veterinarian usually prescribes 1000 mg of glucosamine supplement to a dog with arthritis.
Bones and dental hygiene are both helped by cartilage. It cleans your dogs teeth as he chews on rubbery cartilage removing nasty bacteria and food particles stuck between his teeth. It prevents gum disease as well.
Providing your dog with cartilage is a good idea the question is how to do it safely since chewing bones entails a number of risks.
Should dogs eat raw or cooked bones?
Its a very tough question and the answer will surely annoy those who consider giving a dog a bone from the dinner table a nice gesture. There is no doubt that the dog will enjoy the treat and adore you for it but cooked bones can be quite dangerous to a dog.
BARF diet advocates feeding a dog raw food as nature intended is gaining popularity among pet owners. Because their wolf ancestors hunted for food not bought it from the pet store raw food cannot be bad for the modern dog as well.
Tradition or wolves have nothing to do with the controversy over raw or cooked bones. You can call it science or mere observation but cooked bones are dangerous because they are brittle and can break or splinter easily causing a lot of problems to your pet.
- A dogs mouth can be scratched or broken by bone fragments or splinters. Furthermore the bone fragment may get looped around the lower jaw getting basically stuck there. Your dog will suffer a lot of pain and you might have to pay for oral surgery.
- Dogs can choke when bones lodge in the esophagus or the trachea.
- There are some bone splinters that are sharp and can perforate the stomach or the lower intestine. This can result in peritonitis an infection caused by stomach contents spilling into the abdomen. The condition can be fatal so medical attention is needed immediately.
- The dog might need surgery to remove a bone fragment stuck in its stomach.
- It might also suffer from rectal bleeding as a result of these problems.
- Veterinarians say that commercially available bone treats are not safe for dogs because they are usually smoked or baked which makes them brittle.
There is a popular belief that grinding bones and mixing them with the dogs regular food will provide calcium and other minerals. However this approach does not help with the dogs dental health as chewing does.
What type of animal bones should dogs eat?
In addition to providing valuable minerals raw bones stimulate saliva clean teeth and satisfy your dogs natural instinct to chew.
If chicken bones are not available you can use any type of poultry bone. Bones from quail and turkey as well as those from rabbits and lambs are good options. If If you live in Australia you can even give your dog kangaroo bones. if you live in Australia that is.
People often wonder if its okay to give their dogs beef bones and the answer is yes. Providing your pet with large beef bones is a sure-fire way to keep him entertained for a while.
Pork is a matter of fierce debate. Should you feed pork to your dog? The answer is yes. You can feed your dog pork bones just as easily as chicken bones.
What type of bones should dogs eat?
Flexible small bones are good for your dog to chew and digest. There is no reason your dog would have an issue with chicken wings which are the preferred option for many pet owners. Chicken legs are also considered safe for dogs. Glucosamine-rich chicken carcasses that have an odd shape will keep your dog busy for a long time!
Additionally you can give your dog cow trachea which is mostly cartilage and beef brisket bones which is the cows breast bone.
In terms of lamb the best parts for your dog are the rib flaps and the necks.
There are some pork bones that are too thick or hard for your dog to chew. You can feed your dog smaller pork bones and if he does not have a problem eating them you can give him larger ones.
Large dogs may be at risk of ingesting bone fragments if they crack bones easily. Small dogs are safe to chew on ribs because they will take a long time to do so.
How long do beef bones last in the fridge?
It is nice to give a dog large beef bones to chew on since it provides him with something to do. A dog is usually given a bone after his meal so that he can gnaw on it rather than eat it. Allow the dog to play with it for 20 minutes or so and then remove it before things become too interesting and the dog becomes determined to eat it.
If you are able to wrestle the bone from the dog put it in the refrigerator. It can be kept in the refrigerator for two to three days if you have a good fridge. If the bone starts to smell funny do not give it to your dog anymore.
The bone can be stored in the freezer for a couple of days if you’re using it as an occasional treat.
Some people go as far as saying that once the dog has consumed all the meat and cartilage on a large bone you should take it away and throw it away.
Do bones wear down a dog’s teeth?
You need to ask the right person. Pet owners who have their dogs on the raw BARF diet claim they have never had this problem. However some say it wears them out too much. In all likelihood you’ll hear this sort of argument from people who oppose giving a dog bones in general. It will be tried to use any argument to oppose this including the risk that the dog will break a tooth on a hard bone.
In general feeding a dog flexible chicken bones is unlikely to cause significant wear and tear. Also occasional chewing on large bones would not cause significant damage. Particularly a large dog that is the same size as a wolf. When in doubt always trust nature. Dogs are not meant to eat kibble no matter what some may say. The convenience of using store-bought food is great but every dog has a wolf in his family.
Tips on feeding your dog bones
- Dogs should never be offered a bone when they are with another dog as this could trigger fierce fighting.
- Do not leave a dog unattended with a bone. Your dog might break the bone at any moment and you do not want him to choke on a piece.
- Large dogs such as Mastiffs and German Shepherds should be given larger bones to deal with. Its always possible that a large dog might swallow a small bone whole and it might get lodged in the esophagus.
- If your dog has a flat face and short snouts like a bulldog or boxer be very cautious when feeding him bones. Your dog may have difficulty wrestling with a bone.
- The rule of thumb is to make sure the bone is longer than the dogs muzzle in order to avoid the possibility of the dog swallowing the entire bone.
You can give your pet bones and cartilage if you know what types of bones are OK for your pet. No matter how skeptical you are about the benefits of raw BARF diets the occasional bone is a great source of minerals including calcium as well as cartilage glucosamine. You should keep in mind however that cooked bones can be dangerous due to their brittle nature.
Last but not least giving your dog a bone to chew on is good for his mental health. A dogs instinct is to chew so they need to fulfill this need. You would not have to worry about your dog chewing on your slippers if you give him a bone!
If you want to read more about dog food tips read here: Dog Food Tips and Tricks.