Can Dogs Have Deer Bones? (Vet Tech Answers)

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Chew toys might be one of the most controversial topics in the dog world. We can all agree that chewing is beneficial for our furry friends. However, what we can’t seem to agree upon is which chew toys are safe and beneficial. Bones have traditionally been an item that dogs can chew safely. But, what about deer bones?

Can dogs have deer bones?

Dogs can have deer bones. These natural chew toys are long-lasting and packed with nutrients. Like most chews, there is a risk that your dog might hurt their teeth or their stomach while chewing on a deer bone. Proper monitoring and management of your dog, while they’re chewing, should prevent most injuries.

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about giving your dog deer bones.

Can Dogs Have Deer Bones?

To put it simply, dogs can have deer bones. According to the American Kennel Society, many bones are safe for dogs to chew.

Bones are often packed with vitamins and minerals. They can provide hours of entertainment and can help your dog keep their teeth clean. However, it’s always recommended that you use caution when giving your dog a bone. For as many benefits, there are also risks of chewing bones.

Can Dogs Have Cooked Deer Bones?

Cooked deer bones are a no-go for dogs.

When bones are boiled they become more brittle and more easy to break. One of the biggest risks of dogs, chewing bones is that the bone can break off into small sharp pieces. When this happens, your dog is at risk of injuring their mouth and gums, or if they swallow the piece, it can injure some part of its digestive tract.

The only way you can ever feed a dog a cooked bone is if it’s very slowly cooked at a low temperature. This might make the bone soft enough for small dogs to chew but not so soft that they’ll be able to break a piece off of it. If at all possible, just avoid feeding your dog cooked bones in the first place.

Can Dogs Have Raw Deer Bones?

Dogs can have raw deer bones. Raw deer bones are a lot less likely to splinter into sharp pieces. There are tons of benefits to allowing your dog to chew on raw deer bones and we’ll talk about these benefits below.

It’s also important to keep in mind that there are always risks of giving your dogs raw bones. We will also go over these risks so that you have all the information you need to decide whether or not to give your dog a raw deer bone.

Which Deer Bones Are Best For Dogs?

When you’re talking about deer bones, there are a lot of different options for pieces you can give to your dog.

Picking the right bone is important because you want the size of your bone to match the size of your dog. Bones that are too big for your dog might cause dental injuries or they just may not be interested in chewing them. On the other hand, if a bone is too small for a dog it can end up swallowing it whole.

Knucklebones are tough, dance, and good choices for heavy chewers. Knee caps are thinner, but have a nice lining of cartilage that can provide your dog with excellent nutrition. Knee caps will be consumed much faster, so they might not be appropriate for heavy chewers.

Long bones are good for most dogs, as they are not easy to swallow, and are incredibly long-lasting. Flat bones like bones from the rib cage are softer and can make good options for smaller dogs.

Hooves are a major source of controversy. In general, it’s agreed upon that hooves aren’t safe for dog consumption. Whether it’s a cow hoof or a deer huff, we recommend steering away from these types of chewing products.

Benefits Of Deer Bones For Dogs

We’ve been talking about the benefits of deer bones for the first half of this article.  Finally, let’s go over some of the reasons why you might want to give your dog a deer bone.

1. They’re Durable And Long-Lasting

Even though deer are prey, animals, they’re made of tough stuff.

Their antlers are made of super durable keratin, while their bones are just as solid as any other large animal’s bones. Raw deer bones can last days weeks or even a month depending on how fast your dog chews. This can be a huge benefit for dogs who need to stay busy during the day.

Chewing is therapeutic for dogs. According to the ASPCA, chewing, not only helps dogs keep their teeth clean but also helps them to relieve mild anxiety and stress symptoms. If your dog doesn’t have something, good to chew on, they might turn to inappropriate behaviors like chewing on furniture, door frames, or shoes.

As you can see in the video below, these two dogs are entertained for hours by a huge femur bone.

Having a long, lasting natural chew toy is a huge help in keeping your dog stimulated and out of trouble.

2. They’re Nutritious

Raw bones are packed with vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to a dog’s health.

Many bones contain cartilage, which provides your animal with supplemental collagen. Collagen is good for supporting the health of the soft tissues in your dog’s body.  Deer bone marrow is full of fats, proteins, iron, calcium, and phosphorus.

As your dog chews, the tough part of the deer bone they’ll also get additional supplemental calcium which will help them build their own strong bones.

3. They’re All Natural

It can be hard to find all-natural toys for your dog.

Many chewing toys these days are made from synthetic materials like silicone and plastic. Not only are these toys not great for the environment, but there’s also a risk of ingestion. If your dog is a heavy chore, and they bite off a piece of one of these plastic toys, they’ll have a chunk of indigestible plastic in their bodies.

Deer bones are all natural. Deer bones are free from harmful chemicals. Cause they’re so tough and large, it’s less likely that a piece of one of these bones will be ingested by your dog. Deer bones can also be sourced locally with a minimal impact on the environment.

4. They’ll Help Clean Your Dog’s Teeth

The last benefit of deer bones for dogs is that they can help clean your dog’s teeth.

As we mentioned above one of the benefits of chewing in general, is that it will help clean tartar and buildup off of your dog’s teeth. It’s a natural and instinctual behavior. Deer bones are just hard enough to help your dog clean their teeth without hurting them.

Dog dentals are lengthy and expensive procedures, and you might be able to put them off a little longer if you offer your dog plenty of chewing options.

Risks Of Deer Bones For Dogs

Now that we’ve talked about some of the benefits of deer bones, let’s talk about what can happen if things go wrong. Remember that no chew toy is perfect so it’s always essential to consider your pet when picking out a chewing toy.

You probably know how much and hard your dog is going to chew and if you don’t think a bone is appropriate for them don’t get them one.

1. Sharp Pieces Can Break Off

The number one biggest risk of giving your dog deer bones is that small sharp pieces can break off of the bones while your dog is chewing it.

At best these small pieces might cause abrasions or cuts to your dog’s gums, and then they are spit out quickly. At worst, you could be looking at a potential bowel obstruction.

A bowel obstruction happens when a foreign body blocks part or all of a dog’s gastrointestinal system. A bowel obstruction is an emergency and is usually only treatable through surgery.

You don’t want your dog swallowing any pieces of bone that could cause GI issues.

2. It Might Hurt Their Teeth

Although one of the benefits of deer bones is that they can clean teeth, they can also break and injure teeth.

Deer bones are super tough. If your dog chews very aggressively, it may end up fracturing a tooth while chewing on a bone. Tooth fractures are not only painful but will need to be removed or repaired by a veterinarian under anesthesia. Plus, you might not even realize that your dog has hurt their teeth until an abscess or infection occurs.

3. The Bone Could Have Harmful Bacteria

Any raw food that you give to your dog always has the potential to carry harmful bacteria.

Dogs have more enzymes in their stomach than we do to process and break down raw meat. They are pretty good at handling bacteria but can still get sick if exposed to the wrong bacteria. Because of this, you should try to wash off deer bones before you feed them to your dog.

How To Give Your Dog A Deer Bone

If you’re ready to give your dog a deer bone after all of this, here are a few things you can do to keep your pet safe and happy while they’re chewing.

Always Supervise Them

Dogs should never be left unsupervised with deer bones or any other type of bone.

If something happens and your dog is alone, they’re not going to be able to get the help that they need. Supervision lessens the risk of ingestion of small pieces, or of your dog chewing on them too hard. Even though it might be tempting to give your dog a bone as you walk out of the door for work, remember, the risk is not worth the reward in this case.

Keep The Chewing Session Short

Though your dog may want to chew on their bone all day, try to keep the chewing sessions short. Chewing is healthy for dogs up to a certain point.

If they’re chewing on a hard substance like a deer bone all day long for multiple days in a row they’re way more likely to injure themselves in the process.  Plus, if you take away the bone, they’ll be more excited the next time you bring it out.

Pick Or Make The Right Piece

Lastly, you’ll need to pack or create the right deer bone piece for your dog. We talked a little bit above about what types of deer bones might be best for different types of chewers.

If you only have a long bone, you may need, you saw the bone in half to make it more accessible for medium or small-size dogs. Remember that bones that are too small present a choking hazard while bones too big might not be appealing for smaller dogs.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, dogs can have deer bones. Deer bones are long-lasting, nutritious, all-natural chew toys. However, deer bones are very tough and have the risk of hurting your dog’s teeth or splintering off into small dangerous pieces.

If you do decide to give your dog a deer bone, make sure to supervise them, give them the right size bone, and limit the length of their chewing sessions.

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