Can A Dog Eat Pork Bones?

Can A Dog Eat Pork Bones?

Your furry best friend loves pork ribs, maybe (just maybe), even more than you do. While it seems an innocuous treat following the ‘dog-equals-carnivore’ chain of logic, is it really safe? Today we are going to explore the pros and cons of delicious pork and answer the question, ‘can dogs eat pork bones?’ definitely and completely.

The answer might surprise you because it is definitely a resounding ‘no!’.

Let’s talk about why that is the case.

Your furry best friend loves pork ribs, maybe (just maybe), even more than you do. While it seems an innocuous treat following the ‘dog-equals-carnivore’ chain of logic, is it really safe? Today we are going to explore the pros and cons of delicious pork and answer the question, ‘can dogs eat pork bones?’ definitely and completely.

The answer might surprise you because it is definitely a resounding ‘no!’.

Let’s talk about why that is the case.

Pork, still on the bone, is not so bad by itself. There are some notable exceptions, however, and mostly they have to do with quantity and any potential, unknown health issues that your dog may have which you are not yet aware of.

So, starting out with a profile of pork nutrition we can safely say the following:

  • Pork has a good amount of protein and carbs for your dog
  • The fat content of pork is a little high

So far, pork on a pork bone sounds okay, right? From a vitamin-perspective, pork also has Vitamin C which may be useful when a dog is feeling ill or otherwise under-the-weather. The next vitamin in abundance is B12, which aids in your dog’s metabolism and helps in the breakdown of protein into a more readily-usable form.

Pork also has some caveats, however, starting with undercooked pork. Never feed your dog a raw pork bone, as undercooked and especially raw pork can carry trichinosis worms and make your fuzzy friend very, very sick.

So, what about the rib bones or other pork bones? The ‘meat’ of this article is ironically, ‘the bones’, so let’s talk about why even the bones are bad when they are completely stripped of meat.

Can A Dog Eat Pork Bones?

The pork bone itself… delicious, but unstable

While they look solid, rib bones and other pork bones are not as stable a snack as you might think. Whether they are cooked or raw is not so much the issue (although if they are raw then things can get worse). The problem is that pork bones have a tendency to splinter and break easily.

This means that while your dog is eating them, instead of spending all day gnawing at the bone like you would see with denser bones, the dog spends a little time and easily breaks off a piece. You probably won’t even notice as it happens quickly. The dog can swallow the bone and at this point we have a choking hazard.

Once the bone is down, the problem isn’t resolved, because those bone-fragments are splintered and sharp. They can damage the esophagus on the way down and even cut or block the intestines! Yes, your dog may have eaten pork bones with no issue before and yes, other than the fat content, the meat clinging on to the bone is healthy as long as it is cooked well.

Those bones, however, are a recipe for disaster. No matter how much he or she looks at you with those big, brown eyes, pork bones need to be taken off of the menu. You can compromise by giving your dog a tiny amount of pork and one of the safe alternatives which we will now discuss.

 It’s a little more work for a longer life for your dog and just like we have to make our own dietary sacrifices, so do our furry best friends. It’s all for the best.

Better bones and gardens

Thankfully for dog and owner alike, we’ve been hunting side-by-side with our pooch-partners and a long, fruitful co-existence means that we are very aware of safe alternatives for just about anything that your grown-up pup needs or desires. When you want to give your dog a chew-time that can be trusted, consider the following options:

  • Beef shank bone
  • Leather chew-bone

You’ll notice that we haven’t listed chicken or turkey bones but have gone straight for the beef bone or the synthetic. There is a good reason for that. Chicken and Turkey bones fall into the same category as pork bones. They can be a choking hazard and are ultimately not a good option. If you have to have a real bone then beef is best, but keep in mind a few rules:

  • The bone should be big, as close to the dog’s head size as you can find
  • No unsupervised chewing of real bones
  • No frozen or cooked bones
  • Don’t let your dog hide the bone in the yard

Some final words

The only bone that veterinarians really recommend is a beef bone. Going with a large size gives you a density that your dog can work with and it’s a solid bone – it’s not going to splinter like a pork bone and this is very important. Watch out that your dog doesn’t hide it in the yard to sneak and eat later and as long as you stick to these rules then that beef bone will be okay.

You could also just give them a small amount of pork and a synthetic bone, however, and your dog will be just as happy. We guarantee it!

For more information on what food your dogs can and can’t eat please see our guide here

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