Dog bones provide hours of fun, excitement and mental stimulation. The taste delicious and help to build strong neck and jaw muscles. They’re also great for teeth – bones are an effective tool for preventing gum disease and other oral health issues.

But what bones are best? Here are some tips around safe feeding of bones for your furry friend.

Dog bones – a taste of the wild

Dogs are meat eaters. In the wild, they live off a whole prey diet of raw meat, including bones and organs. Although your canine companion doesn’t have to hunt for food like their ancestors did, they still have teeth that are designed for slicing, tearing and crunching – which is why munching on raw bones comes naturally to them.

Not only do they LOVE the taste (bone marrow is rich in flavorful fat), but all that gnawing provides fantastic mental stimulation as your dog tries to figure out how to rip every last trace of meat from the bone.

Chewing is also a great workout for their jaw muscles, and stimulates the release of endorphins (happy hormones!), so it’s no wonder your dog goes crazy with excitement every time you offer them a bone.

Dog bones clean teeth and freshen breath – naturally

Bones are dubbed ‘nature’s toothbrush’ for a reason: they’re the most effective and natural way to keep your dog’s oral health in strong condition. The biting and crunching of bone and cartilage scrapes off plaque and tartar build-up on your dog’s teeth, while cleaning and massaging gums (and freshening breath!) in the process.
While bones are great for everyday maintenance, it’s also important to visit your vet for regular checkups. Like a professional teeth cleaning you have at the dentist, your vet may suggest a yearly cleaning of your dog’s teeth, to remove any tartar buildup and leave their chompers as good as new.

What bones are best?

There are lots of options out there and it’s important to choose wisely – the right bone can keep your dog happy and content for hours, while the wrong bone can do serious damage.

Raw bones are generally safe to chew on, as long as you choose the right size for your dog and supervise them at all times. Choose a raw bone with lots of meaty parts, cartilage and soft tissue still attached, which will essentially give your dog’s teeth a good ‘brush and floss.’

Cooked bones – the ones you might throw away after eating a roast chicken – are ones to avoid! Cooked bones have a tendency to splinter (because the cooking process makes them brittle), which can hurt your dog’s mouth and cause digestive issues.

Air-dried bones are increasingly popular because they offer all the taste, nutrition and cleaning power of raw bones, but with the added convenience of being able to take them with you anywhere. Because they’re processed at a very low temperature, they are less likely to splinter and also less likely to harbor harmful bacteria.

Why not try the ZIWI® Peak air-dried Venison Shank Bone which is full of nutrients and marrow and wrapped in beef esophagus, which dogs love! It comes in half or full-size options, so you can be sure you’re giving your pet the right-sized bone. The Venison Shank Bone is softer than many other bones and also contains cartilage, which helps to clean your dog’s teeth while offering hours of gnawing pleasure.

Tips for feeding your dog bones

The golden rule when feeding your dog a bone is to supervise them at all times. Here are some other tips to remember:

● Every dog is different, so consider their age, size and chewing behavior before giving them a bone.
● Small bones aren’t ideal for aggressive chewers as they could be swallowed whole or cause choking. If your dog is an aggressive chewer, try the full-size Venison Shank Bone – its long size and dense bone structure will keep your dog safe and happy.
● Avoid giving your dog a bone when they’re really hungry, as they will be more likely to swallow large pieces which can lead to digestive issues.

ZIWI’s range of chews (which are slowly air-dried to maintain nutrients) are a safe and gentle option to keep your dog occupied – pick one up for your dog today, they’ll love you for it!

Discover more at ziwipets.co.uk.