The raw diet has two types of bones; raw meaty bones and recreational bones. Raw meaty bones are meals and are crunched up and swallowed. Think of turkey necks, chicken carcasses, lamb ribs, pork breast bones and such. They are softer than recreational bones and are easy to digest for a healthy raw fed dog.
A recreational bone is usually from a weight bearing bone, like a beef leg. They are very hard and serve more to entertain and do a bit of dental cleaning than to be a meal. Recreational bones are not recommended by everybody and can be a problem for some dogs.
Things to be aware of: A recreational bone needs to be large. There should be no temptation to swallow it whole, rather the dog should be gnawing on it’s edges and pulling sinew off of it. Dogs can break their teeth on hard bones. The only times I’ve seen this done is with the breeds with hefty jaw muscles; they actually gnaw so hard they may break a tooth. (My Rottie cross did this when he was nine. It cost a chunk of money to have the tooth pulled after I discovered it because he had bad breath for the first time in his life. The vet said it was such a shame because the rest of his teeth were miraculous.)
The ends of weight bearing bones are softer and still serve to entertain and clean teeth. These are the “knuckles” and are hard to find at grocery stores so you need to get to a butcher or raw dog food store. The ligaments and sinew attached to these will get chewed off and a lot of the soft granule like bone on them will also be consumed, and it’s safer for the dog. The “soup bones” that are sold in the grocery stores, the circular marrow bones, can be problematic. The marrow may be too rich for some dogs and cause digestive upset, the bone may be too hard on her teeth, and sometimes the circle gets caught around the lower jaw incurring a trip to the vet.
There are risks and benefits to recreational bones and it’s up to you to know your dog and pay reasonable attention when they’re enjoying their recreational bones. My Rottie still enjoys his bones on the lawn when the weather is beautiful (to him that’s any weather) and the benefits of having those beautiful strong white teeth far outweighs any risks we may incur.
Logical Dog Animal Naturopathics