Monday, February 14, 2011

Them bones, them bones, them raw bones...

This wonderful photo has been sent to us by one of our customers and shows some adorable wheaten puppies being introduced to raw bones by their mother. It seems a good excuse to pass on various bits of bone information from Tom, our Chief Veterinary Surgeon.

One of the things we sometimes hear from new customers is that they have tried their dogs on raw bones before and either the bones have been regurgitated or else the dog has had Diarrhoea. There are various reasons for this. It may be that the dog has been on a sterile diet for so long that their enzymes for digesting bones have, to quote Tom, 'switched off'. If this is the case it can take anything for a few days to a few weeks for them to be restarted. Another possibility is the type of bone. Lamb bones are more likely to cause vomiting and/or Diarrhoea due to the high fat content of the marrow. Dogs are no different to humans in that what suits one digestive system, doesn't suit another. There are dogs, for instance, that have trouble digesting pork or duck bones.

For this reason Tom normally suggests that if your dog is new to raw bones you may like to start with chicken wings followed, after a few days, by chicken legs and then - providing everything is proceeding smoothly - a meaty beef bone. Why meaty? Tom points out that: "Bone with no meat is not good as dogs just dig into the bone to get the marrow and can either break teeth if the bone is very strong and they are pig headedly determined to get through it or they can end up with lots of splintered bone (more common with lamb bone) which they just chuck back up rather than have it going through their sensitive intestine (rather clever in my opinion)."

On an ongoing basis chicken, beef, lamb or pork bones should all be fine for your dogs but do remember that bones must be a) raw, b) from young animals or birds so that they are soft and c) an appropriate size. What size is appropriate? They must be large enough that the dog can't crack them and/or gulp them down too easily. The one exception to this rule is chicken bones because if from young chickens they are soft to begin with.

It is perhaps worth pointing out at this juncture that we grind raw, meaty bones into our food so that your dogs gets the right nutritional balance. However, they still need bones to keep their teeth and gums clean.

1 comment:

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