According to PetfoodIndustry.com, there are several forms of bone available. Whole, fresh or frozen, fresh bone meal or “green” bone meal, Bone meal or “raw” none meal, steamed bone meal and Bone meal ash or calcinated bone meal.
Steamed is the type that is most often used for the mass marketed commercial pet food. It is made from bones that are pressure cooked to remove tissue and fat, then dried and ground ending up as a grayish powder. According to PetfoodIndustry.com, most of the bone meal sold to U.S. pet food manufacturers is imported from China, Pakistan or Thailand. Meaning it may or may not exceed safe maximum limits of lead or other heavy metals. This is something you will want to research before choosing your brand of pet food.
As for raw bones, there are two types you can feed your pups as a healthy part of their diet! The edible bones are going to be the most beneficial ones to feed. They have calcium, phosphorous and beneficial minerals. These bones are the hollow, non-weight baring bones of birds, typically turkey and chicken necks and wings. They are soft, pliable, don’t contain marrow and can easily be crushed in a meat grinder. (When you feed edible bones there is no need to supplement with bone meal) The other type is a recreational bone. This is going to be the big beef or bison femur or hip bones filled with marrow. They don’t supply much nutrition due to being gnawed on and not consumed, but they make great mental stimulation and even tend to create better oral health benefits than brushing your pups teeth and a veterinary cleaning.
When your dogs are chewing on a nice meaty beef or bison bone they are also chewing on all of the cartilage and soft tissues that are still attached. This is the equivalent of a good brushing a flossing and helps to break down the tartar and prevent gum disease.
Keep in mind that there is some basic information you should keep in mind before giving a recreational bone to your pups!
Many aggressive chewers are in it to destroy it. They won’t stop until it is gone or they are tired out from it. Dogs such as this can chip or fracture their teeth so it is something to offer them under your watchful eye. Marrow is fatty and can add a substantial amount of calories into your pet’s daily intake. The marrow can also be very rich and upset your pups system if they are not used to it or have sensitive tummies. You probably do not want to offer raw bones on carpeting as most are sold frozen and with some meat left on them. As you can imagine this could create quite the mess! Also, remember this tidbit of information, a dog cannot be given a bone that is too big BUT they can be given one that is too small and would pose a choking hazard. I try to match the bone to the size of the dogs head in length or go bigger. Since I have fed these to Great Pyrenees and Saint Bernard’s as well as a Collie we go giant not just large. If they begin to break small pieces off of their bone REMOVE THEM AT ONCE! They may decide to try and chew them or swallow them which could cause potential problems. NEVER cook raw bones before giving them to your pups. A raw bone will not splinter but a cooked one will and can be dangerous. You should also always supervise your pups when they are given raw bones.
With the information I have found I have come to the conclusion that raw meaty bones are good for a dog’s all around health and diet (naturally) and that quite simply, dog’s LOVE bones! Although these delicious items work for my pups, raw bones are not right for all dogs.
It is up to you to decide what is best for your own pooches.