Best Bones for Dogs: Which Bones Are Safe & Beneficial

Acabonac Farms |

Bones - the original dog chew toy - have played a critical role in maintaining the health and well-being of canines for millenia. Not only are they essential for dental health, aiding in the removal of plaque and tartar, but they also provide significant mental stimulation. Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs, offering an engaging activity that reduces anxiety and staves off boredom, but many dog owners still wonder “which bones are best?” 

The variety of bones available on the market is vast, ranging from raw beef bones to cooked chicken bones to pork bones. In the search for the perfect chewing bones, dog owners can trust Acabonac Farms as a reliable source of fresh, grass-fed marrow bones for dogs. We specialize in providing superior bones and a range of other high-quality dog food products. From raw organ meats that are packed with essential nutrients to raw meal toppers designed to supplement your pup’s current meals.

Key takeaways

  • Not all bones are safe for dogs. Small, brittle, and cooked bones can actually be dangerous. 
  • Grass-fed beef marrow bones are unmatched for safety as well as dental, mental, and nutritional health benefits.
  • Know who you’re buying from. Reputable sources like Acabonac Farms produce bones specifically for dogs.
  • What animal the bone comes from, whether or not the bone is cooked, and the size of your dog are the major factors to consider when picking a chew bone.

Feeding Your Dog Bones: Yes or No?

The phrase “give a dog a bone” holds true. The consensus among veterinarians and canine nutritionists leans towards a "yes" for feeding your dog bones - but with a few very important considerations to keep in mind.

Large marrow bones for dogs are the top choice, and with the nutritional and dental benefits that come with chewing bones, there’s a lot of reasons why you might want to give your dog one.

Best bones for dogs

Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Bones:

  • Dental Health: It’s almost as if nature designed bones to be the perfect toothbrushes for dogs. Chewing on bones helps reduce plaque and tartar build-up, leading to fresher breath and healthier gums. 
  • Mental Stimulation: Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs. The mental workout they get from figuring out how to tackle a bone is just as important as the physical one.
  • Nutritional Boost: Grass-fed beef bones in particular, are rich in minerals like calcium and phosphorus, contributing to a dog’s nutritional needs. Marrow bones, filled with highly nutritious marrow, provide essential fats and vitamins crucial for a healthy skin and coat.

Risks of Feeding Your Dog Bones:

  • If the bone is too small they risk breaking and intestinal damage. 
  • Some bones like those from pork are too fatty and can lead to conditions like pancreatitis in your dog. 
  • It is possible for your dog to crack or chip a tooth on a bone, especially if the bone is too big, or your dog is very young or old. 
  • If you have a small dog, they’ll need smaller bones that are safer for them to chew on. The best bones for small dogs include our 4 inch marrow bones. 

Now that you’ve chewed on the pros and cons of giving your dog a bone, let’s dive into which bones are the absolute safest for dogs.

What Is the Safest Bone for a Dog?

The safety of a bone largely depends on its size, density, and whether it's cooked or raw. Here's a quick guide to picking the safest options for your dog's chewing pleasure:

Safest Bones:

  • Raw Beef Bone Marrow Bones: These are the gold standard for safe dog bones. Their size and density make them an excellent choice for most dogs, minimizing the risk of splintering. Marrow bones from grass-fed sources also pack a nutritious punch, offering healthy fats and nutrients.
  • Other Large Raw Bones from Lamb and Beef: Similar to beef marrow bones, large raw bones from lamb and beef offer a safer chewing experience. Their size discourages swallowing whole, which reduces the risk of choking or intestinal blockage.

Bones to Avoid:

  • Turkey Bones: Too small, too brittle.
  • Chicken Bones: Too small, too brittle.
  • Pork Bones: Generally too brittle, too high in fat.
  • Rib Bones: Generally too brittle.

  • Acabonac Pet offers premium fresh, grass-fed bone marrow bones, ideal for dogs due to their density, size, and nutritional content. These bones are sourced from grass-fed cattle, are uncooked, and are packed with the natural nutrients and benefits unique to grass-fed beef.

    Raw Bones vs. Cooked Bones: What's Best for Your Dog?

    Raw bones are the best chewing bones for your dog. For one, raw bones retain all of their natural nutrients, and cooking can degrade them, making the bone less beneficial as a dietary supplement. Chewing on raw bones can also help scrape away your dog’s plaque and tartar buildup better than cooked bones. This is due to the higher density of raw bones compared to their cooked counterparts.

    More importantly however, raw bones are far safer for dogs. Cooked bones tend to splinter, which can lead to choking, intestinal blockages, or punctures in the digestive tract, posing a significant health risk to your dog. 

    Regardless of the type of bone you choose to give your dog, supervision is crucial. Certain safety measures are necessary when giving your dog any bone - raw or cooked:

    • Monitoring for Splinters: While less likely, raw bones can still break into sharp fragments. Close observation can help you intervene quickly if the bone starts to splinter.
    • Discard Small Pieces: If a bone has been chewed down to a smaller size that could be swallowed, it’s time to take it away.
    • Know Your Dog: Understand your dog’s chewing habits and strength. This knowledge can help you select the most appropriate type and size of bone.
    • Limit Chew Time: Although raw beef marrow bones aren’t likely a choking hazard, their hardness can be a risk for tooth chipping or damage. A simple way to reduce this risk is to reduce the amount of time you allow your dog to chew.

    Bones for Puppies: How to Ensure Safe Chewing

    Introducing bones to puppies can kick-start their dental health and satisfy their chewing instincts. Here’s how to do it safely based on their age:

    4-12 weeks old: Your puppy is eating solid food, but still has baby teeth. Vet Dr. Nick Thompson recommends you start with softer, chewable options like chicken wings, and necks of duck, chicken, and turkey. Your young puppy is likely to just mouth them, but even this is beneficial for dental and nutritional health, as well as “mouth-eye coordination” for your puppy. It’s important to  remember that there is always a risk of choking with bones, especially softer ones that can be broken into chunks. Be sure to supervise young puppies when providing them with bones.

    3-6 months old: By around this time, your puppy has likely gotten its adult teeth. The recommendation here is the same as for adults. Use raw beef or lamb bones that are a smaller size so that your puppy can properly get their mouths around them without straining (this can cause tooth damage), but big enough not to be a choking hazard. 1.5 inch raw grass-fed beef marrow bones are your best bet for a small puppy at this age. However, it all depends on your puppy’s size. If you have a 6-month old great dane, a 1.5 inch bone is going to be a huge choking hazard. Dr. Karen Becker recommends aiming for bones approaching the size of your puppy’s head to prevent choking risk.

    Supervising your puppy during bone-chewing sessions is very important. To avoid overly aggressive chewing that could harm their developing teeth, keep these sessions brief, and remove access to any bones small enough to be swallowed. Consult with your veterinarian before introducing bones into your puppy's diet. They can provide personalized advice based on your puppy's specific dietary and breed needs.

    Marrow bones for dogs

    The Best Bones for Dog’s Teeth

    Raw beef, lamb, or bison bones are the top choices for foods that clean dogs’ teeth and keep them healthy. These options are sturdy, less likely to splinter, and great for scraping off plaque and stimulating the gums, which helps in reducing tartar and freshening breath. Remember, choosing the right-sized bone is key to avoiding dental damage such as chipping or cracking. 

    Smaller, older, or dogs with bad teeth shouldn’t chew bones that are so large that they struggle to get their mouth around them. If you are concerned about tooth damage from hard bones like raw marrow bones, simply reduce the time you allow your dog to chew. A large plus to marrow bones is that your dog will spend a lot of its time licking the marrow out, not just chewing on the actual bone. Despite their hardness, marrow bones are still the best choice for your dog because the risk of choking and splintering from other bones is simply too high.

    Acabonac Farms offers fresh, grass-fed beef marrow bones for dogs in various sizes that are ideal for dental health, helping to keep tartar at bay and gums healthy. Their commitment to sustainable and ethical farming means these bones are of the highest quality, providing a safe and nutritious option for your dog's chewing needs.

    The Best Bones for Nutritional Benefits

    Bones can be more than just a chew toy. They can be great additions to your dog’s diet. According to Dr. Dunn Jr, DVM, the bulk of the nutrition in bones is derived not from the bone itself, but from cartilage, meat, fat, and connective tissue. Raw meaty bones, such as chicken necks, lamb ribs, and even the soft bones found in canned fish like sardines, come with a lot more “meat on the bone” per-se, making them the most nutritional - but not necessarily the safest.

    Unfortunately, the smaller size, shape, and brittleness of these “nutritional” bones demands a certain level of care to avoid risks like splintering and choking. In contrast, grass-fed beef marrow bones stand out as a superior option for combining safety with nutritional benefits. Their larger size reduces the risk of choking hazards, and thanks to the marrow, they're rich in vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats that can help enhance your dog’s coat condition, joint mobility, and digestive health. 

    Plus, you can even create a nutritious and delicious bone broth for your dog from them (yep, your dog will love drinking a bone broth - it’s just as good for them as it is for us!) That’s why raw beef marrow bones are our top pick for nutritional dog bones.

    Acabonac Farms prioritizes sustainable and ethical farming practices, ensuring our grass-fed beef marrow bones are of the highest quality. Treat your dog to a stimulating toy that also supports their health with nutrient-dense, safely sourced bones. 

    What to Do If Your Dog Ingests a Dangerous Bone

    Discovering that your dog has ingested a dangerous bone or bone fragments can be alarming. Acting promptly and knowing what steps to take can significantly mitigate potential risks to their health.

    Immediate Steps:

    Stay Calm: Keeping calm will help you think clearly. 

    Try to Remove the Bone: If your dog is showing signs of choking or difficulty breathing, try to gently open their mouth to see if you can safely remove any visible obstruction.

    Seek Veterinary Care if Needed: If you can’t remove the bone from your dog’s mouth or throat, look out for any immediate signs of distress. Seek veterinary care if you notice: 

    • Excessive drooling
    • Pawing at the mouth
    • Attempts to vomit
    • Sensitivity to touch around the abdominal area
    • Bloody stool

    Where to Buy the Best Beef Bones for Dogs

    Looking for the best choice? Acabonac Farms is a convenient option for dog owners looking for top-notch, grass-fed beef bone marrow bones. These bones are nutrient-rich, supporting your dog's health from teeth to tail. Sourced from grass-fed cattle and shipped raw and ready to chew, Acabonac Farms specializes in producing the safest most beneficial beef marrow bones for your furry family members.

    It doesn’t stop there though. For a holistic approach to ensure your dog is in tip-top shape, Acabonac Farms offers a full spread of dog food products, including grass-fed beef for dogs, raw lamb dog food, raw pork dog food, and raw chicken dog food. It's everything your dog needs for a balanced diet, minus the fillers and additives common in other dog foods.

    Acabonac Farms’ commitment to sustainable regenerative farming ensures you're feeding your dog the best while also doing right by the planet. For dog owners who care about where their dog's food comes from, Acabonac Farms is a no-brainer.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Choosing the Best Bones for Your Dog

    Why are grass-fed beef marrow bones the best for dogs?

    Grass-fed beef marrow bones are packed with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, essential for a dog's health. This leads to the question: is grass-fed beef good for dogs? Yes! Grass-fed beef in general is one of the best foods you can provide your dog as it's more natural and less likely to contain traces of antibiotics or hormones, making them a much healthier option for your dog.

    Can I give my dog a marrow bone?

    Yes, you can give your dog a marrow bone. These bones are excellent for chewing, which helps clean teeth and provides mental stimulation. Just make sure it's the right size for your dog to prevent choking hazards.

    How do you prepare marrow bones for dogs?

    If you're getting your marrow bones from Acabonac Farms, there's no preparation needed. Acabonac Farms raw marrow bones can be given as-is, making them a convenient and nutritious option for your dog.

    How often can dogs have marrow bones?

    Marrow bones can be a regular part of your dog's diet, but moderation is still important. Once or twice a week is a good frequency to keep things safe and healthy, preventing potential issues like tooth damage or dietary imbalances.

    Do bones make dogs' breath smell better?

    Chewing on bones can indeed help reduce bad breath in dogs. The act of chewing helps to scrape away plaque and tartar buildup, which is a common cause of nasty dog breath.

    Can you give a dog a porterhouse steak bone?

    Porterhouse steak bones can be risky due to their size and elongated shape, which makes them easier to break apart and cause choking or intestinal blockages. It's safer to stick with more girthy bones for dogs, like marrow bones.

    Can dogs have tomahawk bones?

    Tomahawk bones, while large and seemingly ideal for chewing, carry the same risks as other cooked steak bones, including splintering and potential for causing obstructions. It's best to avoid them if cooked. 

    Are soup bones good for dogs?

    Soup bones can be a good option for dogs as long as they're raw and the right size. However, bones already cooked in soups should be avoided, as cooking makes them more likely to splinter.