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Never Give a Dog a Bone

Warning! Don’t ever give a dog an animal bone or you risk injury or death!
Never Give a Dog a Bone Article by Open CollegeAll vets will warn you of the dangers of giving a dog a bone.

As a dog owner you may feel inclined to do the one thing your dog will love and that is give them a bone to chew on. Out of love and kindness you may be doing more harm than good and not realise it.

By giving your dog a bone you run the risk of them choking, causing internal damage and death.

There are a lot of dog owners who give their dog a bone on a regular basis without there ever being a problem, additionally there are also a lot of authors of books who recommend raw food diets which includes raw uncooked chicken bones.

And yes there will be dog owners who will say they have given their dog raw and cooked bones for their dog’s entire life without there ever being a problem.

The law of average suggests that there are going to be dogs that will never have a problem with the chewing of a bone but which ones will and which ones will not?

It is too risky to chance it. If you give a dog a bone they will naturally chew down on it hard and try to break and crush it. There may be several reasons as to why any dog wishes to crush a bone. Logically speaking it could be argued that the dog is trying to satisfy their hunger or find some sort of satisfaction on the pressing down on their, teeth especially when dogs are teething.

It appears that one of the main reasons dogs will try to break the bone open is to release the aroma and flavour from within that bone. Understandably dogs have a heightened sense of smell and taste and for every fragment of bone that they break off there will be a release of aroma and taste which stimulates their senses further. So whatever the reason for wishing to break and crush a bone open, these fragments and pieces can cause injury and death if they are swallowed.

There are some dogs who will never swallow those pieces of bone that they break off and there are some that will chew away on pieces for long periods of time only and then there will be other dogs that will try to swallow large pieces of broken bone to devour it and it’s flavour. It is this category of dog behaviour that runs the risk of harm or death.

It does not matter if it is a cooked or raw bone (cooked is worse as it will become brittle) or whether it is a large strong cow bone from the butchers, if your dog breaks a piece off which they will, it can get stuck in their oesophagus or stomach and especially the intestinal tract or gut.

If a bone fragment becomes lodged in the oesophagus and tears the lining of the oesophagus wall it will result in death as the lining of this wall, once torn cannot be repaired, it cannot be stitched up by a vet and can result in an slow painful death over a period of two or three days because the poisons and bacteria will enter into their blood stream and even into the area of the lungs as the oesophagus runs alongside.

Secondly if the fragment of bone that is broken off and swallowed is sharp, splintered it may make its way into the stomach and then down through the intestinal tract and then it can become stuck which again would result in operations to remove this or even death.

This is exactly what has happened to my dog. He was given a bone which was bought from the Asda Supermarket. The bone that was purchased was called a ‘Safe Dog Bone’, that is actually the registered trademark name and the intellectual property rights of the type of bone brand sold. This bone broke off a piece and got lodged in my dogs oesophagus.

This resulted in £1,400 worth of vet bills.

This fragment/nugget of bone was lodged deep in the oesophagus a few inches away from the entrance to the stomach and the vet decided after consultation and agreement that she would have to use a specifically designed wooden rod to push the fragment of bone down into the dog’s stomach with the intention of leaving it in his stomach for the acid to erode it and cause it to disintegrate or to become small enough for it to find its way through the intestinal tract and out of the dog the natural way.

Prior to the operation the vet advised that it was very risky and that this procedure could result in the tearing of the oesophagus walls even further. At this stage the walls were already torn up and were very bloody. She also suggested as an alternative that the dog could be taken to a main UK state-of-the-art operating theatre and that just putting any dog on the table for the x-ray prior to the laser treatment to burn away the bone fragment would cost £3,000 just at that stage.

After weighing up the options we decided that the vet would proceed by pushing the bone fragment down into the stomach as it could not be gripped and pulled back out. It was tightly lodged. She had expressed concerns that by doing this it could tear the oesophagus wall even further and it would result in death as once torn it could not repaired.

We agreed and it was a success. The feedback the vet gave was that she had to use all her strength to push this rod down the anaesthetised dog’s throat to force this bone fragment into it’s stomach whilst two of her colleagues held the dog in place.

The bottom line is the poor dog took hell of a hammering to its neck muscles, throat oesophagus and stomach.

After three days the dog was returned from its drugged up state, very sore and we had to inject/squirt a two fold gut protector and coating which is a gel base that coats the lining of the wall for two weeks after, along with other medications and ongoing treatment for the following few weeks.

The whole bill amounted to £1,400. Just the initial removing of the bone fragment into the stomach alone cost £983 along with its accompanying treatment and medicine at that time.

Once the dog was brought back home we were informed he was not out of the woods yet because of all the pulling and pressing on the oesophagus walls, something called fracture can take place which is the tightening of the skin fibres in the narrowing of the oesophagus as an overcompensation in its healing process for what it would perceive as an attack on itself which could result in the considerable narrowing of the passageway and we were informed that it can result in the complete closure in some instances leading to choking and then suffocation.

We were told this can be a very distressing experience and very little can be done when it starts to happen and that some dog owners have actually had to witness this event of self choking. Thankfully this never happened and that the dog has made a full recovery, however we were also told at the time that it is possible that the oesophagus size can also reduce and that he may have to go on a mashed up food diet for the rest of his life but everything turned out all right in the end.

Authors of many books who swear by the natural raw food diet which includes the eating or raw bones is wonderful in itself but to recommend giving bones of any kind to dogs is dangerous because some dogs will swallow those broken fragments small or large and injure themselves or die.

The question is which dogs will and which dogs won’t? Therefore giving any dog a bone is risky.

Never give a dog a bone. It is a gamble.

If anyone who wants to challenge or disagree with this advice then please consult with any veterinary surgeon with time served experience first and ask if they would give a dog a bone?

Literally every vet will say no because every time served experienced vet has had to carry out operations down the oesophagus, opening up stomachs and intestinal tracts to remove fragments of bone becasue dogs are on a mission to chew, crush and break them open.

I was personally told by a vet that in her career and amongst several colleagues they had removed over 100 fragments of bone from the internal passageways of dogs. This is just one reason you should never give a dog a bone. I’m not even talking about the expense involved or the higher premium on your insurance. I’m actually talking about the distress and pain not only for what the dog has to go through but the family members especially the children.

Bones called ‘Safe Dog Bone’ and sold at Asda Supermarkets for one pound are dangerous.

This was written because of this event and because there are people who say it is OK to give a dog a bone and that they have been doing it for years without any problems.

If you wish to disagree with this advice (and there are some) and you think you have a valid point to raise, your comment and response will be added to this page. Please email it to the address below.

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