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Dog Bone – Healthy Dog Treats

Domestic dogs are carnivores.  In the wild they would hunt prey, eat prey, including bones. Bones would provide the calcium and phosphorus to maintain their own bones. It would provide fat from marrow for energy and nutrition, and the inner bone matter provide ruffage for solid stools and intestinal health.

“Today’s canine house pets share almost exactly the same genetic determiners of anatomy and behaviour as their long-distant predecessors.  (petmd).

I will go into the specific nutrition break down below AFTER discussing which bones are most suitable to which specific dogs.

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DOG TREAT BONES provide these main functions:

  • Preoccupying organic treat (not rubber or something they can digest
  • Nutrition (for small dogs the meat bits they can chew off the ends or shaft .
  • Primal satisfaction. Evolution has the bone at the centre of long term chewing.
  • Teeth cleaning, gum use and jaw strengthening

DOG BONE DOG TREAT Suitability (dog size and age).

Small dogs, old dogs, dogs with soft jaws

These dogs are either going to need a soft bone, small bone, or a bone with a LOT of meat on it – if you want bone meat to be a healthy part of your dogs nutrition.

MEATY DOG BONE TREATS

These will provide more of a snack or meal than preoccupying a dog for a long time (assuming that they get board with what is left over (the bone) after they have eaten the meat off the bone.

A lot of this category are kangaroo bone pieces.  This is good because the meat is organic and a clean (novel) protein that is typically lower in fat than regular farmed land mammals.  In this category we typically have things like

Roo lumbar bone or roo tail pieces. 

These are a great healthy alternative to thigs like lamb necks.  The reason why many vets appreciate roo lumbar bones or roo tail pieces is that these have a honeycomb bone structure that provide great teeth leaning as your dog attempts to scrap the meat off the bones.  The gbones are also typically strong enough to not randomly break off, and if they beak they are typically soft enough not to cause injury.

Because there is plenty of meat on these bones, most small dogs should gain easy access to the meat here.

Kangaroo Ribs

These are typically like a shallow dish in shape.  They vary in size from 20cm diameter to 10 cm or smaller. These are closer to a 2D kind of treat and typically the spacing of the ribs means that the meat between the ribs is about the same distance across at the width of the rib bone.

Even the smallest of dogs should be able to get some purchase on the meat between the ribs, but if they cant, you can always use secateurs to divide the rib into sections long ways.

Kangaroo tail tips

Another great addition to our store has been the kangaroo tail tips that are a great healthy substitute to the more expensive and often not manageable beef bully sticks.

The roo tail pieces are the bigger chunks of vertebrae near the kangaroo body.  The roo tail tip though is at the other end of the tail.  This means that its small enough diameter for any dog to start chewing on (from either end of the tip) and has the perfect combination of skin, meat and bone, all are typically small enough for most dogs the chew on and digest – and hard enough for most small to medium sized dogs to get plenty of primal enjoyment out of getting food from.

Noting that the meat from the tail is much more attached than on the roo lumbar or roo ribs bones. So if you have a very small dog and want them to actually peel some meat off the treat then the lumbar or roo ribs might be a better option for them.

LEG BONE DOG TREATS

Because the leg bone supports the main animal weight, these load bearing structures tend to be physically harder and bigger than other dog treat bone options.

They also tend to have LESS meat on them than many of the smaller kangaroo bone options, but because many dogs cant access them, they can pre-occupy some dogs for a lot longer.  Dogs are driven by smell, so as long as these bones keep their smell (and are not buried) they can continue to fascinate dogs for quite a while.

Smaller leg bone dog treats

The smaller of the animal bones are also typically the softer of the leg bones we sell.  The main ones are Lamb bones and pork bones. Both of these have a little meat on them, but it’s the end of the bone, the soft cartilage that tends to have most dogs start their nibble on.

Most small non strong jaw dogs (ie not staffies) are very unlikely to do much more than get the meat off these bones and maybe chew the ends off. But at least they are the softer smaller bones that give them a chance at a good long chew.

Medium leg bones (tough small dogs, medium strong jaw dogs, big dogs)

This category includes the fairly BIG beef shank bone. This bone is big in both volume (elliptical) and weight – often over 600g.  Cost per gram of the shank bone is often very economical, and the bone to a decent mid sized dog that likes to chew is often soft enough for them to get trhough the bone and get some marrow.

Once a dog breaks through a dried bone though, you have to be aware of what its chewing habits are like. If they don’t have a lot of care in how they chew and are very strong jawed, you will probably want to supervise them so you know that they are going to chew bone down before it can present a health issue to them.  We always recommend supervising dogs with bones – at least until you are confident about how they tend to eat these kinds of things.

Kangaroo clod bone dog treat

This gets its own special place because being a fast moving wild animal these leg bones tend to be the HARDEST bone we sell.  They might only be slightly largest than some lamb bones, but considerable stronger jaw pressure is required to crush these down.

That is why some people with really strong jawed dogs favour these bones, because they feel that these bones will last a lot longer with these dogs, or that they won’t crack them open and eat too much of the very filling marrow.

Beef leg bone

While the shank bone is large (often near 600g or larger) beef leg bones are typically regular bone shaped (knobs at one or both end) and a long hard shaft.  These bones are often listed as massive bones as even to the biggest dogs out their (without super powerful jaws) these bones will provide the biggest chew challenge for them.

We have a client with a vizsla that also buys these bones for their dog, as they know it will preoccupy them all day, the bone will continue to small like a bone for a long time, and they aren’t concerned their dogs will break it open and potentially cause harm to themselves by not chewing it enough.

Note rottweilers, pit bulls and many large or guard breed dogs will still have the capacity to eventually (sooner or later) dispose of these big bone.

CROCODILE DOG TREAT BONES

With so many bones in our shop already, you might wonder why we bother with crocodile bones at all. There are several great reasons for this

  • You cant get much more primal than the crocodile
  • Owners really want to great their dog with something special
  • Hypoallergenic (a meat that most dogs would not have had before)
  • Complete diet (some options have skin, meat and bone)

The cool fact with crocodile bones are that like our other bones they are 100% Australian and most of the croc products include some part of the animal bone, making them more of a WHOLE TREAT.

Croc Leg bone dog treat

This of course is the most obvious croc bone that comes to mind for most people. It is THE smallest leg bone we stock but substantially larger than chicken wings (the dried chicken version can present a chocking hazard for small dogs).

The other great point for this small bone is that you get many more for any given sized pack than regular farmed animal bones – and these bones also typically have MORE meat on them than any other leg bone.

Croc feet and Croc Ridge dog treat bones

These are quire popular with many of our more refined clients.  They are small in size and have the prefect whole treat nexus of skin, meat and bone.  The bones are also small enough for many dogs to eat (either whole or crunching down) and are dried well meaning not too wet to go off or too dry to be super sharp … so they are often good for any dog to enjoy.

As we bring more bones onto our store please just check the images in this category page to read more about the specific bone !

BONE NUTRTION

“Modern man has modified a number of characteristics of the canine. But there’s one thing man has not altered: the basic nutrient requirements of the dog. Dogs need today essentially the same nutrients that their predecessors required eons ago. That is precisely why there has been so much notice given to the practice of feeding dogs (and cats, too!) raw meat and other unprocessed foods.

There is ample proof that today’s pet dogs (and cats) DO NOT thrive on cheap, packaged, corn-based pet foods. Dogs and cats are primarily meat eaters; to fill them up with grain-based processed dry foods that barely meet minimum daily nutrient requirements has proven to be a mistake. And the fact that some pet foods have artificial colours and flavours added simply reveals the trickery needed to coax dogs and cats into consuming such material.” (petmd)

The article that the above extract comes from also says that while there is the primal and NUTRITION requirement to Feed bones to dogs, the question for safety (from pathogens) from feeding whole Raw bones … is still to be settled.

That said, I have fed my spoodle Archie raw chicken necks for 13 years without incident. Proper handling and refrigeration of the chicken necks as we would human raw meat is essential.

That said, their article goes on to say a compromise might be to feed a dog “finely grown raw bone”   and while that circumvents any potential choking hazard, it doesn’t address any possible pathogen issue.  That said, they also suggest “hard rawhide bone” which MOST sites, including ours suggest that large two dollar shop versions often have hazardous chemicals included and the glues etc used in these are far more hazardous than any bone type.

The reason that animal bones are then perfect source of nutrition for dogs is that being carnivore the formulation of the calcium and phosphorus are the BEST and EASIEST for dogs to digest.  Affco also suggest a 1:1 rato of these elements that BONES DO PEFECTLY and NATURALLY.

The article contents that marrow is very good for dogs, and that the cartilage or connecting tissue provides very little in the way of nutrition, but they really want us to know the NUTRTION value of the BONE substance itself:

“From Miller’s Anatomy Of The Dog, 2nd Edition, W. B. Saunders Co., page 112: “Bone is about one third organic and two thirds inorganic material. The inorganic matrix of bone has a microcrystalline structure composed principally of calcium phosphate.”“

“Also the ideal amount of calcium in the food is 1.0 to 1.8 percent of the dry weight of that food. Low quality dog foods often contain 2 and even 3 percent of the dry weight as calcium. This is due to the large amount of ground bone in the meat, poultry or fish meal. Diets with high amounts of “meat and bone meal” may surpass the optimal percentage of calcium.”

They suggest that one bone is similar to another bones composition, hence they look at what’s inside of a Human bone:

The Composition of Bone (Human)

INORGANIC CONSTITUENTS ORGANIC CONSTITUENTS
(Technically this means substances that have no Carbon atom present.)

    65 to 70 percent of the bone is composed of inorganic substances.   Almost all of this inorganic substance is a compound called hydroxyapatite. [Think of this substance as little mineral crystals.]  The chemical composition of hydroxyapatite is (10 Calcium atoms, 6 Phosphorus atoms,  26 Oxygen atoms, and 2 Hydrogen atoms). 

Therefore, 65 to 70 percent of bone is a mineral compound called hydroxyapatite that is composed of nothing more than Calcium, Phosphorus, Oxygen and Hydrogen.  There are no Vitamins, Fatty Acids, enzymes, proteins or carbohydrates in this, the largest component of raw bone. 

It is a nice source of Calcium and Phosphorus, though.

(Tecnically this means substances that do have Carbon atoms present.)
    30 to 35% of bone is composed of organic material (on a dry weight basis).  Of this amount nearly 95 % is a substance called collagen. Collagen is a fibrous protein.  It is poorly digested by the dog and cat.  The other one-twentieth of the 30% organic substances are Chondroitin Sulfate, Keratin sulfate, and Phospholipids.    Therefore, 30 to 35% of bone is collagen with a tiny fraction of other compounds.

CONCLUSION

Your dog probably gets most of its calcium and phosphorous requirement in its commercial dog food. If you are a raw feeder, you might already give your dog raw bones (for fast digestion – you want to make sure they eat the whole allotment each day.

If you are concerned about pathogens, do not feed your dog raw bones.

If you want your dog to get good meat nutrition, feed them meaty dried bones (plenty of examples given above.

If you want your dog primarily preoccupied when you go out, give them the biggest dried bone that they cant easily break down when you go away.

If you trust your dog to chew well (if it can break off end pieces of bones), then medium sized soft bones are good options.

If you want to treat your dog to something super special, try our crocodile dog treats –

ALWAYS supervise your dogs eating bones, at least for the first few times.

If your dog eats a plain dried bone (with little meat on it), they will still get the benefit of the super nutritious dense marrow, very dog appropriate calcium and phosphorous (in the exact right ratio) and “poorly digested collagen”  that will still provide a great source of inorganic fibre to solidity their stools helping maintain intestinal health.

There are far more benefits to dried dog bone treats, than JUST the nutrition of the bone itself !

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