Deer bones are often tempting treats for our canine companions. After all, dogs are descended from wolves who feast on bones in the wild. However, not all bones are safe for dogs to eat. Deer bones can cause damage based on how they are prepared and consumed. In this article, we’ll explore whether dogs eat deer bones and the benefits and dangers of feeding dogs deer bones.
Can Dogs Eat Deer Bones?
Yes, dogs can eat deer bones. In fact, raw deer bones are quite healthy for dogs to chew on. The bone marrow provides calories, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein, and enzymes. Chewing on raw deer bones helps clean a dog’s teeth and gives them an outlet for their natural chewing instincts.
However, there are some risks with raw deer bones to consider. Large shards can puncture the digestive tract, stomach, or intestines. To minimize this risk, always supervise your dog when giving them any bone to chew on and take away their bone once it starts splintering.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Deer Bones?
No, dogs should not eat cooked deer bones. Cooking causes deer bones to become brittle and prone to splintering. These bone shards can lodge in the mouth, esophagus, or digestive tract. Plus, cooking destroys the nutritional benefits of the marrow. Avoid feeding your dog any kind of cooked bone, including deer.
Benefits of Deer Bones for Dogs
Raw deer bones provide several health benefits for dogs:
- Cleans teeth – Chewing scrapes away plaque and tartar buildup
- Provides mental stimulation – Keeps dogs engaged and fulfills their instinct to chew
- Contains nutrients – Marrow is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats
- Aids digestion – Bone marrow contains natural enzymes that support healthy digestion
Dangers of Deer Bones for Dogs
While deer bones can be healthy for dogs, they also pose some risks, such as:
- Bone splinters: Can puncture the mouth, throat, stomach or intestines
- Broken teeth: Hard bones may crack a dog’s teeth
- Obstruction: Bone pieces may block the throat, stomach or gut
- Peritonitis: Bone fragments may pierce the abdominal lining, causing infection
- Constipation: Ingested bone shards may be difficult to pass
Signs of Trouble if Dog Eats Deer Bone
If your dog experiences any of the following after chewing on a deer bone, call your vet right away:
- Coughing, gagging, retching or vomiting
- Loss of appetite, lethargy, or dehydration
- Abdominal pain, distended belly
- Pain when swallowing
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Blood in stool or vomit
How to Prepare Deer Bones for Dogs
To safely feed your dog deer bones:
- Choose raw bones, never cooked
- Select marrow-filled bones from legs and knuckles
- Avoid bone shards, splinters, and pieces
- Remove all meat and discard, as it may contain lead fragments
- Rinse, clean, and dry bones thoroughly
- Supervise while your dog chews on the bone
- Take away any bone that starts to chip or splinter
Deer bones can make a healthy, natural chew for dogs provided they are raw, cleaned, and carefully monitored. Always supervise your dog with any bone to prevent choking hazards or internal organ damage. Never feed dogs cooked deer bones since they pose serious dangers. Following these precautions can allow dogs to safely enjoy the benefits of chewing on raw deer bones.