Can you feed your dog bones?

Can you feed your dog bones? Yes, of course you can!

Should you feed your dog bones? No, I really don’t recommend it as a good idea. 

Yup, it’s a very controversial topic. If you do enough googling you will find plenty of sources encouraging you to feed bones, even veterinarians. So why is this one telling you categorically ‘no’? 

First, I’d like to ask you why it is you that you want to feed bones?

They keep my dog’s teeth clean.

Yes! Yes, they most certainly do. I am super passionate about your pet’s oral health and will jump at anything to keep those teeth clean and healthy. Bones have been proven to reduce dental calculus, that’s for sure. 


Bones are hard, and so are teeth. But it’s only the outer 3mm of teeth that are coated in hard enamel, underneath this – they are softer than bone. That’s why when eating bones they can (and do) snap. Usually, it’s the big back slicing teeth that cop it. When they crack, you’re looking at three options; a filling, a root canal or an extraction. 

There are so many products certified by the Veterinary Oral Health Council – there’s no need to take on the risk of bones for the sake of oral health. 

“It keeps my dog busy.”

And fair enough as well – if you’ve got a dog that’s a big chewer, like mine – it’s hard to find toys that will last and keep them entertained. All I can say is “let’s find other ways to keep your little guy entertained” – mental stimulation and enrichment, food puzzles, sandpits, the list goes on. Otherwise, they may find themselves being entertained by me. In the hospital ward. 

My dog enjoys them.”

My dog enjoys chicken nuggets, I hate to admit it. But I can’t let her puppy eyes get to me and hand over my 10-pack. They will make her sick. Time and time again, day after day, we’re reminded that bones cause all sorts of serious health problems;

Some of the more common reasons a bone will land your dog in the hospital;

Stuck in the throat

Stuck in the gut Stuck in the mouth
Punctured through the gut                          Diarrhoea Bloody Diarrhoea
Pancreatitis Constipation Vomiting
Food poisoning Transmission of food poisoning to you                            


It’s heartbreaking for me to say that this isn’t a fantasy scare-tactic list. This year alone, I have seen all of the above cases from bones. I’m devastated to say that again, this year alone, I have seen pets lose their lives to these complications. 

Why risk it?

You can certainly feed bones that are ‘less’ risky. That’s another topic, for another day. But for me, when there are so many more guaranteed safer alternatives, why take the risk?

Dr. Vicky Wade