If you like to give your dogs a bit of a treat every now and then, you may throw them a lamb bone after dinner on occasion.
But are lamb bones safe for dogs to eat? The short answer is that it depends on your dog. If you don’t want to waste those bones and you want to feed them to your dog safely, it’s important that you read through our advice first.
Raw or Cooked?
When given the choice between giving your dog a raw bone or a cooked bone, it’s best to go with a raw bone. Once the bone has been cooked, it becomes hard and brittle, which makes it easy for your pup to crack with their teeth.
As a result of this brittleness, a cooked bone can easily splinter, which can have devastating effects for your dog if they swallow it.
All it would take is one splinter to get lodged in the throat, damaging the tissue of your dog’s oesophagus or puncture the stomach or intestines. Your dog’s stomach and intestines have a lot of bacteria in them, and if it leaks out it could have deadly consequences for your pup.
Raw bones are harder than cooked ones, and even if your dog does break the bone, it won’t splinter and they should be able to digest them easily enough. All in all, a raw bone is far safer than a cooked one.
The Health Benefits of Lamb Bones
Giving your dog a raw bone to chew on will help with dental care and can actually help prevent periodontal disease.
Plaque builds up on your dog’s teeth and this can be very difficult to remove. Bacteria has a protective layer that water and toothpaste can’t penetrate. This can also lead to your pup having bad breath.
By giving them a raw bone to chew on, the enzymes that naturally occur in raw bones will help break down the protective layer around the bacteria. The chewing action also scrapes the plaque off of the teeth.
Additionally, raw bones provide a source of nutrients for your dog that helps with the growth of their skeletal system. It’s a great way for your pup to get extra calcium and phosphorus, which is especially good for large breed puppies who are slower to mature.
Giving your dog a raw bone will also help provide mental stimulation and help your dog to develop the muscles in their jaw, skull, and neck. If your dog chews on items around the house like shoes, you can distract your pup by giving them a bone to chew on instead. This can help to develop positive chewing habits.
The Risks of Lamb Bones
When you give your pup a bone, you want to make sure that it’s about the size of his or her head. This will allow your dog to gnaw at it comfortably. Also, there’s less danger of your dog swallowing the bone, which can lead to choking or may result in a trip to the vet if they’re unable to pass it.
Dogs love bone marrow. However, the bone marrow doesn’t always love the dog back. Your pup may develop a sensitive stomach after eating it, which could lead to frequent diarrhoea or even irritable bowel syndrome. Yes, dogs can get IBS too!
If this happens, you may want to find an alternative to the bone, like a toy, or look at putting your dog on to a dog food specifically formulated for a sensitive stomach.
Tips & Advice for Feeding Your Dog Lamb Bones
Your dog will love you for giving them a juicy bone to chew on, but to keep your dog happy and safe you need to be mindful of a few things.
If you’ve gone to the local butcher and bought a bag of bones to freeze, it’s best to put single servings into separate bags. This will help to kill any bacteria that may be lurking on them, and you can avoid thawing and refreezing any extra bones.
Keep an Eye on Your Dog While They’re Chewing
Keep an eye on your dog as they’re happily gnawing at their bone. This way, you can make sure that they haven’t broken off a piece and swallowed it. You should also take the bone away if it’s gotten smaller and now poses a choking hazard.
You may find that some bones have sharp edges when chewed, which could lead to your dog cutting his tongue or gums. While this won’t stop your dog from chewing, you’d want to make sure that your pup hasn’t hurt themselves too badly.
Some dogs have the tendency to be more aggressive chewers than others. This can lead to them breaking bones into smaller bits, which increases the chance of choking. If you notice that your dog is an aggressive chewer, either get your fluffy friend a bigger bone, like a femur, or swap the bone out for a durable toy.
Be Sure Your Dog’s Dental Health Is Adequate
Dogs have dental issues just like we do, and they can break a tooth or lose one while playing with a toy or gnawing at a bone. If your dog is old and their teeth aren’t that great, giving them a bone would be a bad idea as this can further damage their mouth.
If your dog has had any restorative dental work done, you wouldn’t want to give them bones either as they could dislodge or break the tooth that’s been repaired.
Pick Up Leftover Bits of Bone
It’s quite surprising how quickly a dog can reduce the size of a bone. Once they’ve gnawed it down to the most brittle part, you should remove it for their safety.
They can enjoy chewing on it again later, but leaving a bone for a few hours even at room temperature can cause it to become contaminated with bacteria. This bacteria could make your pup sick or lead to an upset stomach.
It’s best to remove any leftover bone or bits of bones, and you can always give your pup a new bone in a few days.
Your dog deserves a delicious lamb bone, and they will love every second of it. Just make sure that they are always raw and that you replace them every few days to prevent the buildup of bacteria.
It’s great mental stimulation, and the perfect way to keep them occupied on a day where they can’t go for a walk or even as a treat just because you feel like it.
For over a decade, Adrienne has been a freelance content writer and blogger who’s passion lies in anything related to dogs. Growing up, dogs were a very important part of family life in the Hardwick household. Now, Adrienne is the proud parent to two Swedish Vallhunds called Moose and Pumpkin.