Which Bones Are Safe for Dogs? (June 2019)

It can be tempting to give your dog the bone from your steak, but you need to think about whether it’s safe for her to have.

Dogs love bones, all types of bones, but we as their owners need to find out which bones are safe for dogs, what the risks are, and if our dogs can be harmed from us giving them a bone.

Are Raw Bones Safe for Dogs to Eat?

The canine species have been eating bones for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. With that said, are raw bones safe for dogs to eat, and if so, which ones?

Yes, raw bones are safe for dogs to eat, but there are different types of raw bones that need to be considered here.

The Benefits of Giving Your Dog a Bone

Domesticated dogs have a natural, biological requirement for bones and the marrow found in them. Chewing a bone occupies their time, exercises certain muscles, and offers mental stimulation.

The right type of bone offers a source of phosphorus and calcium, among a lot of minerals, in general, that are highly digestible.

They offer a healthy way to chew, which is great for dogs who are notorious chewers, and help remove plaque from the teeth and even helps to prevent gum disease.

Interestingly enough, the right bone can help strengthen the muscle layers of the stomach and prevent the stomach from bloating. This is paired with healthier bowel movements and the prevention of problems with the anal glands.

Raw Bones That Are Safe for Dogs

Goat, lamb, turkey, beef knuckle, pork, and chicken bones are bones that are safe for dogs to eat, when they are in a raw form.

However, make sure your dog won’t snatch it up and swallow it whole. If you think your dog may try to do this, do not give him the bone.

Bones That Are NOT Safe for Dogs

Beef, bison, and buffalo bones are often much harder than the teeth of dogs, so they should not be given. Large dogs will go to town on these bones while small dogs don’t have a scaling effect on these types of bones because of their size.

Why These Types of Bones Are a Problem

Dogs have evolved from canine species, who don’t typically go after larger prey in the wild.

Wolves and feral dogs, which domesticated dogs have evolved from, typically hunt rodents, birds, rabbits, and, if in a large pack, goats and deer.

They don’t go after bison, buffalo, cows, or any large animal like that in the wild, not unless they’re starving and close to death with few options left.

The Risks of Giving a Dog a Cooked Bone

If you give your dog a chicken, steak, pork, or any type of animal bone that has been cooked, you’re running the risk of the following:

  • Esophagus blockage
  • Windpipe blockage
  • Stomach blockage
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Abdominal bacterial infection – Peritonitis
  • Looped bones around the lower jaw
  • Tongue and/or mouth injuries
  • Broken and/or chipped teeth
  • Minor to severe rectal bleeding
  • Minor to severe constipation 

Cooked bones are more likely to splinter and cause injuries all throughout the body, so they should never be given to your dog.

Can Dogs Be Given Bone Meal?

Some owners think that bone meal is a good replacement for regular bones, but here is my answer to this question:


Bone meal is often very hard to digest and, unless you make it yourself, usually comes from China.

China exports a lot of animal products that have killed pets from being tainted, so steer clear.


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