• Your logins to the main site and to this support forum are NOT the same. To get access to this forum, you must be a ALL-ACCESS member (register here). You will receive login information the day you register. If you have problems logging in to the forum, please use the Contact us form. First time posting? Watch this video and Follow this posting guide

Fresh meat bones question

ViktoriiaP

All Access Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2022
Messages
9
Hi Everyone!

My dog is a black lab and he is almost 4 years old. It has been a week since we switched him to a fresh diet. I can already see a big difference! My question is about bones. Which bones can I give him for calcium? Which once should I never give him? Can I give him lamb loin or riblets or beef bone marrow? And how often should I give him bones?

Thank you!
 

Dr. Jeff

Administrator
Moderator
Veterinarian
Joined
Feb 23, 2017
Messages
3,822
Great question Viktoria? Most eatable (not recreational marrow bones) are fine to use for calcium as long as they are raw.

You can also use Eggshellent and seaweed calcium supplements if you're not always using eatable (or ground bone).

I bet @GinnyW has some very specific thoughts about which bones to use and avoid.
 

Dr. Sue

Certified Veterinary Food Therapist
Veterinarian
HA! Faculty
Joined
May 21, 2020
Messages
37
Congrats Victoria! How awesome that your dog is enjoying the benefits of a raw diet in this short period of time. If you're feeding a commercially prepared raw diet the calcium levels should be adequate as they've already got ground bone or eggshell in the food and the packaging should say that the diet meets AAFCO requirements for a complete and balanced diet for your dog's life stage.

If you're making your own raw diet high percentage meat diet, I use IVI blend calgae which is a seaweed based calicum so as not to add too much phosphorous to the food from bone meal.

As for bones fed supplementally for your dog's enjoyment, teeth and mental stimulation I love this article on raw bones written by Dr. Jodie Gruenstern.

Warmly, Dr. Sue
 

Attachments

  • ARTICLE - Raw Bones.pdf
    3.9 MB · Views: 9

Dr. Jeff

Administrator
Moderator
Veterinarian
Joined
Feb 23, 2017
Messages
3,822
Thanks for sharing the great article Dr. Sue!
 

GinnyW

All Access Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Messages
280
Oooookay! I'll start out by saying, "Yes, but..." The article opens with a pic of a smallish dog with a bare marrow bone section. This, to me, is fraught with risk. These bones are so hard that a strong, determined chewer can bite down hard enough to fracture a tooth. I might give a very meaty marrow bone to a tiny pup who cannot possibly get his little mouth around it. I would never give this sort of femur cross-section to any medium-to-large dog; they're just too hard. Another rare but between entirely possible accident is when the ring of bone gets jammed AROUND the lower jaw - it happens! We also see large chunks of bone wedged in upper jaws between sides.

Okay, enough no's: The first and always overreaching consideration is "Know Thy Dog". Size, strength, ambition, competition from other family dogs, perceived threat from humans taking bones away - are just some of the factors. Your dog must have safety and quiet. You must have the ability to quietly take a bone away without drama - and WITH thanks:)

As to which bones to feed: I like totally consumable ones. Bones are NOT playthings or pacifiers. Never leave a dog unobserved with a bone. Which bones your dog can best handle is something you can determine over time, but I like chicken or duck carcasses - turkey necks, too, depending on how careful and methodical your dog is with them. Rib sections - not single ribs, but two, three or more, from smaller ungulates and pigs. Necks from the same smaller animals. Single vertebrae from cattle, with supervision when they are broken up. Oxtails, wonderful when you can find them. Lamb tails - and any part of goat, just as with lamb. I avoid weight-bearing long bones from almost anything; I even bone out turkey legs and feed all but the shank. (My boy suffered an impaction in his butt from a turkey knuckle, so I smash those, too). Young beef ribs, but watch them.

So, the cardinal rule is to observe. See how things are handled, and if you need to remove a bone, or arrange the portion by whacking it up. Feed complicated but undense stuff like small carcasses - try new stuff but always watch. For all of you who say, "Oh, but I always give my dog so-and-so" - or "I give him a big bone to chew on while I'm gone...", I urge you to rethink, observe, try something else - and get a dental exam so you know where he stands. And if you want to entertain him, take him for a walk or ride instead:)
 

RyanS

All Access Member
Joined
May 12, 2022
Messages
5
Hi Everyone,

Should bones be fed daily? Once in a while? How often is it recommended?
 

GinnyW

All Access Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Messages
280
Well, what we are attempting to do here is create, as nearly as possible, a natural carnivorous diet: prey of different sizes, different nutritional makeup, some days no prey at all. It's not likely that a canid would eat the same, or the same amounts, even a day or two in succession. But, without getting ridiculous, know that variety in all aspects is going to be a positive thing. This is true of bones as well. What if harsh times led to a diet of small mammals and rodents: a martin, a few rats, maybe a rabbit or a couple of lazy waterbirds? What if the pack brought down a big deer, a caribou, or even a small bison? They'd eat at it for days, stuffing themselves nearly to insensibility right off. The alphas would get the organs; these at the bottom of the ranking would get - you guessed it - mostly bones, some tough and nasty ones, too. Some could be consumed, others only gnawed.

If you want to feed bony stuff every day, it's not going to make anyone ill or deficient. If you choose mushy stuff, to hide the myriad supplements a proto-dog never had, or just for convenience or variety, go ahead. Too much bone to handle will constipate, but they'll take care of that.

The general rule for "classic" raw meaty bones is the "meaty" part: 50% bone or less - or more, sometimes, depending on your dog's eating style and to some extent the rest of the diet. Considering nutrition, big meaty and bony chunks are complete and ideal. Everything else is, well,
gravy:)

For more about where this method of feeding arose, see this: BARF - Dr Ian Billinghurst
He wasn't exactly the first; there were breeders at least as far back as WWII feeding only animal parts - and before there were "biscuits", domesticated dogs got table scraps, hunting trim, and whatever they could catch in fields and barns. There is no doubt, to me, that dogs as well as humans have been forced into dietary degeneracy over the last century, at the hand of creative and mercenary men. We can turn this around, for us and our animal friends.
 

Weekly Digest

Weekly Digest
Subscribe/Unsubscribe

Members online

Latest posts

Top Bottom