You’ve probably given your dog smoked or steamed bones to chew on. They’re a great choice for avid chewers – they don’t break easily and they keep the dog busy.
But have you ever given your dog a raw bone? With the meat on, uncooked, and frozen?
Raw bones are actually beneficial to your dog’s health in a number of ways, and the perfect summer treat!
To start off with, when a bone is cooked, it changes the chemical composition of the bone. The bone is now more brittle than it was in its unaltered form. When the bone is more brittle, it is more susceptible to splinter, or break off into small shards. This can pose a health hazard to very tough chewers. Just because the bone is broken doesn’t mean the dog is going to stop chewing it – In fact, they are now going to try to swallow those big pieces whole.
With thick bones such as a knuckle bone or a marrow bone, for the most part it is safe to feed these smoked or steamed. With virtually no thin parts of the bone, it is unlikely that they will get these shards off. But there are always those dogs that will defy that rule, and if your dog is one of those dogs, you do have to be on constant lookout for pieces.
Raw bones, however, can withstand a higher force than those cooked bones. They’re hard in such a manner that the only way to eat them is for a dog to slowly whittle it down with their teeth (Imagine scraping a bone on pavement). Raw bones will therefore last longer and pose little to no concern for your pet’s safety.
Raw bones are also the best option for cleaning teeth. Sounds kinda funny right? I mean everyone says that dogs need to crunch on kibble to clean their teeth.
Frankly, to whomever came up with that theory, that makes about as much sense as crunching on crackers and chips for your own oral health. The exact opposite is true – Kibble food can actually help build up bacteria in the mouth. It’s all about the ingredients. In order for kibble food to be dry and have a long shelf life, there needs to be some sort of binder in the food – typically the binder is potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas. In non-grain-free foods you’ll also see a high amount of rice, oats, barley, and even in some lower quality foods corn, wheat and soy. Those are carbohydrates and starches. When those two groups hit the saliva in the mouth, they create an alkaline pH – a pH that is higher than 7. That is the ideal environment for bacteria to grow and breed. The debris from the kibble sits on the gumline, collecting bacteria and contributing to the formation of tartar and plaque.
On the flipside, when meat hits the saliva, it creates an acidic pH in the mouth – the ideal environment to KILL bacteria. Think about it – when you need to kill bacteria, what’s the number one thing you turn to – bleach, a cleaner that is also acidic. Now, raw meat is nowhere NEAR as acidic as bleach, but they share that same germ killing property. It has been tested over and over again that pets who regularly consume or chew on raw meat & bones continually have better oral hygiene – little to no buildup, and those teeth will stay strong into old age.
Now, raw bones CAN be messy. We do recommend giving them to your pet on a HARD FLOOR or OUTSIDE. But because they are frozen, that makes them the perfect summer treat – a dog popsicle that is built to their tastes. Your pets will thank you. Yes, cats too!