Tag Archives: food

Chewsing the Pawfect Bone: Is There Such Thing?

When you give your dog a chew bone, you may think you’re simply giving him a tasty treat to snack on. But, in fact you’re doing much more. The perfect bone offers the potential for improved dental health, stimulating activity, soothing relief from teething pain and fulfillment of your dog’s innate urge to chew.

Some veterinarians say a good bone keeps the dentist away in that it can help scrape away plaque, control tartar buildup and prevent gum disease, helping to keep teeth white and reducing the risk of mouth problems. Bones can also do wonders for teething pain in puppies and stimulate the growth of adult teeth.

You may have learned the hard way by now that your pup likes to chew. Has he gotten into your shoe collection yet? Or what about your unprotected furniture? It only takes one ruined valuable to understand the importance of satisfying your puppy’s need to chew. Luckily, bones make for easy pacifiers. The right bone can entertain your dog for hours, keeping him distracted and active thereby offering two perks: a safe item to gnaw on, preventing destructive behavior and the benefit of tiring him out and relieving nervous energy.

That said, other veterinarians will dissuade you from giving your dog any bone at all due to concerns about fractured teeth, oral injuries, airway obstruction or gastrointestinal complications. Thus, it’s crucial to consult with your trusted, personal veterinarian before throwing your dog any sort of bone.

Once you’ve spoken with your veterinarian, if you receive bone approval and/or a recommendation, you’ll next want to understand your pup’s chewing rate and habits. For example, if your dog chews for short bursts of time and has a soft bite, your veterinarian may reccomend a treat or toy that softens easily*. Be sure to ask a professional for their pick based on your dog’s breed and needs. Alternatively, if your dog is an aggressive “power chewer,” you may want to try a nylon-based Nylabone, which is long-lasting and nearly indestructible. Keep in mind that this is a toy and NOT edible, so your dog should not be trying to eat the Nylabone! Or, do you have a pup who needs weight management? Try a healthy, grain-free chew made from all natural ingredients, which is also ideal for a dog who has digestive issues. A general rule that applies to any and all safe-to-chew bones are that they’re specially prepared for dogs, are rock-hard and virtually shatterproof. Bones should also be sterilized, natural and digestible for sensitive stomachs.

But, we do have a few crucial “bones to pick.” First, under no circumstance should you feed your dog cooked fish, chicken or beef bones from your own meal. Bones that are too small or too soft can easily splinter and quickly become choking hazards or cause critical digestive issues. And, never feed your pup raw bones such as beef tails or necks from poultry as they carry bacteria like salmonella and e-coli and can spoil quickly. Also, only offer bones to your pooch when you’re around and close by to supervise. If you do decide to leave your pup alone with a bone, make sure it’s a large joint bone free of small pieces that could pose a choking threat, and that you toss the bone within 1-2 days to prevent bacteria from growing, which can result in digestive disorders or parasites.

Remember to always consult with your vet and use discerning judgment when it comes to “chewsing” your dog’s bone.

*While a popular choice among dog owners, rawhide bones should be avoided because they can be dangerous, especially to puppies. According to PuppySpot veterinarian Dr. Brandon Sinn, the bones can upset a dog’s stomach if swallowed and also pose a choking hazard. In particular, rawhide bones made in China tend to have bacterial contamination. “If done right they are OK at best, but with the wrong dog can be deadly,” warns Dr. Sinn. 

Dog-Approved Table Scraps

While your dog should be consuming the majority of his calories from food made specifically for dogs, sometimes there is no resisting the urge to offer your pup human food as a reward, especially during training. If you’re going to give your adult dog or puppy food intended for humans, be cautious. Not all foods that are good for you are safe for your pup, and some can even be poisonous.

Some common foods to keep away from your dog include:

  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Yeast dough
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Avocados
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee

Make sure these foods are all FAR out of your pup’s reach, and contact your vet immediately if he or she eats any of them.

Looking for a list of dog-safe human foods? Look no further. Add these pup-friendly snacks to your grocery list and enjoy watching your dog chow down stress-free (in moderation of course)! Note: Some dogs may have allergies, so always introduce new foods slowly and observe for any adverse reactions.

  • Peanut butter – Peanut butter is a good source of natural protein and contains heart-friendly fats and B & E vitamins. Spread some peanut butter on your dog’s favorite chew toy or in a Kong toy. Be sure to avoid any peanut butters with artificial sweeteners, which are harmful for dogs.
  • Cooked chicken – When it comes to chicken, the same rule for people applies to dogs — chicken meat needs to be cooked thoroughly to avoid salmonella risks. You can add a couple chunks of lean chicken into regular dog food to give it a protein boost and add flavor. Plain chicken is best, because some spices can cause digestive issues with dogs.
  • Cheese – Most dogs are very happy to eat cheese, but a small percentage of dogs are lactose intolerant, so proceed with caution. Cheese is also very high in fat, so these treats should be given sparingly.
  •  Baby carrots – Giving your dog a couple of baby carrots on occasion will help keep his teeth clean and strong.
  • Yogurt – In addition to being a good source of calcium, yogurt contains active bacteria (probiotics) which can help improve your dog’s digestive system. Any yogurt you give to your pup should be unsweetened and unflavored, due to the risks posed by artificial sweeteners.
  • Salmon – Salmon contains hefty amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve heart and immune health and also make a dog’s coat and skin shiny and healthy. Salmon can be added to your dog’s diet as meat or can be added as oil to your dog’s regular food. And good news for those who don’t like salmon skin – it’s safe to feed the skin to your pooch. Just make sure they don’t get any bones, which could be sharp and present a choking hazard.
  •  Pumpkin – Just like carrots, pumpkin contains beta carotene and fiber, which is a good source of vitamin A and helps keep your dog’s digestive tract regular.
  • Eggs – Mix an entire cooked egg into your dog’s regular food to give it a protein boost.
  • Green beans – These make great snacks for your dogs because they are high in flavor and low in calories.
  •  Apples – Just like carrots, apple slices can keep your dog’s teeth clean and shiny, and they can also help freshen up his breath. Apples also contain large amounts of fiber and vitamins. Just make sure you take out the apple core because the seeds are not good for your pup.
  • Oatmeal – This grain is a great source of natural dietary fiber, which can really be beneficial, especially as your dog ages. If your dog has wheat allergies, (gluten free) oatmeal can be used as a substitute grain. Make sure you thoroughly cook the oatmeal before you serving it to your dog, and don’t add any sweeteners.
  • Sweet potatoes – This veggie is another great source of fiber and contains vitamin B6, vitamin C, beta carotene, and manganese. Your pup will enjoy sweet potato sliced and dehydrated as a chewy treat, or cooked and sprinkled on their regular food.