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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 13, 2008
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    Wisconsin
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    812

    Default Raw Bones

    I noticed my approximately 8 year old BC mix's teeth and gums weren't looking so good. Started brushing them more often, and got reading, and it seems raw bones are the way to go. I also have a Chow mix with horrible breath, he has always had horrible breath, and a younger Shepherd mix. And might as well toss the two cats into the mix, because I am NOT brushing their teeth.

    It looks like chicken wings are the preferred item for cats. How many/week will do the job? Anything else that works well? They get canned food at night and dry in the morning.

    And what should I look for for the dogs? We have a couple of butcher shops nearby, but I don't even know what to ask for. And how often should they gnaw on these? Today I stopped at the pet store and picked up some Merrick's kneecaps, which they loved, once they got over the "What the hell are these?" They chewed all the jerky and softer parts off. Do I let them eat the whole thing?

    A friend buys their dogs bones at a pet store, but I would think I can better better and cheaper stuff at a butcher shop.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 26, 2001
    Location
    Toronto, Canada.
    Posts
    6,359

    Default

    Raw bones are much better than cooked - but please keep an eye on your dog when feeding bones.

    We had a shih tzu come in yesterday that had a lamb bone wedged in his esophagus. The dog must have had it lodged in there for at least 8 hours as it was part of his raw food diet that he ate for breakfast. Unfortunatey he did not make it

    Most of the time dogs do just fine with rawbones...but I would never give one to them unsupervised.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 18, 2010
    Posts
    389

    Default

    My dog loves knuckle bones! I buy them from the store raw and then freeze them before giving it to the dog. If you freeze the bone it lasts longer. You need to watch the dog because they can get too excited and break a tooth on a frozen bone. Also, don't let them eat the whole thing in one sitting because they will get an upset stomach.

    BTW, a knuckle bone is the same thing as a soup bone. Ask the butcher. They should have some in the back if they don't have any out.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2008
    Location
    Sunshine State
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    2,215

    Default

    We give our dogs the raw chicken backs. I can usually find them at the grocery store. Also the big economy packs of chicken wings. We feed raw for one meal per week.

    Never considered feeding the cat raw. I wonder if he'd be able to manage to eat the bones?
    The rebel in the grey shirt



  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2011
    Posts
    1,785

    Default

    My old Border collie loved pork shoulder roasts. The bone in those was perfect sized for him. I also gave him whole raw chickens and just let him go to town over the course of a few days. It took him 2-4 days to finish one depending on size. He particularly liked frozen chicken. Ribs were another good one. I always shopped in the stuff is about to expire section for him.

    Cats shouldn't have trouble eating raw chicken bones either. Bigger things like beef or pork they might, but chicken/turkey/duck/etc should be fine for them.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2012
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    Vermont
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    5,105

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WarDance View Post
    My dog loves knuckle bones! I buy them from the store raw and then freeze them before giving it to the dog. If you freeze the bone it lasts longer. You need to watch the dog because they can get too excited and break a tooth on a frozen bone. Also, don't let them eat the whole thing in one sitting because they will get an upset stomach.

    BTW, a knuckle bone is the same thing as a soup bone. Ask the butcher. They should have some in the back if they don't have any out.
    ^^^THIS! Our dogs have sparkly white teeth and great dog breath! And, even after the "meat" is gone off the bone, they continue to chew them, so they end up being toys after they are done being teeth cleaners. We have a basket of them in our house, and they will go get them out of the basket and lay down and chew.

    FYI - pick them up before you go to bed...there is nothing worse than getting up in the middle of the night to visit the little room and stubbing a toe on one of these bones! Ask me how I know!
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  7. #7
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    Feb. 1, 2012
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    Vermont
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    Default

    And you don't need to get the big knuckles either. You can get the straight leg bones. We have a connection to a local butcher, so we probably have more of these in the freezer than we do our own food!
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  8. #8
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    Feb. 1, 2012
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    Vermont
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    Default

    Typically when feeding bones, you want to make sure the bone is not small enough that the dog can just inhale without chewing (i.e. like feeding a large dog raw chicken wings).
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2007
    Location
    Montana
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    5,333

    Default

    During hunting season our dogs chow down on deer leg bones... the rest of the year I can find the big knuckle bones in the freezer department of our local grocery stores. I let them chew on it until it is small enough for swallowing or has been in the sun long enough that it's starting to splinter/get dry.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
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    Default

    Yes please, no chicken wings for big dogs

    And absolutely kitties can chew the bones! Same principles - bigger to encourage gnawing, not so big they can't get their jaw around it, raw not cooked.

    Our GSD/Chows get big knuckle bones, and they can also do pork femurs but they get to the "take it away" stage more quickly because of size.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 18, 2010
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    389

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SuckerForHorses View Post
    ^^^THIS! Our dogs have sparkly white teeth and great dog breath! And, even after the "meat" is gone off the bone, they continue to chew them, so they end up being toys after they are done being teeth cleaners. We have a basket of them in our house, and they will go get them out of the basket and lay down and chew.

    FYI - pick them up before you go to bed...there is nothing worse than getting up in the middle of the night to visit the little room and stubbing a toe on one of these bones! Ask me how I know!
    My dogs seem to hide them and then they reappear several weeks later! It's surprising that the dogs still eat them after the good stuff is gone.

    Also, we have a few elk antlers in the house that our dogs like to chew. We buy them cut into manageable sizes at our local pet store. The owner of the store says that some dogs love them and other dogs have no interest in them but they last forever!



  12. #12
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    Feb. 1, 2012
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    Vermont
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    My boyfriend absolutely loves it when they leave them on the lawn, and he rediscovers them later...with the lawn mower
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  13. #13
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    Aug. 13, 2008
    Location
    Wisconsin
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    Default

    Thanks for the replies. I know to supervise. It does make me a little nervous, feeding bones, but so does the idea of getting knocked out for a teeth cleaning. And it will give the dogs something to do. They were looking for their bones last night after I took them away.

    I'm sure I can get plenty of deer leg bones in November. In fact, we find them occasionally while riding or walking. I know dogs that roam often drag them home. Mine do not have the privilege of hunting down their own deer legs though.



  14. #14
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    Dec. 24, 2003
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    Chesapeake, VA
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    Default

    Try turkey necks too, the tom ones. They are HUGE and pretty "complicated" so #1, most dogs will take the time to chew them and not just try to swallow, and #2, they're great teeth cleaners.

    Do be careful with weight bearing bones from large animals (like cows). There's a reason raw feeders refer to them as "rec" bones; they can easily fracture a dogs teeth because they're so dense.

    I regularly give pork shoulder bones, with a bunch of meat left on them (I feed raw so I use all of the meat for their boneless meals, then save the bone).. dogs love it!
    -Kady



  15. #15
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    Jan. 2, 2012
    Location
    Wairarapa New Zealand
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    Default

    I feed bones at least 1x a week - usually beef bones. Every now and again, I buy each of the dogs a really meaty canon bone and let them sit out on the lawn all day having a good old chomp. Once the meat and gristle is cleaned off, I break them open with an axe so that they can get to the marrow. Dont let the labs break them open although they are more than capable of doing that - one of my friend's labs broke a tooth that way. However, I have never had a problem with them gnawing on the bones themselves - just dont let them break them open
    Still Working_on_it - one day I will get it!



  16. #16
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    Nov. 17, 2006
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    3,952

    Default

    My vet discourages bones because he said they can break off in the size of piece that is sharp and dangerous and I'd swallowed. I'm sure there are many out there that never have a problem, but with my luck....I just can't do it. Vet recommended the NylaBones since any pieces that are broken off are tiny and pass right through the dog. Just one vet's opinion, but I like to play it safe.
    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
    ¯ Oscar Wilde



  17. #17
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    Dec. 6, 2000
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    SE Mass
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    4,191

    Default

    We feed frozen marrow bones. We do take them away after 24 hours, because they can get dry and splinter causing intestinal issues.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    1,553

    Default Finally tried it

    After all of the many threads feeding raw wings even sporadically, I bravely chopped off the wings of a chicken I was prepping for the oven and gave them to my two little dogs (8lb and 18lb) out on the patio.

    Tiny Timber did not consume much but was really working. I finally took it away after a good 20mins when he had the meaty bone straight in his mouth like a snake trying to get a rabbit down the hatch. Joey's was gone after 10 mins (8mins longer than I predicted ).

    I boiled the organs for training treats and tossed the neck in the freezer for another day.

    Cuddling later, it freaked me out that Timber was trying to lick my face. And his fluffy fur was sticky and stained. I could not get a huge, neon, flashing SALMONELLA sign out of my head.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2001
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    Center of the Universe
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    Default

    Vet recommended the NylaBones since any pieces that are broken off are tiny and pass right through the dog.
    this isn't true- quite a few dogs have died from intestinal blocks created by nylabone chunks. The plastic isn't digestible. And nylabone, apparently hoping to avoid lawsuits, deliberately designed their plastics so you couldn't see them on x-rays. Makes you wonder how many dogs who died from undiagnosed digestive tract problems were killed by nylabones.
    Not to mention that nylabones don't appear to do much in the way of tooth-cleaning; they fall firmly into the "recreational" class of chews, see below. And of course I'd estimate fewer than 20% of dogs have ever shown any interest in chewing on nylabones.

    Raw bone is digestible, so anything your dog swallows is unlikely to cause a problem- it turns rubbery in the acid of the stomach. Cooked/smoked bones are not digestible, and are what cause most of the problems. Smoked bones purchased at pet stores aren't very safe to give to your dog.

    Anyway, raw feeders divide bones into two types: raw meaty bones, which the dog eats the entire thing, meat and bone, in a matter of a few minutes; and recreational bones, which are large bones the dog doesn't actually eat but just gnaws on for fun.

    For tooth-cleaning, I'd suggest the raw meaty bones. Especially for dogs with dirty teeth. Those dirty teeth are likely to be compromised in strength right now, and if you just give them a huge, hard cow shin bone to gnaw on, there's a good chance they will break some teeth. Also, what does the best cleaning isn't the bone, it's the action of the teeth shearing through the meat.

    Recreational bones are fine fun for dogs with good teeth, but for teeth-cleaning you'll get better results from soft meaty bones like chicken wings, chicken necks, lamb necks, pork necks, lamb/pork rib bones, lamb/pork femurs, chicken backs, rabbit carcasses.
    Some people who are afraid of bones report good teeth-cleaning results with big chunks of bone-less meat. Obviously you have to size the chunks (bone-in or bone-out) such that your dog has to actually use their teeth to render them swallowable rather than just swallow the entire thing whole (which is safe and normal, just doesn't do much for the teeth). So a little dog might get much benefit from a chicken wing, but a bigger dog might need an entire chicken quarter to get the same tooth-cleaning benefit.

    Bones, even raw ones, aren't entirely safe. Hard weight-bearing bones like beef marrow bones, beef shins, or adult deer/sheep leg bones can and do break teeth. Dogs can get bones stuck in their mouths, or occasionally lodged in their throats. If they can get a raw bone down into the stomach complications after that are very rare but not totally unheard of. Some dogs, immunocompromised or just not used to raw, can get food poisoning from raw meat/bones. Dog owners can get food poisoning from either the raw meat/bones themselves, or via the dog's saliva/poop/fur.

    I read a study of someone seeing what cleaned dog's teeth the best. They reported that rawhide was the best, followed by raw meaty bones (they used oxtails in this study), followed very distantly by "paste type" bones (such as greenies or similar "edible bones"), which were reported as being quite bad at cleaning teeth. They didn't study any other possibles.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct. 22, 2009
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    2,848

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    Is it safe to feed frozen bones? I occasionally pick up some frozen marrow bones for the dogs (45 and 55lbs) to gnaw on. I've always thawed them first, but it'd be nice to feed them frozen when its hot out. Is this safe, or will it make the bone more likely to splinter?
    Quote Originally Posted by pinecone View Post
    I can't decide if I should saddle up the drama llama, dust off the clue bat, or get out my soapbox.



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