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Discussion Starter #1
Got our puppy 2 months ago (He's 9 months old) and am looking for alternatives to rawhide (which he loves.) I bought a hollow marrow bone from petco, and have been filling it with some dogfood. He licks the dogfood out, and chews on the bone a bit (but not like he would a rawhide chew.)

My question is, I've read other threads where people mention "raw bones"---is this considered a 'raw' bone? And, does it need to be in the freezer in between? I'm sure this thing will take him forever to finish (He's a 7 lb. Havanese.) How long should I keep it? Will it get full of bacteria, or will freezing it in between uses stop that from happening?

I'm totally clueless about what kind of 'bones' he should and shouldn't have... Like, can we give him rib bones (like leftovers from dinner) or do those splinter? Someone once said to get a marrow bone from the grocery store meat department, but do I need to boil that first?

Thanks so much for any suggestions/answers!
Joanne
 

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I haven't used them personally, but I know that you want bones that have not been cooked, or they will splinter. The ones you get at Petco have been cooked. Usually, people give them raw meaty bones. I'm sure someone else will come along with more information for you!
 

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My small breed dogs eat a raw diet. So they are accustomed to "eating" (crushing and swallowing) bones every day. But they also get "recreational" bones that are meant for them to have for gnawing and playing with, not crushing and swallowing.

My dogs range from 7.5 - 12 pounds so they are about the same size as yours. For recreational bones I would try a long beef rib bone (the kind that come in slabs for the bbq). Just cut them apart, cut off the meat leaving just shreds here and there for your dog to work on (or as much meat as you are comfortable with), and keep them in individual baggies in the freezer to pull out as needed. Usually my dogs get the bone the first time to enjoy out on the patio so I don't have to worry about any meat bits ending up on the carpet. Once they have cleaned off the bone they are free to have it in the house for 3-4 days. I've noticed after that amount of time that the bones become dry and have a brittle consistency. So then I take them away and offer a new one.

If it doesn't bother you your dog can most likely manage "eating" a chicken wing. There really isn't much meat on it, so it's not a meal, but there is a lot of good cartilage and plenty of stringy tendon type stuff to floss and clean the dog's teeth as they chew it down. If you are unsure of your dog's ability to chew things down, just give the wing tip and middle section, cutting off the mini-drumstick looking last joint. The wing tip and middle section have very little bone, mostly fibrous stuff.

If you are thinking of recreational bones, think anything too big for the dog to swallow...go to a good butcher shop and they can usually help you out. I avoid any large animal (beef, sheep, pig) weight bearing bones though, like leg pieces. Weight bearing bones of large animals are very dense and your dog can fracture a tooth on them. I would lean more towards ribs, neck, tail, shoulder, ...

My dogs also look forward to bully sticks (one dozen 12" sticks at Costco for $20, very cheap compared to the pet stores), stuffed kong toys, and rope toys to chew on.

We avoid anything made of rawhide (highly processed, chemically bleached, can gum up and cause fatal obstruction in the gut), made in China, or containing lots of fat / calories.
 

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Wow! Thank you for all of the great information! One more question... If I give rib bones that we've eaten, obviously they are cooked. If I get them right from the butcher (just the bones) do I need to cook them first (to get rid of any bacteria?) If so, how long and what temp will be sufficient? Thanks again, I really appreciate the help!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So....*don't* give him rib bones to clean off like the other poster suggested? If I get them from the butcher uncooked, don't I need to be concerned that he'll contract salmonella or something from it?
 

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Speaking as a Breeder,I will tell you that rawhide is not good! Not digestable and a choking threat. Try Merrick Foods and they have Sows Ears. They are great for pastime chewing and digestable too
 

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Speaking as a Breeder,I will tell you that rawhide is not good! Not digestable and a choking threat. Try Merrick Foods and they have Sows Ears. They are great for pastime chewing and digestable too
Thanks---that's why I'm looking for an alternative to rawhide...
I thought pig ears were a choking hazard as well? I have steered away from them for that reason. I have to say, I never thought it would be so difficult to find a reasonable option for my dog to gnaw on! It's so frustrating that pet stores carry isle after isle of unsafe products.... it's pretty hard to figure out what is what.
 

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The rib bones with meat to gnaw on should be totally raw. And since you have one small dog and ribs come in a slab, you will most likely be freezing them, taking them out as needed. The freezing will further reduce any bacteria. But dogs have no problem with bacteria in general. My dogs are fed a raw diet daily, have been for a quite a while now, and they have never been sick...any kind of sick. They only see the vet for annuals. Our youngest dog even likes to take her rib bones and bury them in the pasture, dig them up when she feels like it, and then proceed to eat the meat. Still no problems.
 

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I also feed raw and give my dog raw rib bones for chewing and I have never had any issues either. But I will tell you this, when you tell people who have never researched a raw diet that you are giving your dog anything that is raw they act like you have lost your mind. I thought the same thing when I first heard of feeding raw, but would never go back to commercial kibble again. Raw bones are great for large and small dogs!!!
 

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If you know anyone that hunts - find out if you can get a hold of a deer antler. It's the only thing that's lasted a reasonable length of time since she chews a lot. She's a 30lb brittany - so it should last a long time for a 7 lb dog. It's great because it's not smelly and you don't need to freeze it.
 

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Hi...I give my dog soup marrow bones from the grocery store -- I do not cook them -- I put them in the freezer and freeze them separately-- I take it out about an hour before I give it to him -- he eats all the marrow out and then gnaws on the bone -- I let him keep the bone for about 2 days and then throw it out --

If your dog eats all the marrow out at once -- he might not be that hungry that day because it is very rich -- so don't worry if he isn't too hungry that night.

Just check the bone periodically to make sure he hasn't cracked it.

I do give my dogs cooked prime rib bones & ham bones sometimes too -- just don't leave him alone with it -- if you hear him cracking it -- take it right away
 
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