Give the Dog a Bone – Or Should You?

Although there is a wealth of options out there for different kinds of pet food, the traditional image many people associate with dogs is the bone. With dog toys being shaped as bones and bones appearing on the packaging for food and other supplies, it is quite easily understood that dogs like bones, but do you know why?

Pet food provides your pet with a lot of the essential nutrients he needs for a healthy diet, but the minerals provided by bones are just as essential for your dog or cat. Bones contain phosphorous and calcium, key ingredients in a dog’s diet, and many dog foods do contain bone meal in some form. If you are creating your own homemade dog food, however, this might be an ingredient that you fail to include, but this can be easily supplemented by giving him edible raw bones and recreational raw bones.

Do be wary, however, when deciding to give your pet a bone to chew on. Where you might think that you are doing the best thing, if his dog food already contains a lot of calcium from added bone meal, then giving an additional bone could end up with him having an excessive amount of calcium, which can actually be detrimental to growing animals. In fact, many cheap pet foods already contain large amounts of calcium which are more than the recommended daily intake, which should be around 1-1.8% ideally. Check the ingredients and information labels on all dog food before you add bones to his diet.

If you do decide to feed your dog bones, then edible bones should be the hollow, non-weight bearing bones of birds (chicken wings, for example). Recreational bones, on the other hand, don’t supply much in the way of nutrition, but are good for improving oral health and providing stimulation. They are designed to be gnawed on only and not chewed.

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