coaching for dog owners

Helping humans be their best for their dogs


   For starters, I hope everybody had a marvelous Thanksgiving.  My taste buds were overloaded with the wonders of home cooking and my belly is now preparing for the war waged every holiday season against the waistline of my pants.  

This year is already off to a rough start.  

Speaking of food, a conversation came up yesterday that I just had to share on my blog as it’s a super common topic that is apparently very misunderstood.  The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) actually has a very brief article on its website saying why bones are BAD for dogs.

 Lets face it, we already knew the FDA was a joke anyway based on how they deal with HUMAN food and prescription drug issues, now I guess they are dipping into dogs now….lovely……I read the article, its complete nonsense, and is actually very MIS-informative.  I will do my best to as quickly as possible give you the essential rundown.  Here’s my list of 5 things you need to know about bones and dogs…..


  Are all bones dog killers? NO.  Are some? YES.  Any bone that has been cooked is 100% unsafe for your dog.  It’s that simple, if it has been heated, its dangerous whether its intended purpose is a chew toy or as part of a raw feeding diet.  Heat breaks down the integrity of the bone itself, making it brittle.  A brittle bone breaks into shards with very sharp edges.  Your imagination can come up with the rest.  Take a raw chicken drumstick bone and break it compared to a cooked one and you will completely understand.  Make sure any bone that you even consider giving to your dog is fresh and RAW.


  You must first decide why you are giving your dog a bone?  Is the bone going to serve as a chew toy, or is it part of a raw or B.A.R.F. (bones and raw food) diet?  This is an important question to ask yourself as it will determine where and what kind of bone you give your dog.  If the bone is intended to be a chew toy, or a distraction for your dog, then you are going to want to get something that inst going to be readily destroyed or broken down.  Go to your butcher and ask for any type of beef soup bone.  They last forever and the dogs LOVE them. If including for food, then you need to make sure that they are of a size that forces your dog to chew on them rather than swallow whole!.  I must advise you, if including bones as part of a diet then search around on the internet for some groups and you can get a wealth of information. Two good books to get you started are “Give Your Dog A Bone” and ” Grow Your Pup With Bones,” by Ian Billinghurst. ( Remember, vets get paid to promote and sell kibble commercial dog food, so don’t expect too much support there)


    i will never forget the trips to Lou’s Meat Market and the Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake ice cream bars grandpa would buy me as a child.  Do meat markets like that even exist anymore? Sure they do, you just have to look around.  Once you find one, develop a relationship with the butcher, it won’t be hard because they represent something special, something lost, something called honest work and service.  The butcher is from a day long gone, and they will appreciate you appreciating them.  In no time you will be getting choice bones that might have been discarded or simply sold for soup.  Be good to your butcher, and your butcher will be good to you.  


   Yes, bones can be rough on your dogs teeth.  It is a fact of nature.  I have been providing my dogs with raw bones for over 15 years and have yet to have a major dental issue. those who have whatever agenda to keep bones and raw food out of your dogs life will come up with all kinds of worst case scenarios to instill fear in your loving heart.  Honestly, most of it is a load of nonsense.   Will bones dull the teeth quicker, YES.  Do you or your dog need their teeth to be as sharp as possible?  (That’s a rhetorical question with the answer hopefully being NO).


  I have seen this many times.  A dog that normally has no issues around the food bowl or kibble, suddenly gets aggressive around a bone.  People often make the ridiculous statements that feeding raw food makes dogs meaner aggressive, suggesting that there is something in meat that alters the dog’s temperament after it ingests it because of them eating blood, or something nonsensical like that.

  There is nothing in the meat or the bones, that upon ingestion, causes your dog to revert back to a “wolf like” state or become more aggressive.  There is however something that can happen behaviorally, and I will explain.

A dog who has been fed primarily kibble is going to be very excited to receive something like a raw bone.  To a dog, its like being handed a winning Powerball ticket.  This will expose any dominance issues that may have been lying dormant in your dog.  This is something worth protecting for many dogs, as it is the greatest thing they have ever been given (that’s how they look at it).  

If your dog shows aggression over a bone is it the end of the world? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!!  It’s all about understanding your dog.  

For starters, I would NEVER have a child give a dog a bone, or even be around a dog eating one.  

This is something that the dog should be allowed to enjoy in peace, and its also a recipe for something unfortunate to happen.  If when giving your dog a raw bone, you notice an increase in “possessiveness” then immediately contact a canine behaviorist who can come evaluate your situation with their own eyes and teach you how to deal with it.    It almost always can be dealt with, and its actually great that it happens so that you can get one step closer to completely being on the same page with your dog!

Thats it for now.  Bones are not evil, but you do need to consider some basic things.  So go pay a visit to your butcher, give them a little something extra for Christmas, and enjoy your dogs.  I have to have a conversation with some Thanksgiving leftovers, so if you will excuse me, I bid you farewell for now.


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