Ask a Vet Archive

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  • Can you give dogs bones? What if it is a cooked beef bone? It is large - about 2 inches in diameter. I am not sure about which bones splinter and may cause damage.

    I recommend that you do not give any bones to your dog, as there can be a few issues associated with bones.

    The most common issue that I have seen with bones has been injury to the mouth or teeth. Bones are very hard and tend to splinter when chewed. When they splinter, they can become very sharp and cause injury to the gums, tongue and cheek. In one case, a bone fragment got stuck in the cheek and was so deep that I ended up having to cut from the outside to remove the fragment.

    The other main injury that I have seen is broken teeth. The way that some dogs chew on bones causes fractures to the carnassial and or canine teeth. The carnassials are the large teeth near the back of the mouth, and the canines are the large teeth in the front of the mouth. When this occurs, it causes pain and discomfort to the pet. If left untreated, it can lead to infections in the mouth. The only treatment for fractured teeth is either a root canal or extraction. Both of these treatments require general anesthesia and are expensive.

    The other big concern is that the dog will ingest the bone. Again, as they chew the bone it tends to splinter and the splinters can be very sharp. These splinters can cause irritation to the intestinal tract if they are swallowed and can even perforate the GI tract, which can be life threatening. In some cases, I’ve seen dogs swallow large pieces of the bone or even swallow some bones whole. When large pieces are swallowed, it can lead to a blockage of the intestinal system. This can also be life threatening. When the pet has a GI blockage or the bone fragments have penetrated the GI tract, the only treatment is emergency surgery.

    There are other treats that they can chew on that are safer for them. Your veterinarian can recommend a chewing treat that will be safe for your pet.


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Nutrition