German Shepherds love to chew on bones but there are some dangers associated with this popular canine pastime. This in depth article on “The Best Bones For German Shepherd” will provide you with the information necessary to make a sound choice when picking up that next big bone for your furry friend.
Giving your dog the right bone will lead to many happy hours of chewing. but giving your dog the wrong bone could lead to injury and even death. Make sure you know the differences so you can avoid any possible mishaps.
The Best Bones For German Shepherd are large uncooked beef or lamb shank bones that are bigger than their mouth so that they are unable to swallow it whole.
The Worst Bones For German Shepherd are cooked bones. Because of their softness, they have a tendency to splinter while your dog is chewing on them. This can cause serious injuries to the digestive tract, mouth and throat.
There are several options when it comes to the Best Bones For German Shepherd. This article will answer some common questions people have about bones, some misconceptions and of course a list of our favorite bones for your German Shepherd. We will also tell you what to do if the worst case scenario happens and your precious pup swallows a bone.
Is it safe to give your German Shepherd bones?
Giving your German Shepherd a bone can be safe if you take the proper precautions. However anytime you give a dog a bone there is a risk involved.
Here are the risks of giving your German Shepherd a bone:
Fragments of bone can become stuck in the small intestines resulting in a blockage. Surgery may be required to remove them. They can also pierce the wall of the intestine causing Peritonitis. Parts of the bone can also make there way all the way down the GI tract to the large colon. They can collect there, causing constipation and severe discomfort. The resulting trauma can cause bleeding in the rectal area. The vet may have to use an enema or manipulate the bowel to remove the fragments.
Bone stuck in the stomach
If a piece of bone is too large, it may be unable to make its way out of the stomach. This can result in abdominal surgery or an endoscopy to remove the bone fragment. In addition, a sharp piece of bone can pierce the wall of the stomach, causing fluids to leak into the dog’s abdomen. This can cause an infection referred to as Peritonitis which can be fatal.
Dogs can crack their teeth chewing on a hard bone such as a store bought cooked bone. This can lead to costly dental bills from the resulting extraction or even possible root canal needed to fix the tooth. Not to mention the pain it will cause your dog.
Mouth and tongue injuries
When a piece of the bone breaks off into the dogs mouth, it can be super sharp, cutting the roof of the mouth or piercing the tongue and cheek.
Obstruction of the airway
A bone that is too small can get lodged or stuck in the dogs esophagus causing them to choke. Pieces or shards of the bone can also get stuck in the trachea making it hard for your dog to breathe.
Raw bones can be contaminated
While raw bones are by far the safest choice, they can be contaminated with certain dangerous pathogens. E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella are just a few of the possible organisms that can be dangerous to dogs and potentially life threatening to humans.
Ring around the mouth
Round bones can get stuck around the dog’s lower jaw during play. When it gets stuck behind the lower canine teeth, it is very tough to get dislodged. Sometimes the only remedy is a trip to the Emergency Vet where your dog might need to be sedated or anesthetized to remove it.
What are the benefits of giving my German Shepherd a raw bone?
Although this topic is highly debated in the dog world, there are benefits to giving your dog a raw bone. You must decide for yourself if the benefits outweigh the risks. I personally think they do. Here are some of the benefits that your dog will get from a raw bone.
A raw bone is a great substitute for brushing your pooches toothy trains. Chewing on the bone helps stimulate the saliva enzymes and helps get rid of any food trapped in your dogs teeth. It also prevents the build up of tarter and keeps the teeth healthy and clean. This will help to avoid any trips to the vet for extractions or scaling of the teeth. Ten to twenty minutes of chewing after a meal should do the trick.
Helps dog avoid bad chewing habits
A nice raw bone can be a great way to distract your dog from any bad or unwanted chewing habits. Some dogs have a habit of chewing on clothing, furniture, socks. A bone will keep there attention and hopefully prevent them from any negative chewing habits.
Minerals and Nutrients
Raw bones are full of minerals and nutrients that can help your dog’s bone development. They contain calcium phosphate which can be up to four times easier for your dog to digest verses other common calcium supplements. Raw bones are excellent for larger breed dogs such as the German Shepherd. Because of their quick growth, they need the extra calcium for their large skeletal system.
The best types of raw bones to give your dog:
- Frozen raw bones
Freezing bones before giving them to your dog is a great way to slow down their chewing and digestion.
- Large raw bones
The size of the bone will depend on the size of the dog but in general you want to give your dog large raw bones that are bigger than their head and a greater length than their muzzle. A German Shepherd for example, will require something large such as a lamb breast or a turkey neck.
- Meaty raw bones
Raw bones with plenty of meat on them are the best for your dog. You want to have a good balance of meat to bone. Excess bone without the meat can cause constipation. If the bone is a little bare, some additional meat on the side will help even things out.
Bones to avoid giving your dog:
Avoid any types of antlers. They are too hard for your dog and can wreak havoc on their teeth causing injuries.
- Bones that are cut up into small pieces
This would include knuckle bones and ox-tail bones that have been cut.
- Cooked bones
Cooked bones that you buy from the store are the worst choice. The softness of these bones can lead to splintering which can cause injuries.
- Rawhide Bones
Stay away from these bones as they are a choking risk. The rawhide can get soft after your dog chews on it for awhile. Because of this, your dog can easily tear off big chunks which can be swallowed if unsupervised.
- Small bones
Smaller bones are a choking hazard. Stay away from chicken, pork or rib bones which are common but unfortunately dangerous. They are more prone to splinter causing damage to your dogs mouth.
Tips for giving your dog a bone:
- Avoid bones that have been cut the length of the bone.
Bones that have been cute the entire length of the bone are more likely to splinter and have sharp edges.
- Avoid giving bones with marrow to dogs with Pancreatitis.
Bones with marrow are high in fat and can further exacerbate your dog’s Pancr eatitis. Instead try giving them an alternative.
- Avoid giving bones to dogs with previous dental work.
Dogs that have had any teeth restored are in danger of braking those teeth. You are better off not giving them a bone. Instead give them a safe alternative.
- Freeze bones when they are not being used.
Keep the bones in the freezer when they are not being used. It will help avoid contamination and help slow down the time it takes for your dog to chew a bone.
- Give your dog a bone following a meal.
Let your dog finish their dinner. Then throw them their favorite bone. It should slow down the aggressiveness of their chewing lessening the chance of them swallowing part of the bone.
- Never leave your dog unsupervised with any bone.
They can chew for too long and the bone can become small enough for your dog to swallow. They can also bite off pieces that can become stuck in their throat or pierce the inside of their mouth. Ten to twenty minutes is a sufficient amount of time for your dog to chew its bone.
- Throw away bones when they get old or worn down.
Once a dog chews on a bone for a long period, it becomes more brittle with more chance of splintering. Don’t take any chances. Throw it out and get a new bone. Don’t keep a bone for more than a few days.
Bone powder as an alternative:
If you are concerned about the repercussions of giving your dog a raw bone, you can grind them down into a powder and sprinkle it on their food.
They will get the benefits of the minerals and nutrients without the risks we discussed earlier in the article. The calcium phosphate alone is enough to make the whole process worth it.
Keep in mind, your dog will miss the benefits of chewing which can include healthier teeth and less anxiety and stress.
Best coarse of action if your German Shepherd swallows a bone:
Dogs love to chew and they love to eat. This can often times lead to your dog swallowing part of a bone and sometimes even the whole bone if is too small. You will definitely want to keep a close eye on your pooch when they are chewing on their favorite bone.
“Dogs will literally swallow almost anything,”Cummings School surgeon John Berg, DVM
If it happens to be a small chicken bone that your dog swallows, don’t panic. According to Dr. Berg’s article “Objects Commonly Swallowed by Dogs: What’s Risky and What’s Safe?”, it is largely an urban myth that chicken bones will splinter and puncture the lining of your dog’s stomach. Most of the time, the bone simply dissolves.
He recommends staying away from large beef vertebrae especially from the butcher. Dogs have a tendency to want to swallow it since it is hard to break into smaller bits. It then can become stuck in the lower esophagus in the chest resulting in possible surgery to remove the bone.
Steps to take when your dog swallows a bone:
- The first and obvious step is to make sure your dog isn’t choking or struggling to take a breath. If he is and you can locate the bone in his mouth, try to safely remove the bone and clear the airway. If you cannot do this safely, take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.
- The second step to take, if your dog swallows a bone and seems fine, is to contact your veterinarian and ask them what to do. The size of the bone swallowed will determine the best course of action. Nine times out of ten, smaller bones will simply dissolve in the stomach and pass through your dog’s poop. On rare occasions your vet may decide that surgery is necessary to remove the bone.
- Step three is to wait and monitor your dog. If your dog becomes sick after swallowing the bone and starts to vomit, call the veterinarian immediately and try to take them in as soon as possible to get checked. There is a good chance that something is pierced or punctured and your dog’s body is reacting to the internal injury.
Symptoms to look out for:
- Abnormal movements
- Blood in their stool or diarrhea
- Excessive drooling or panting
- General sickness or vomiting
- Lethargy and not wanting to get up or move
- Not wanting to eat normal food or treats
- Sensitive stomach that they don’t want touched
- Unusual behavior
If you notice any of these symptoms, take your dog to the veterinarian immediately for help. They may have an obstruction or damage internally.
Best bone alternatives for German Shepherds:
There are several alternatives to raw bones if you can’t find animal bones that are large or meaty enough for your German Shepherd.
Benebone Real Bacon Durable Wishbone
The Benebone Wishbone is a popular choice and a number one best seller for a reason.
This bone is made for aggressive chewers so it is a good choice for your German Shepherd. It is made with 100% Real Bacon and the wishbone shape makes it easy for your dog to chew.
It is dog safe and made out of nylon right here in the U.S.A. Benebone can last up to a month but make sure to replace when it starts to wear down.
KONG Classic Goodie Bone Dog Toy
KONG makes excellent products and is one of the most all around popular dog toys on the market. This KONG Classic Goodie Bone is another great choice if you are worried about giving your doggie a raw bone.
It is made from a safe rubber and very strong, making it a great choice for your German Shepherd. It is also nice and gentle on your dog’s teeth and gums.
The neat thing about this bone is that you can fill it with treats or treat paste and keep your dog busy trying to remove the treats from the bone. It is highly recommended by veterinarians all over the world as a safe toy for dogs with an active lifestyle.
Pet Qwerks Flavorit Peanut Butter Flavor Nylon Bone
This is another good alternative to the raw dog bone. The Pet Qwerks Falvorit Peanut Butter Flavor Nylon Bone is made for aggressive chewers such as the German Shepherd.
You can coat the tiny flavor cells with some peanut butter and watch your dog go crazy licking and chewing without too many calories.
It is made from a nylon that is safe for your dog and tough enough to last for more than a few chews. It also promotes oral health by massaging the gums and scraping the teeth.
Don’t give your German Shepherd a bone if you see that your dog likes to try and swallow big chunks of the bone. Watch them carefully the first few times you give them a bone and monitor them. You will get a good idea of how aggressive they chew.
If you can tell that they are going to be trying to swallow parts of the bone, purchase one of the alternatives we discussed earlier instead. It is better to be safe. Your dog’s health is the number one priority.
Best Bones For German Shepherd In Closing:
I hope that this article gave you enough information to make a sound decision when it comes to the “Best Bones For German Shepherd.”
Remember, the decision depends on a lot of factors that you must determine on your own. Do your research and always supervise your doggie when they are chewing a bone.
The bottom line is that bones are very healthy for your dog and can be a wonderful chew toy for your furry friend!
Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think!
What is your German Shepherd’s favorite bone? Make sure to check out “Best Toys For German Shepherds Puppy, Adult, Senior” for more great toys to give your pup!