Raw Bones for Dogs: Essential Benefits & Safety Tips

By Jesse 12 Min Read

Ever wondered if those raw bones you see at the pet store are actually good for your dog? Well, you’re not alone. Chewing is a natural behaviour for dogs, and raw bones can be a great way to satisfy that instinct while also providing some health benefits. In this article, we’ll delve into the pros and cons of giving your furry friend raw bones, what types are safe, and how they can contribute to your dog’s dental health and overall well-being. Get ready to discover if raw bones should be a part of your dog’s diet.

Pros of Giving Raw Bones to Dogs

When you treat your canine friend to raw bones, you’re not just giving them a snack, you’re providing a multitude of benefits that enhance their quality of life. Here’s a breakdown of the advantages that raw bones can offer your dog.

Dental Health
One of the most significant benefits of raw bones is the improvement in dental hygiene. When your dog chews on raw bones,

  • Plaque buildup is reduced
  • Tartar is less likely to form
  • Gums become stronger and healthier
  • Breath becomes fresher

These effects are due to the mechanical action of chewing, which helps clean the teeth naturally.

Nutritional Value
Raw bones are rich in nutrients that are essential for your dog’s health. They provide:

  • Calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth
  • Bone marrow, which is rich in fat and vitamin A for energy and overall health

Mental Stimulation
Chewing on bones is more than just a physical activity; it also provides mental stimulation for your dog. By focusing on the task at hand, your dog’s mind is actively engaged, helping to alleviate boredom and reduce stress.

Joint Health
The connective tissue and cartilage found in some raw bones can be a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin, which are key components in maintaining joint health and mobility.

Each of these points underscores the significant impact raw bones can have on your dog’s well-being. Consider the type and size of bones you provide to ensure they are appropriate for your dog’s breed and size, and always supervise their bone-chewing sessions to ensure safe enjoyment.

Cons of Giving Raw Bones to Dogs

While there are numerous benefits to giving your dog raw bones, there are also some risks that you need to be aware of to ensure your pet’s safety.

Choking Hazard: Raw bones can pose a choking hazard, especially for smaller dogs or those who tend to gulp their food. Pieces of bone can become lodged in the throat, which can be life-threatening.

Fractured Teeth: Dogs often exert significant force while chewing bones, which can lead to fractured teeth. This can be both painful for your pet and costly to treat.

Digestive Complications: Not all bones are digestible, and hard bones may splinter and cause blockages or perforations in the digestive tract.

Bacterial Contamination: Raw bones may contain harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli. If not handled properly, these bacteria can make both your pet and you ill.

To mitigate these risks:

  • Always select the proper bone size and type for your dog.
  • Avoid cooked bones as they are more likely to splinter.
  • Supervise your dog closely while they chew on bones.
  • Keep a watchful eye on your pet for any signs of discomfort or distress after consuming a raw bone.

By taking these precautions, you’ll help to maximise the benefits of raw bones while minimising potential harm.

Types of Raw Bones That Are Safe for Dogs

When you’re considering raw bones for your dog’s diet, knowing which types are safe is crucial. Safety depends on both the type of bone and the size of your dog. The following bone types are typically considered safe options:

  • Beef Knuckles: From larger beef joints, these are substantial and less prone to splintering. They can offer hours of chewing for larger breeds.
  • Chicken Necks: These are softer and smaller, ideal for smaller dogs or as a quick treat for larger breeds. Always supervise to prevent choking.
  • Lamb Bones: Medium-sized bones from lamb are more dense and provide extended chewing for medium to large dogs.
  • Raw Meaty Bones (RMBs): These include bones with an amount of meat still attached — like rib bones — offering both nutritional benefits and chewing satisfaction.

When selecting bones, it’s important to:

  • Choose bones relative to your dog’s size to reduce the risk of choking.
  • Opt for bones from reputable sources to minimise bacterial contamination.
  • Avoid cooked bones entirely as cooking makes bones more prone to splintering.

By integrating these raw bone options into your dog’s diet cautiously, you’re furthering their oral health and overall wellbeing while providing a natural outlet for their instinctual urge to chew.

The Role of Raw Bones in Dental Health

Raw bones play a pivotal role in maintaining your dog’s dental health. When your furry friend gnaws on a raw bone, they’re not just enjoying a treat; they’re also engaging in a natural teeth-cleaning exercise.

Mechanical Cleaning Action

As dogs chew on raw bones, the mechanical action works much like a toothbrush. It helps to scrape away plaque and tartar build-up that can lead to dental issues such as gingivitis or periodontal disease. This process is vital for oral hygiene and can significantly reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Natural Enzymes and Nutrients

Natural enzymes found in raw bones also contribute to oral health. These enzymes aid in breaking down bacteria in the mouth, which can otherwise cause bad breath and tooth decay. Furthermore, bones contain essential nutrients like calcium and phosphorus that are crucial for strong teeth and gums.

Real-Life Evidence

  • Studies show that dogs that regularly chew raw bones have fewer incidences of dental problems compared to those that don’t.
  • Veterinarians often see a noticeable difference in the oral health of dogs that are given raw bones as part of their diet.

Choosing the Right Bones

When you’re selecting raw bones for dental health, consider the following:

  • Size: Make sure the bone is large enough not to pose a choking hazard.
  • Source: Always choose bones from a reputable source to ensure they are free from harmful pathogens.
  • Supervision: Always supervise your dog to prevent any risks associated with chewing bones.

By incorporating raw bones into your dog’s diet, you’re providing them with a fun and natural way to keep their teeth clean and healthy. Remember to monitor your dog during bone-chewing sessions to ensure they’re safe and enjoying the process.

How Raw Bones Contribute to a Dog’s Overall Well-Being

When introducing raw bones into your pet’s diet, you’re not just providing a tasty treat—you’re actively contributing to their overall well-being. Beyond dental health, these bones have a multitude of benefits that position them as a crucial component of a holistic pet-care regime.

Raw bones are a source of nutrients vital for your dog’s health. Their rich marrow and mineral contents, including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, play an essential role in improving your dog’s bone and joint health. Feeding your dog raw bones regularly can help maintain stronger joints and support their skeletal system, especially beneficial for large breeds prone to hip dysplasia.

Moreover, raw bones can be a part of a balanced diet as they provide not only these essential minerals but also invaluable fatty acids and proteins. Dogs, being carnivores, require a diet that’s rich in quality animal protein to thrive, and raw bones offer just that, fostering optimal muscle development and maintenance.

Chewing on raw bones has a calming effect on dogs. Similar to how humans might use meditation or stress relief activities to unwind, the act of gnawing can reduce anxiety and boredom in dogs, promoting a sense of calmness.

Added Benefits of Raw Bones for Dogs
Nutritional Content High in essential minerals, proteins, fatty acids
Joint and Bone Health Supports strong bones and joint maintenance
Mental Well-being Reduces anxiety, aids in alleviating boredom

It’s essential, however, to supervise your dog while they’re enjoying raw bones to ensure they’re not ingesting large pieces that could lead to choking or blockages. Always select appropriate-sized bones for your dog to avoid these risks. The act of supervision also reinforces the bond between you and your pet, creating shared experiences that are an intangible yet invaluable aspect of their well-being.

Remember to consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet. They can provide tailored advice to suit your dog’s specific dietary needs and health conditions, ensuring that your furry companion reaps the full benefits of raw bones for a healthier and happier life.


Raw bones offer a wealth of benefits for your dog, from strengthening their bones and joints to aiding in muscle maintenance. They’re not just a treat; they’re a supplement that can enhance your pet’s overall health and wellbeing. Remember, though, always to keep an eye on your furry friend as they enjoy their bone to ensure their safety. If you’re considering adding raw bones to your dog’s diet, it’s wise to first seek advice from your vet. They can guide you on the best choices for your dog’s size, breed, and dietary needs. By doing so, you’ll be providing your dog with not just a delightful snack but also a means to a healthier, happier life.

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