Raw Meaty Bones: Soup To A Dogs Soul!
Eating raw bones is as completely natural as eating fresh meat for dogs and cats. Dogs and cats where designed to and have eaten bones since their creation, so what gives with the new theory, bones are bad. Kinda simple the marketing arm of treats and pet food, gives… or more accurately taketh away. They spend lots of money to try and and reverse what nature intended. Bones & meat come hand in hand, in the wild. Feeding bones to dogs is as old as the domesticated dog, and is still done daily by knowledgeable dog breeders and pet owners. Since the advent of “fast food” big commercial pet foods, there has been a noticeable decline in the practice of feeding bones to dogs by many pet owners, particularly raw bones.Adequate calcium is vital for normal growth and development, for correct mineralization (strength) of the teeth and bones, and structure of joints. It is vital for muscular contraction in the body, including the heart muscle, and is involved in a wide array of metabolic processes.. The calcium in raw bones can be up to 4 times more digestible than most common calcium supplements available. Bones also supply smaller amounts of cartilage (natural glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate to prevent arthritis), bone marrow, and other minerals, like boron, which are vital for bone health. Raw bones also play an integral role in dental hygiene for dogs and cats.
The process of macerating the meat and bones actually massages the animal’s teeth and gums, cleaning away any food residues or tartar development. This prevents plaque formation, bad breath, dental cavities, gingivitis, and expensive veterinary teeth scaling and extractions. A good supply of calcium and other nutrients during the early growth stages of puppies and kittens will also help to ensure strong healthy teeth. Finally, a good bone feed actually has a beneficial effect on the dog or cat’s digestive tract. It has a cleansing / scouring effect, providing much needed roughage in the diet, and provides bulk for healthy fecal motions that stimulate anal gland emptying, another business or service created from not feeding our dogs properly..
Almost all benefits of eating bones are greatly reduced by cooking, and it can actually create dangers. Cooking bones renders the natural calcium almost unavailable for absorption, losing that vital source of mineral availability. Cooked bones changes the structure of the bone they are much tougher, and more brittle than raw bones, and can actually blunt (or even break) an animals teeth after regular chewing. Cooked bones can also break into large chunks more easily, and can result in your pet swallowing a piece too large to digest, and resulting in a visit for some veterinary attention. Cooked bones are very slow to breakdown in the animals gut, and can cause gut pain (colic), scarring of the gut lining and bleeding, and can lead to constipation.
Adult dogs and cats can still happily eat a bone or more every day, but can get by with bones at least twice weekly. Older pets should get more bones, as they start to need more calcium in old age to maintain good health and prevent arthritis..
The basic guide for bones is really decided by the size of the dog. Large dogs can handle larger bones, like lamb necks, lamb shanks, beef leg bones, whole rabbit, whole chickens or chicken carcasses. Smaller dogs will fare better with chicken frames, chicken necks or wings, lamb flaps, brisket bones, ribs etc. My dogs favorite are chicken back, beef rib and a big fat elk leg Remember that there are two distinct types of bones; those that are eaten easily and quite quickly, are nutritional, and provide all of the above listed benefits. Bones that are too large or tough, and end up scattered over the back yard, or buried in the lawn, and dug up or chewed on over many days, are more of a “toy”. They offer some dental hygiene effects, but minimal nutritional effect.They do however, keep many a dog happy for several hours a day. Puppies and kittens should have a bone offering every day during their growth phase. For cats and small breed dogs, this ends around 6-12 months of age, for medium sized dogs at 12-18 months, and for large and giant breeds, at 2 years old. Puppies and kittens can tackle soft macerated meat and bone pieces as soon as they develop their milk teeth, at around 4-5 weeks old.