Dogs love to chew and its good for their teeth and gums to chew on a hard bone. Dogs that aren’t given bones to chew on a regular basis have a higher risk of developing periodontal disease which can lead to tooth loss and a chronic inflammatory state which increases their risk of disease. Unfortunately, all bones aren’t safe for a dog. By giving your dog an unsafe bone, you risk a potential choking hazard, particularly if your dog is left unattended with a bone.
What’s the best way to choose a proper bone for your dog and ensure that the dog stays safe with the bones you’ve chosen?
Safe dog bones tip: Buy fresh, raw bones from a butcher shop
If you to give your dog a natural bone, visit your local butcher shop and select raw bones with the fat removed. Don’t cook the bones once you get them home as this makes them more difficult to digest, potentially causing an intestinal obstruction. Although raw bones can be a source for Salmonella and other bacteria, dogs tend to be less affected by intestinal bacteria than humans. For your own safety, be sure to wash your hands after handling raw bones and discard bones after two days.
Safe dog bones tip: Choose a safe bone.
Select bones that are large enough that your dog will be unable to swallow it whole. Also avoid bones that have rough edges or sharp angles which can injure your dog’s mouth or throat. Don’t give your dog a bone that has been cut or sawed to reduce the risk of the bone splintering.
Safe dog bones tip: Choose a manufactured bone
There are a variety of safe, manufactured bones on that aren’t going to splinter in your dog’s mouth. These can be a safe alternative to a natural bone. These manufactured bones are frequently made of nylon or rubber and are less likely to cause injury. You can also buy special dental bones for dogs that are designed to clean teeth and gums. A popular option is the Greenie bone which not only cleans your dog’s teeth and gums but are easily digested. Although more expensive, they are a healthy alternative to natural bones.
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Safe dog bones tip: Supervise your dog when chewing
Never leave your dog unattended with a bone. If your dog develops signs of choking, open his mouth and remove any obvious obstruction. If he continues to show signs of choking or difficulty breathing, perform the Heimlich maneuver to remove the obstruction and seek medical attention for your dog. For complete instructions on how to perform the Heimlich maneuver on dogs, click here.
If chosen wisely, a dog bone can be an excellent stress reliever and source of entertainment for your dog. Plus, a well selected bone can help to remove plaque from the gum line to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy. Just be sure to choose your dog’s bones wisely.