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PSA: Dog owners that feed marrow bones, please read

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  • PSA: Dog owners that feed marrow bones, please read

    I have fed my dogs a daily marrow bone for YEARS. They LOVE these things, they are cheaper than rawhide and help keep teeth clean.

    Last night a 11pm, my dog Zorro was acting odd-he would not come out from under the table and would not take a treat.

    He had hooked the bone around his lower jaw like a donut. It was behind his canine teeth so I could NOT get it off without him yelping and crying.

    I called 3 emergency clinics (to find the closest one with the least wait) and each one said this is VERY common.

    We drove to the clinic-he was an angel-just rode patiently with his jaw jewelry.

    When we arrived and the tech came for him he went in a panic and thrashed around.

    One big yell and he got it off (save me some bucks!).

    I am sure others feed bones like this-so just be sure the bone is too small or too big to get caught on the jaw.

  • #2
    Are these the treats that you are talking about?


    • #3
      Scary isn't it? Had that happen to my Mal...had to tranq him at the vets and use a bone saw to get it off. No damage thank goodness!
      I buy fresh marrow bones from the grocery store all the time. Just ask the butcher at the meat case for large marrow or soup bones. You can get them any size or shape you want...either in discs when they've been crosscut or in long large bones. Those are fresh and don't splinter like baked bone treats will. And a ton cheaper, Stop and Shop charges me about 30 cents per lb for large marrow bones. They freeze great too!
      So ask the butcher at your local grocery so you can get them not only fresher, tastier, safer and can also get them in thickness and sizes that are less likely to get caught.

      JennWarr, I think LMH means this shape/type of marrow bone:

      These are the kind I buy:

      The first photo is of cross sections of the second type of bones. Once the marrow is gone in those they become a thick ring of bone and some dogs can get them caught on their lower jaw.
      This is what they look like as dog treats, baked and basted:
      Once you bake them the bone is dry and brittle and can splinter off when chewed. Dogs can swallow those sharp splinters which isn't a good thing. They also can cost a butt load when sold as baked treats...I've seen single ones for $10 for a medium sized long bone. Yet at the grocery store for a fresh one the same size is about 6 cents. And dogs like those better.
      You jump in the saddle,
      Hold onto the bridle!
      Jump in the line!


      • Original Poster

        MistyBlue is correct-I am talking about the fresh cross section (like the photo she posted).

        I would have NEVER even thought it could happen.

        And they were going to remove it like you said-tranq him and saw it off!

        I will be VERY careful in the sizes I choose from now on!


        • #5
          Do you feed them raw or cooked?

          In the past, I have boiled them for 15 minutes or so to kill any bacteria, etc

          Whats the best way to give them?
          Yes, my dogs love them too, but knock wood!
          save lives...spay/neuter/geld


          • #6
            I'll stick to the chicken / turkey necks

            Thanks for the PSA though! I would never have thought it either.


            • Original Poster

              I feed mine raw. Cooked ones can splinter.


              • #8
                I acctually had one

                get part of it wedged up inside his jaw against his palate. Hard to describe but wedged in between his teeth. He kept rubbing his nose maniacally -- we though he had some kind of thorn in his nose or had sucked something up in his nostrils.

                But it was the bone wedged up in his jaw.

                We were able to remove it quickly and easily. But I always watch them now and take them away if we aren't going to be around.


                • #9
                  Nope, I don't cook them. I feed them raw. When I get a package of them I give one to the dog and pop the rest in the freezer. After that I give them straight from the freezer to the dog.
                  They're way cheaper than packaged treat ones, also safer and healthier.
                  You jump in the saddle,
                  Hold onto the bridle!
                  Jump in the line!


                  • #10
                    depending on th size of dog- we get the whole leg bone from our butcher- he saves them for us and does not saw them into bits. It keeps our 100 lb puppies busy for several days.
                    It is the ones that are already sawn in 1-2 inch rounds meant for soup that are the problem. You can ask your butcher not to saw them so small- a 4-6 inch length is a good size for most medium to large size dogs. When they have sucked the marrow out and if there is some left they can't get, I just smash them down on the concrete stable floor and they always split in half- the remaining marrow gets licked up in a second and then the two halves are discarded as they no longer are interesting to the dogs.

                    We give them forzen as well- we call them "meatsicles"
                    "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cbv View Post
                      get part of it wedged up inside his jaw against his palate. Hard to describe but wedged in between his teeth. He kept rubbing his nose maniacally -- we though he had some kind of thorn in his nose or had sucked something up in his nostrils.

                      But it was the bone wedged up in his jaw.

                      We were able to remove it quickly and easily. But I always watch them now and take them away if we aren't going to be around.
                      I had this happen too! We had only had the dog for two weeks, she was settling ing great and suddenly VERY strange behavior. She was so scared I could not hold her to see what was wrong, got her into the vets waiting room and it popped out. (maybe I hit a pothole too hard)
                      Thanks for the reminder.


                      • #12
                        Yep, my vet's office has posted in the waiting room a picture of a dog who had this happen with a warning about giving bones to dogs.
                        The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                        Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


                        • #13
                          That would have never occurred to me, and I have needle-nosed greyhounds.

                          Like the Christmas tree water being toxic - all the years they have lapped the water, but this year, my older daxie got urine problems. He is fine now.
                          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                          • #14
                            It hadn't occured to me before it happened to one of my dogs either. Thankfully things didn't upset him easily...he just came walking into the kitchen one day with a marrow bone wedged onto his bottom jaw and stood there glaring at me as if to say, "Well get the damned thing off and don''t you *dare* laugh!"
                            I tried a couple times to get it off, gave up and drove him to the vets. Since he was bitey with vets they just knocked him out and even then had to use a bone saw to get it off!

                            Another thing I wouldn't have thought of is a dog swallowing a Kong ball. Not the puramid shaped Kong, but the solid rubber heavy Kong ball. My neighbor's Weim did just that this past fall. Poor dog was having trouble breathing and was a wreck, and so was his owner. They sped up the driveway and he stopped to ask what to do and showed me his dog, I told him where the nearest vet was and called from my house as he took off for the vets to give the vet a warning what was coming.
                            They almost lost the poor dog, he was having trouble breathing, where the ball got lodged it couldn't be grabbed and didn't allow for anesthesia either (nowhere to get a tube so he could breath) The older vet broke a pair of forceps and used a sharp end to stab the ball and slowly pull it out! It worked, but holy cow that had to be scary! I assumed a Kong ball was too big to swallow, I threw mine out after that.
                            You jump in the saddle,
                            Hold onto the bridle!
                            Jump in the line!


                            • #15
                              In the past, I have boiled them for 15 minutes or so to kill any bacteria, etc

                              Whats the best way to give them?
                              Yes, my dogs love them too, but knock wood!
                              never heat treat a bone before giving it to a dog- that includes all those "smoked" and "sterilized" bones they sell at the petstore. Once heat-treated they become brittle and indigestible, and may end up slicing your dog's gut apart or blocking the gut. Dogs are designed to eat raw body parts crawling with bacteria; the bacteria almost certainly won't hurt them, good chance the cooked bone will.
                              Raw (properly sized!) marrow bones are great for dogs, and are probably safer, definitely healthier, than most dog chews, like gut-clogging rawhide and plastic nylabones and those so-called "edible bones" made out of peculiar things that sound suspiciously like hardened variants of the "non toxic" paste we used to use in kindergarten for art projects.


                              • #16
                                I get the beef knuckle bones at the butcher for the dogs - they have yet to get hung up with them, they are huge bones and last for at least two weeks.

                                If one thinks about it, a dog will eat a ten day old dead deer - now that is full of bacteria and when they finish eating, they will roll in it and bring it home..stinky little hounds they are!


                                • #17
                                  My dogs are fed raw too. When the cow is killed and the meat put in the freezer, so are all the bones and offal from the cow, so my dogs eat all the offal, ribs, leg, tail, back bones which are all cut into appropriately long sizes.

                                  I have seen this happen to another dog though. These small cut bones are only suitable for small dogs, but not for medium or large dogs.


                                  • #18
                                    Widget and others who feed raw chicken necks and such...(BARF diet people) No toy/food or treat can be 100% safe-- but a friend's doberman bitch choked to death right in front of her --on a chicken neck. It got sorta turned around the long way and was slimy-she couldnt pry it loose- she tried the Heimlich (she is a vet tech) but no luck! Again nothing is foolproof..Those smooth blue racquet balls are also deadly - they are too smooth to pry out and smaller than tennis balls so they can get stuck in a bigger dogs throat. Gruesome PSA- sorry. Just some things I had never thought about till I was told.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Widget View Post
                                      I'll stick to the chicken / turkey necks

                                      Thanks for the PSA though! I would never have thought it either.

                                      I'll never feed turkey necks again...that's the one bone that my dog just about choked on...luckily, I never leave them unsupervised with raw I saw what was happening and pulled it out. A friend of mine said a dog she knew, died choking on a turkey never again will I give those.

                                      I use the Nature's Variety Ham bones twice a week....I realize that whenever you feed raw bones, you do take a I always moniter closely until they finish.

                                      But they are the best for cleaning teeth!

                                      To the poster asked about boiling...nope, I don't boil....dogs' systems are set up and they can handle bacteria differently than us humans.


                                      • #20
                                        This is kind of a highjack, but don't feel like posting a new thread. It seemed a while ago that it was stylish to make stall door hardware using old horseshoes for the latch. While it might be safe to use on full height sliding doors, with a half door, a horse can get his lower jaw hooked over that, too, and then all hell breaks loose. I saw two horses with wired jaws a few years back from this happening. The dogs and the marrow bone jaw jewelry reminded me of it.
                                        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique