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Hi I was wondering if you could help me. I seem to have had several pieces of conflicting information from friends regarding dogs nutrition. Is it okay to let dogs have animal bones?

Thank you I appreciate your guidance on this.

Hi Kristy,

Dogs have been eating RAW animal bones for as long as they have existed. When you think of nutrition for your dog, think about how they were designed to eat and thrive. You know, the way nature intended our dogs to eat and live.

If you look at what they would eat in the wild, or as their counterpart (wolves, coyotes, other dog related animals) eat, their main diet consist of eating other animals. That means raw foods, bones included. Those, along with cartilage, is how they receive their calcium.

Dogs were never meant to eat a cooked food diet. This is something humans started to give them for convenience. Now we see what that has done for their overall health.

If you cook animal bones, you cook the marrow out of the inside of it. This renders the bone hard, making it more brittle and subject to breaking off pieces and potentially cutting the inside of the dogs intestine.

Never feed cooked bones. If you give your dog a bone, the best by far is a raw bone with a little marrow inside it. Pressure cooked bones can be given as long as they are rendered soft.

Dogs will work on getting the marrow out of bones, thus cleaning their teeth somewhat and keeping them occupied.

If your dog is not used to eating raw bones, start slow. Give them something like a knuckle bone that has very little marrow for them to get at.

Too much marrow too fast can cause digestive issues like an upset tummy. So start slow and give them a bone for 15-20 minutes at a time.

You can then start them on shank type bones that have a lot of marrow in them. But again, always start slow and work up. The marrow inside bones is very nutritious.

Many dog bones are sold in stores that have been smoked. These are alright as long as you know what they've been smoked with and how they have been processed. Myself, I prefer to just use raw bones.

Try to find bones that have been from pastured raised cows, free from antibiotics and growth hormones. Of if you have wild game bones, that is fine as well. Many natural pet food stores will have pasture or wild game bones. You can also check with your local meat shop as they usually know the source of there dog bones.

Before we opened our store and received our own bones to sell to people, I used to just go to the grocery store and buy chicken wings, legs, backs, etc., and just throw them to our dogs. They just crunched them up. Our dogs were used to eating a raw food diet and they were large dogs. Chicken and turkey necks were often served as well. These are mostly cartilage and great teeth cleaners.

If you would like me to evaluate your dogs diet, I would be happy to do so. Feeding a proper and balanced diet will give your dog the best chance at living a long, happy and healthy life.

If you do want me to look at the diet, respond back to this question and let me know everything that is in your dogs diet and include the brand names so we can look at ingredients.

I hope this has helped, let me know if I can do anything more.



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Roger McLeskey


Can answer all nutritional information for all dogs. Common problems with food, supplements, weight control, allergies, fleas, etc. Questions regarding raw food, homemade food, skin & coat issues, ect. Can't and/or will not do medicinal type questions that the vet takes care of.


I am certified in Dog Nutrition. Over 6 years now I've owned a natural pet food retail store. I've worked with hundreds of dogs and there owners to achieve better health. We promote a healthy balanced species related diet. This is the way nature made your pet to thrive. Fortunately for those who cannot or wish not to feed a raw based diet, there are alternatives with supplements and cooked food. Just don't let processed food be there only diet. Food is the most powerful medicine. Heal the core of the animal and the rest will take care of itself. We've turned the lives of many dogs around. There parents come back into the store and comment to us on how there dog acts like a real dog again. Our business is thriving and we continue to help many.

We work with Second Chance Companions, Must Love Dogs, members of ASPCA, HSUSA and started our own personal "Red Head Rescue" (non chartered) for stray dogs and rescue dogs from high kill shelters. We've been able to heal the many health ailments these dogs have and place them in good homes.

Dog Food Decoded - How To Choose A Health Diet For Your Dog and Your Budget - Available on Amazon in Kindle format or Paperback. Various articles for in store and web.

Certified - Canine Nutrition Level Three. Last 7 years I've been working with veterinarians, holistic veterinarians, attending seminars and best of all, real life experience with hundreds of customer dogs and cats. I've seen what works and does not work. Feeding a proper species appropriate diet works for most ailments. We've taken away our petís natural diet and caused most of todayís problems.

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Many satisfied pet owners coming to our store for nutritional help and advice.

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