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Game bones?

1094 Views 14 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  TGKvr
I've found some mixed stuff with a general search.

Thoughts on giving game bones (elk, deer, antelope) to a dog? Anything you need to be extra concerned about with them vs a beef bone, aside from watching for the runs (I know game is a lot richer than beef, so I just figured I could slip some pumpkin in his dinner as a precaution and because he loves pumpkin anyway!)?

I usually buy Quill RMB from the store, but a friend recently got an elk and dropped off a bag of bones and soon my BF and I should be able to get a couple of antelope. So if I can just salvage the bones for Quill rather than having to buy some, I'm all for it!

The only thing I could think of having to worry about is possible bacteria that maybe a beef bone from the store wouldn't have, but they are good and cared for as obviously we want the meat from the bones! Anyone else feed game bones and have thoughts on it? Thanks!
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Same as any other bones.

Elk weight bearing bones, uncut, are some of the only things I can give my dogs. They are large enough for them to not try to crack down the middle and large enough that they really need to gnaw instead of crunch. I can't do scapula because they just crunch it like a chip.
Okay that's what I figured, but since I have never fed them to a dog, wanted to hear some outside thoughts! Thank you!

Quill will be thrilled. The bag is quite full! I've been struggling to find any at the store that are big enough. They used to cut them large, but recently started cutting them into tiny pieces that Quill can't have and the butcher where I can get them is out of the way, so it will be nice to have some coming in from game!
I get wild game scraps/parts from hunters fairly regularly. At the moment my freezer has a bunch of white-tail deer parts (...mostly legs, complete with hooves) from my neighbor. I freeze for a while first, but I'm not just working with bone - I'm working with intact, recognizable body parts for the most part and well I'm mildly concerned so. Freezing.
The only raw I give my dogs are beef ribs, which don't last long but are soft enough not to do damage, and beef femur heads which I have to remove at a certain point, and I only get it if it's cut in a certain way.

I gave Soro a deer leg once, like hock down to the hooves. He ate the whole thing within an hour. I gave him a skinned deer skull and he ate it down to the teeth. And that's how I learned I can't give him whitetail bones at all :D
The only raw I give my dogs are beef ribs, which don't last long but are soft enough not to do damage, and beef femur heads which I have to remove at a certain point, and I only get it if it's cut in a certain way.

I gave Soro a deer leg once, like hock down to the hooves. He ate the whole thing within an hour. I gave him a skinned deer skull and he ate it down to the teeth. And that's how I learned I can't give him whitetail bones at all :D
Eh, I don't actually mind Thud eating the legs. It's very much one of my 'do as I say, not as I do' things.

So, no one else do that. It can cause problems and is a bad idea and somewhat risky.
I thought about the scraps and some other pieces too! We'll have little tidbits leftover from our pronghorn, so I thought maybe dehydrating them into treats would be a good idea. When butchering he usually gets a little scrap here or there. I'm not sure if the bones will be big enough from the pronghorn to stand up to his teeth since he's a hard chewer, but I did think about the possibility of ribs. Given pronghorn are usually killed fairly close to roads, it wouldn't be a bunch of extra work to pack out the ribs and some extra scraps of meat for him, plus we always have extra scraps when butchering.

The elk bones are nice because they are big so I think he'll be able to just gnaw on them like he does the beef bones. In fact, he's enjoying one right now. He's not quite as obsessed with them as the beef, which is interesting...like when I give him a beef marrow bone, you can't pry him from his kennel for a few hours while he works on it. This one he only chewed for maybe 40 minutes before leaving it. He went back a moment ago, but just not the same excitement as the beef!
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My dogs totally treat different proteins differently!

And yeah, Sor didn't do horribly after he ate the deer leg. Maybe a half day with rock solid poops and then one or two looser stools. But since he eats so quickly I was concerned about blockage. Even right now, both boys are enjoying beef ribs and there's this bone piece on the end that they both eat. EVERY time Brae has eaten it he throws it up around 12 hours later. Soro is fine. We'll see what happens this time. I actually let Soro start one and take that end off first then gave it to Brae, and gave Sor a fresh one :D Actually, both dogs have been great about indigestibles coming out of either end. But since they both eat the same way (ie, sometimes too-large pieces and sometimes things they shouldn't), I'm on high alert.

Slightly off topic, but I don't know what it is (maybe plain luck) that gives some dogs blockage and other dogs not. A lady with a Dutch puppy lost hers over a blockage causes by a 1 in x 1 in piece of fabric. Sobering. Yet Brae has eaten probably 10x that much fabric, in larger chunks, and he passed it through. Even both times I almost took him to the E-vet, he just passed it all. Soro's thrown up aluminum foil and plastic wrap back in the day. Lucky, I guess...
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I suspect Thud is actually breaking them down further/chewing more. I mean he consumes them but he hasn't even had digestive upset (constipation/diarrhea) from them and he's had a few over the years. Probably just different guts or chewing or something, yeah.

I don't either. That poor lady and dog. I've been really fortunate. Molly eats a lot of stuff that's Not Food, but mostly we manage to catch it and make her puke it up - at least as far as I know. She has gotten somewhat better with age, thank god. The only other dog who eats things definitely nto food is Kiran and he only wants toilet paper/kleenex, which while not ideal worries me less.
When I first got Quill I was typical helicopter puppy mom, terrified by ANY little thing that he could eat because I didn't want a blockage. Meanwhile, my BF was like "That is NOT going to kill him...my dog once ate an aluminum can and was fine, she ate all kinds of things when she was a puppy!" So, yeah, very odd the things that can cause digestive blockages in some dogs and not others (and also, had to point out to him that just because one dog miraculously passed those things, doesn't mean they all will!). That's awful for that lady and the dog!

Quill is good about chewing things well for the most part, and if he over indulges on a bone and accidentally breaks off a too-big piece before I can stop him, I just get the joy of a puke overnight. Only once has he ever gotten into something I was worried about blocking him, and luckily I caught it fast enough I could make him puke it up. Otherwise, he doesn't really consume much he isn't supposed to and even as a puppy wasn't awful about it -- thank goodness! But he is a hard chewer, so I have to watch him closely with the bones or he WILL break pieces off. But the elk bone seems to be good and maybe even more ideal thanks to him not being super obsessed with it. The beef ones hold up, but this one might not hold up to obsessed Quill ha!
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Well. Like clockwork, he just threw up a piece of bone. Same size as always. 12 hours, like I said!

I guess no rib bones, or I'll try again when he's much older. Femur heads only for now.
Our farm dogs got into a lot of hunting scraps. They loved the bones with hooves still attached.They loved pretty much any big bone from a carcass, really, and smaller bones we typically gave to the cats. No problems with them. They were typically frozen because they were outside, but sometimes they would be a bit thawed, and nobody got sick. I would recommend regular deworming with game bones, though, just in case something manages to survive freezing.

Only problem we had was when one dog got into the gut pile. Horribly rotten gas, but he was a very happy dog.
Luck and different guts. Max would throw up cooked gizzard after 3 days yet easily ate chicken, pork, rabbit and venison bone. He passed a whole chicken neck when he neglected to put some tooth marks in it but a gizzard couldn't be passed.

Canyx, are you taking the little wiggly bone off the end of the rib? Part of the spinal column I believe. Sassy would swallow those, Max gave them to me. Don't remember Sassy having any trouble with them just seems a really bad idea to give her something to swallow whole. It comes off pretty easily once you do a little probing with a boning knife.

Lucky dog getting real game bones. Just be wary of teeth grinding on heavy leg bones. Slab fractures.
Yeah, it's the part that's part of the vertebra. It's just how they cut it, but I'm not doing rib again anytime soon :D
Without any actual scientific research to back this up, I'd venture to say any wild game bones will be better than bones/meat purchased in stores simply due to the differences in processing and treating meats. But that's just my gut reaction as someone coming from a hunting family that also happens to lean toward crunchy.
My dog has found several deer skulls which seem to be the holy grail of wood finds for her. I have to take them away because she'll try to devour them but I worry about the bits and pieces because they crack off into sharp edges. The sounds she makes when she finds a bone and starts crunching on it make me a nervous wreck. Of course in these situations, they're not necessarily that fresh and so aren't soft anymore. I've given her a fresh deer leg and femur before and she loved it but honestly it wasn't worth the anxiety I had while worrying about whether or not she'd crack a tooth or cut her gums or choke on a too-large piece or.... you get the picture. Paranoia!

She seems to have a pretty sturdy constitution though... twice now I've lived through anxiety due to her getting into bathroom trash that happened to have used tampons in it. I was horrified that she'd have an obstruction or a string would get twisted around her intestines... just a miserable day while watching her vigilantly and poking through every poop. Now trash is under the counter. And despite her love of fresh bones, and her having strong bully jaws, I'm not cut out for it. LOL!
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