Pet Health & Safety

Not All Bones Are Dog Friendly

7 Comments 18 August 2010

Not All Bones Are Dog Friendly

We owe Bruin an apology.

We just returned from visiting dear friends who, amongst other points of distinction, are proud parents of Bruin, their seven-year-old adopted husky/lab/collie mix. Bruin’s summers are spent at the lake where he assumes his hunter role, stalking frogs and chipmunks. His obsession results in hundreds of hours (and dollars!) of repair work ranging from filling in massive holes dug by Bruin as he attempts to follow the track of the chipmunk escapee, to re-installing air conditioning units that have been moved off their mounts as the great hunter tries to get around, behind or under them on his pursuit of that elusive green thing.

Regardless of his damaging antics, Bruin is adored by all. His eyes are your downfall; you can’t help but rub his belly just a little while longer even after your arm is ready to fall off, or pass him just one more piece of food at the very rowdy dinner table full of Bruin fans.

But the best intentions of adoring pet parents aren’t always what’s best for their four-legged family members. In Bruin’s case, he’s lucky and it’s not just because he’s surrounded by constant love and attention. On those special occasions when prime rib is served, Bruin has been the recipient of the rib bones. He strips them clean of every morsel of meat and then gnaws them into smaller and smaller pieces. The one we retrieved from him was about two inches long and an inch wide – one gulp and it would have been gone.

We explained to his Mom and Dad that bones not properly prepared and treated for dogs can cause serious problems. Between splintering or swallowing whole chunks of bone, the results can send your dog to emergency surgery. As much as you love your dog and want to provide him with special treats, bones from your dinner table are not to be fed to your dog!

There are lots of healthy, safe treat options for your four-legged best friend ranging from natural and organic dog cookies to consumable chews to specially prepared bones for dogs.

Sorry, Bruin. That’s probably the last bone from the dinner table that you’re going to see. But, hopefully, that means many more years of stalking chipmunks and frogs plus endless belly rubs.


- who has written 15 posts on Castor & Pollux Pet Works Blog.

Shelley Gunton is co-founder and “Top Dog” of Castor & Pollux Pet Works. Shelley and husband Brian’s passion for bringing the best possible products to dogs and cats started with their own dog, Joey, back in 1985 when they couldn’t find any quality food for him after being transferred to Hong Kong. So began their journey into the world of pet food that eventually lead to the launching of their own line of natural and organic dog and cat products in 1999 – Castor & Pollux Pet Works.

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7 Comments so far

  1. Danny says:

    COOKING ! It’s what makes bones brittle. Giving your dog raw beef bones is OK, beef only – chicken bones will splinter into sharp edges even raw. Do not give your dog cooked bones because cooking makes them brittle and sharp shards result. Raw beef bones are an excellent source of glucosamine, chondroytin (at the bone heads) calcium, protein, iron (marrow) and great for cleaning teeth – they last much, much longer than rawhide bones. Trim the fat off the bones as best you can and sit back & watch your puppy enjoy the treat.

  2. noel cathey says:

    I agree about dinner leftover bones. i gave my pups a coooked ham bone from the soup i made.. it was huge… at first.. they threw up the particles that nite..yet.. the chews i buy.. are dug.. how dirty can a tie chew be .. before it is dangerously infested with all the dirt and grime and germs… they are so expensive.. and u know the ? help please?

  3. Danny says:

    Noel, uncooked beef bones are actually better than rawhide, more easily digestible. If you’re worried about dirt & funk, dogs are omnivores by nature and this kind of stuff does not affect them. Dog saliva contains enzymes to inhibit bacterial growth, especially e-coli, so they don’t get sick even if they eat poop or dirt. If something doesn’t agree with them they will throw it up but sometimes even eat their vomit again to get it digested twice LoL. As long as your dogs are at least 6 months old, their immune system should be fully developed. Another great lo-cost snack is cooked egg shells. In this case, do not feed the egg shells raw, those should be cooked, so make yourself some hard boiled eggs and give your pups a bowl of shells, great calcium for strong bones. YOu don’t have to pay big money for treats they will appreciate ! I also give my dogs the cardboard center of toilet paper and paper towel rolls to chew on. They don’t swallow paper or cardboard, they just like to rip and chew.

  4. Shelley says:

    Thanks, Danny! Lots of feedback and ideas! There many good, healthy, safe options to help satisfy your dog’s natural chewing instinct. Some pet parents are concerned about feeding uncooked bones due to bacterial contamination (salmonella); not so much that it will affect their dog but that humans may come in contact with the bones and be affected. Careful handing and monitoring can limit this risk. Castor & Pollux has a beef femur meaty bone as part of its Good Buddy line of natural products. They are smoked for extra flavor and to help retain moisture which then helps avoid splintering. Our Good Buddy pressed rawhide bones and sticks are also great for aggressive chewers. Again, many different options depending on what works for you and your dog! But, in all cases, we always recommend monitoring your dog as he’s chewing his way into happy oblivion!!

  5. LINDA says:

    My Mia is a 2y/o rescue mix pit bull. I value my pets health. I am a nurse, and after reading the ingredients in the organic food and cookies, I trust you have every loved pet in your hearts. my mia is happy, healthy, and will forever be a CP fan. thankyou

  6. Kappy Hodges says:

    I’m confused. I have always read that cooked bones are a no-no because that is what makes them splinter & do damage to a dog’s intestinal tract. Yet, the Femur bone listed here on Castor’s website says it is baked & smoked. Last time I checked, baking IS cooking. I don’t understand. How can THIS cooked bone be OK when others are not?

  7. Shelley says:

    Great question! The key is to ensure the baking process does not dry the bone to the point where it splinters. It’s like baking anything – you can cook it too long and totally dry it out or you can pull it out of the oven before it gets to that point. Because dogs have varying degrees of aggressiveness when it comes to chewing, we always recommend keeping a close eye on your dog while they enjoy any toy or treat – just to be safe.


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