Best Pet Bones: How to Choose for Your Dog’s Breed & Size

By Jesse 12 Min Read

Chewing comes naturally to your furry friends, and pet bones can be the perfect outlet for this instinctual behaviour. Whether you’ve got a teething puppy or an adult dog with a penchant for gnawing, understanding the types of bones available and their benefits is crucial. You’ll discover the ins and outs of safe bone options, how they aid in dental health, and what to avoid to keep your pet out of harm’s way. Stay tuned as we delve into the best bones for your pet’s breed, size, and dietary needs, ensuring they’re happily chomping away without any risks.

Types of Pet Bones

When you’re picking out bones for your dog, it’s crucial to understand the differences between them. Raw bones, both large and small, typically come from beef, bison, or venison. They often have some meat and tendons still attached, offering a tastier chew for your furry friend and a natural way to clean their teeth.

On the other hand, cooked bones, especially those from poultry, can splinter and break easily, posing a significant risk of choking or causing damage to your dog’s digestive tract. Experts universally agree that these should be avoided.

Edible bones are the type that your dog can chew up and eat completely. These bones are usually from birds – think chicken wings or necks – and provide great nutritional value. They’re high in calcium and phosphorus, essential minerals for your dog’s health.

Then there are dental bones, which are manufactured specifically to improve your pet’s oral health. These bones help reduce plaque and tartar build-up. They come in various shapes and sizes to suit different breeds and chewing styles.

Lastly, let’s talk about antlers and horns, which are long-lasting and can be a fantastic choice for aggressive chewers. Unlike cooked bones, they don’t splinter, but they do wear down over time as your dog chews on them.

Remember that size and breed play a part in what type of bone is best for your pet. For instance, large breeds might do well with a beef knuckle bone but could easily choke on a small chicken bone.

Always supervise your dog with a new bone and ensure it’s appropriate for their chewing behavior and size. Consider the nutritional content and what your dog’s diet requires. Stick to recommended products and you’ll have a happy, healthy pup with a set of gleaming teeth.

Benefits of Chewing Bones for Pets

Chewing on bones has several health advantages for pets, and integrating this activity into their routine can contribute significantly to their overall wellbeing.

Dental Health Maintenance

One of the core benefits you’ll notice is the maintenance of dental health. When your dog chews on a bone, the action helps to remove plaque and tartar buildup. It’s akin to giving their teeth a good brush, and this can lead to fresher breath and a reduction in the risk of periodontal disease. Regular chewers often have whiter teeth and healthier gums compared to those who don’t indulge in this natural pastime.

Mental Stimulation

Beyond dental hygiene, bones provide essential mental stimulation. This activity requires focus and problem-solving, which can prevent boredom and alleviate anxiety. Dogs engaged with a challenging bone are less likely to direct their energy towards destructive behaviours.

Nutritional Benefits

Bones are rich in nutrients, especially calcium and phosphorus. As your pet chews, they extract these essential minerals which contribute to strong bone development and overall health. For puppies, in particular, chewing on appropriate bones can aid in puppy teething and support the growth of their permanent teeth.

Joint Health

The connective tissues and cartilage found in some natural bones can be a source of glucosamine and chondroitin, vital for joint health. As a result, regular chewing might provide preventative benefits for conditions such as arthritis, particularly in older dogs.

Weight Management

Chewing can also be a part of a weight management strategy. It is a low-calorie way to keep your pet occupied and satisfied between meals, which can help control their weight and prevent obesity.

To ensure these benefits are fully realised, it’s vital to select the proper bone for your pet’s size and chewing habits. Always monitor their activity with bones, and consult your veterinarian for recommendations tailored to your pet’s specific needs. Remember, not all bones are suitable for every pet, and it’s your responsibility to make an informed choice.

Bone Options for Dental Health

When looking after your pet’s dental health, knowing which bones to choose is pivotal. Specific bones have been shown to be particularly effective in promoting oral hygiene.

Rawhide Chews: These are one of the most popular choices for pet owners. They’re made from the inner layer of cow or horse hides and can reduce plaque and tartar as your pet chews on them. Rawhide also tends to soften as it’s chewed, which decreases the risk of tooth fractures.

Dental Bones and Treats: Many are specially designed to clean teeth and freshen breath. These products often contain enzymes or chemical agents that help break down plaque and tartar. Their unique shapes and textures also add to the cleaning action.

Natural Bones: It’s important to go for raw, uncooked bones as cooked ones can splinter and cause oral injuries. Large knuckle bones are a common recommendation, as they’re harder to break into dangerous shards and offer plenty of surfaces to scrub away at plaque.

For sustained dental health, it’s essential to combine these bone options with regular toothbrushing and veterinary dental check-ups. Remember to supervise your pet during chew time to ensure they’re safe and making the most of their chew toy.

  • Monitor the Bone’s Condition: Replace it when it becomes small enough to swallow or if it breaks into pieces to prevent any choking hazards.
  • Know Your Pet’s Chew Strength: Not all pets chew the same, so tailor the bone type and size to suit your pet’s needs for an effective and safe choice.

By selecting the appropriate chew bone, you’ll be keeping your pet engaged while promoting a cleaner, healthier mouth.

Bone Safety and What to Avoid

While bones can be excellent for maintaining your pet’s dental health, safety is paramount. Not all bones are suitable for pets, and some can be outright dangerous, leading to serious health issues. To ensure your furry friend enjoys their chew without risk, you’ll need to be aware of what to avoid.

Cooked Bones: Never give your pet cooked bones. Cooking alters the structure of the bone, making it more brittle and prone to splintering. These splinters can cause choking, intestinal blockages, or even tear the digestive tract.

Size Matters: Select a bone that is large enough not to be swallowed whole by your pet. A bone that’s too small can be a choking hazard or get lodged in your pet’s intestinal tract. On the flip side, bones that are too large can damage teeth.

High-Fat Bones: Bones from high-fat meats might cause pancreatitis in pets. Opt for leaner options and always remove excess fat before offering a bone to your pet.

Hard Chews: Some synthetic bones and chews are excessively hard, which can lead to broken teeth. Test the bone by trying to indent it with your fingernail; if it’s too hard for a nail, it’s too hard for teeth.

When introducing a new type of bone or chew, supervise your pet’s initial encounters with the bone. Watch how they chew it, ensuring they are not trying to break it into smaller pieces which could be swallowed. Regularly inspect the bone for signs of damage, like deep cracks or reduced size, and replace it as necessary.

By staying informed and cautious with your bone selection, you’ll help keep your pet’s playtime safe and beneficial for their dental health. Always consult with your vet if you’re unsure about the suitability of a bone for your pet—they can provide personalised advice based on your pet’s specific needs and health status.

Choosing Bones for Your Pet’s Breed, Size, and Dietary Needs

When you’re on the hunt for the perfect bone for your furry friend, it’s crucial to take their breed, size, and dietary requirements into account. Here’s a guide to help you make the right choice.

For Small Breeds:

  • Opt for bones that are proportionate to your pet’s size to prevent choking hazards.
  • Smaller breeds might benefit from bones that help maintain dental hygiene without being too hard on their teeth.

For Large Breeds:

  • Look for larger, durable bones that satisfy their urge to chew and can withstand their strength.
  • Be mindful of the bone’s density; it should be tough enough for a good chew but not so hard that it could break teeth.

Considering Dietary Needs:

  • For pets with sensitive stomachs, hypoallergenic or grain-free options are available that cater to their dietary restrictions.
  • If your pet has a history of pancreatitis or obesity, avoid high-fat bones and instead select options that support a healthy diet.

Remember to always supervise your pet with a new bone, no matter their breed or size, to ensure they’re safe while enjoying their treat. Regular inspections of the bone are essential to detect any potential hazards that could harm your pet’s dental or digestive health. Consultation with a vet is recommended to align bone selection with your pet’s specific health profile.


Choosing the right bone for your pet is an essential aspect of their care routine. You’ve learned how to select bones that cater to your furry friend’s size and dietary needs while understanding the importance of supervision and regular inspections. Remember, your vet’s guidance is invaluable, ensuring the choices you make benefit your pet’s health and wellbeing. By following these pointers, you’ll provide not just enjoyment but also safety for your beloved companion during their chew time.

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