In our post earlier this month, Izzy and Nana’s Favorite Homemade Dog Food, we mentioned that we give our dogs raw beef shank marrow bones to supplement their diet.
Our vet suggested we give them bones to help clean their teeth and to also provide essential minerals. He had mentioned it each time we went for one of Nana’s Chiropractic/Acupressure treatments, but we were anxious. We both took Food Safety during our time as Animal Science majors in college where we learned all about meat but we also learned about all kinds of food borne illnesses. Giving our dogs raw bones seemed like a bad idea, but after weighing the pros and cons for a few months, we decided to give it a try. Now we are total believers.
***Consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet. This article is about our experience and is for informational purposes only.***
At first we went to a local butcher to get the bones, but they were very expensive, $3.99 a pound. While we love our dogs, that was a little steep. Then, one day, we were cruzin’ through our local Safeway and we spotted this package of frozen raw beef marrow bones for $1.99 a pound for the exact same thing. This was a much better price! If you do the math for this pack of five bones, it works out to be about $1.22 per bone.
We store the package in the freezer and once we open it, we put the unused bones in a freezer Ziploc bag. We especially enjoy the new ziplocs with the easy open tabs! Those things rule.
If you don’t have a local butcher or a grocery store that carries raw marrow bones, you can order them online, but it is probably best to get it from a local store for Food Safety reasons.
Giving your dogs bones can be a messy affair, so we put down a towel first to prevent the bacteria and juicy mess from spreading everywhere.
Here you can see Izzy and Nana chomping away on their bones. We were skeptical that chewing on bones would clean their teeth, but once again we were wrong. Even after just one chewing session, big chunks of tartar had fallen off and their teeth have gotten cleaner with each time.
Nana gets anxious when she thinks bone time is over. The raw bones are easily their favorite treat so they are prone to “resource guarding”, i.e. they don’t want you to take it away from them. When the time comes, we make sure to give them a cookie as a replacement while we take away the bone and towel. Nana and Izzy do try to keep them when we start moving the towel, but they haven’t growled or acted aggressive for the most part.
After we have the bone secured, we rinse them with a bit of cold water and then wrap them in a parchment paper square, so they don’t stick together. The final step is to put them in a container or freezer bag and pop them back into the freezer.
We let our dogs have their bone every other day. They chew on the same bone for three times over a 6 day period and then we give them a new one. We do this to prevent any kind of food borne illness. Izzy and Nana get to chomp on their bones for 10-20 minutes. We keep this schedule because if they get them more frequently or for longer periods some negative consequences can occur.
1. They can hurt their jaws from overuse.
2. They can get the runs from eating too much raw marrow/fat/meat stuff.
They absolutely love their bones, but MODERATION is key.