Can Puppies Eat Bones?

Like their canine cousins in the wild, dogs and puppies love to eat red meat. It’s natural, healthy, and something dogs have been doing for millennia.

Like wolves, coyotes, hyenas, and other canines, dogs used to hunt for their food and consume it raw. Canines have a very short gastrointestinal tract, so the meat, sinew, fur, hair, and other parts of the animals they eat can pass through their digestive system quickly.

Of course, one part of an animal canines eat in the wild is the bones. Fact is, bones have all sorts of nutrients, and the bone marrow is especially loaded with them.

If dogs and puppies were still wild, they would be doing the same thing. Indeed, wild dogs do it all the time. (It’s rather difficult for them to order kibble at the big-box pet store.)

I was thinking about the difference between domesticated dogs and their canine cousins the other day after watching a show on the Discovery channel. It reminded me of a question I frequently get from readers: Can puppies eat bones?

The answer is that yes, puppies can eat bones, but you should wait until they are between four and six months old to let them start. That’s because a puppy’s teeth are a lot more fragile than an adult dog’s teeth, and when they chew on bones, their teeth can be damaged and fracture.

Also, if a piece of bone breaks off, it could pose a possible choking hazard for your puppy.

I should also note that some veterinarians are opposed to feeding bones to puppies and dogs at any time. They believe that the risk of chewing on bones is too high, especially with so many bone alternatives on the market.

Now that you know that puppies can eat bones, I’m sure you have other questions. For example, which types of bones are safe for puppies, and can puppies eat chicken bones?

Read on if you’d like to know the answers to those questions. I have them below and answers to several other questions about giving puppies bones. It’s great information that can help you when raising your precious puppy. 

What Bones Are Safe for Puppies?

According to many veterinarians, chicken, turkey, lamb, and beef bones are soft enough for an older puppy to chew. They can also swallow and digest them as long as the pieces are small enough. 

One caveat is that the bones must be raw and not cooked. There are also a few “rules,” if you will that you should follow when giving your dog raw animal bones, including:

  • While chewing their bones, stay close by and supervise your puppy. If they gag or choke on a bone, you’ll be able to help them.
  • Once a bone has been gnawed-down to only a small bit, take it away and toss it. A smaller, gnawed-down bone is a splintering risk that could cut your puppy’s lips and gums and cause a problem when swallowed.
  • It’s better to give you a puppy a bone after they have eaten. That way, they will take their time, and you will reduce the likelihood they swallow a big chunk.
  • Don’t give small bones to big puppies. A Great Dane puppy, for example, might be able to swallow a small chicken bone.  In other words, the bigger the bone, the better.
  • It’s always best to give your puppy a bone that is longer than the length of its muzzle. That makes the bone practically impossible to swallow.
  • Never give your puppy rib bones or pork bones. These two types of bone splinter more easily.

Can Puppies Eat Chicken Bones?

There are two camps regarding whether you can feed chicken bones to puppies. The first camp says that you can safely give a puppy chicken bones as long as they’re big, raw, and you observe them while they chew on the bone.

The other camp says that you should never give chicken bones to puppies because the risk of splintering, choking, and other risks is too high. 

Also, if a puppy does manage to swallow a splintered piece of chicken bone, it could hurt the lining of their stomach, intestines, and other parts of their gastrointestinal (GI) tract. 

Many veterinarians say you can give your puppy chicken bones, but you should make sure they’re too big to swallow. They also advise that you stick around and watch your pup while they chew. Once they’ve had their fun, take the bone away and toss it in the trash.

Can Dogs Digest Bones?

Yes, dogs and puppies can digest bones. The gastric acids in their stomach are made to do just that and then pass the bones quickly through their GI tract. Indeed, many animals, including humans, can digest bones.

One caveat is that you shouldn’t give your puppy too many bones simultaneously. One bone every few days is probably more than enough. 

If you give puppies a lot of bones and they swallow a lot of bone material, it could cause a blockage in their gastrointestinal tract.

Can I give my 2 Month Old Puppy a Bone?

Veterinarians recommend against giving a 2-month-old puppy any bones, mostly because their teeth are still immature and too weak to handle something as hard and rough as a bone.

Because their teeth are weak, if your puppy chews on a hard bone too savagely, they could damage, crack, or otherwise injure their teeth and injure their gums, palate, and lips.

Can Puppies have Rawhide Bones? 

Most veterinarians and dog experts recommend against giving a puppy rawhide bones. As I mentioned earlier, puppies have delicate teeth compared to older dogs. Chewing rawhide bones can lead to tooth fractures and other damage.

You shouldn’t give an older puppy traditional rawhide bones either, but instead, rawhide treats, which are softer and easier to digest. Also, most rawhide treats are made without any artificial ingredients that can harm your puppy. 

Are Bones Good for a Dog’s Teeth?

Yes, bones are good for a dog’s teeth. They are also good for a puppy’s teeth as long as they’re older and have stronger, adult teeth.

Chewing on bones helps reduce plaque on your puppy’s teeth which, in turn, reduces the amount of tartar that forms on their teeth. (Tartar is calcified plaque.)

Dog experts will tell you that if you regularly give your dog a bone, you can lengthen the time between professional teeth cleaning by a veterinarian. Also, your dog’s teeth will stay cleaner and healthier, and their breath will stay fresher. 

Final Thoughts

As we’ve seen today, yes, puppies can eat bones. You should always give them big enough bones that they can’t swallow them whole. Also, stay around to watch as your puppy chews on the bones just in case something happens, like they swallow a piece of bone and start to choke.

The bones that you give your puppy should be raw, never cooked. Cooked bones can splinter much more easily than raw bones, especially chicken bones. 

I hope that you found today’s blog on puppies eating bones informative and that it answered all your questions. If you want more information on how to raise your puppy and be a pet parent, please see my other blogs. 

I pack each blog full of interesting, informative, real-world information that I think you will find very helpful, especially if this is your first time as a puppy parent. Until next time, enjoy this exciting time as a puppy parent because it goes by quickly!