Think twice before you toss your dog a bone.
Chews and bones are a common and necessary treat for our canine companions. Do you know the difference between rawhide, bully sticks, and marrow bones?
Here are the need-to-know facts for the most popular types of chews and bones on the market.
Raw hides are one of the most common bones for dogs, and one of the most dangerous.
Raw hides aren't easily digestible; if your dog eats the whole bone it can cause a blockage that can be potentially deadly for your pup. The rawhide process begins with a chemical bath, which isn't a safe bet for any pet.
These are a better option for your pet than rawhide. Raw marrow bones help keep teeth clean and aren't preserved by use of chemicals.
These bones can be potentially dangerous, though, as they can get stuck over your dog's lower jaw. This depends on how hard your dog chews and how vigorously. Marrow bones can send pups to the vet, so monitor them closely when chewing.
These are the best chew for small dogs because they can't splinter and get caught in the intestines. The ingredients are "beef pizzle" and they are consumable.
Bully sticks have a bit of a smell when chewed on, but keep dogs occupied for hours and keep their teeth healthy.
Because knuckle bones have some tendons and muscle attached, they are a softer option for a dog chew.
Usually bigger and awkwardly shaped, dogs are able scrape knuckle bones with their teeth without presenting the danger of ingestion.
This stereotypical "dog bone" is very large, and better for bigger breeds.
While they are a safe, healthy option, femur bones don't allow for the same mouth workout as knuckle bones do.
Antlers are odor free and able to give your dog's mouth the thorough cleaning, massaging, and exercise it needs. These make a great chew toy for a dog.
But beware: antlers are harder than most bones which, depending on the voracity with which your dog chews, can cause teeth to break. Antlers may indadvertedly cause your pet, and your wallet, unnecessary pain.
Bones from anything you have cooked at home should be avoided.
When bones have been cooked they become brittle and can break and splinter easily. The cooking process also removes nutrients your pet might be getting from the bone.
Before giving your dog a bone, make sure you know your facts to avoid trips to the vet. Many chews and bones are important to help maintain your dog's dental health and keep them stimulated.