Safe Raw Bones for Dogs

Dog chewing raw bone

Chewing is as natural for dogs as fidgeting when we are bored is for us humans. As soon as your puppy’s teeth start erupting, chewing becomes a way for them to relieve their aching gums. Anything within reach of your puppy becomes fair game if not properly kept away. Even as they grow up, dogs will continue to have the desire to chew, as it is hardwired into their behaviour.


Here are some reasons why adult dogs chew:


  1. Exploring their new surroundings, especially if they’re newly adopted or have been moved to a new area that they’re not used to.
  2. Self-soothing behaviour that helps with boredom and mild anxiety[1]. Chewing releases feel-good hormones that produce a calm and comforting effect for dogs.
  3. A form of self-care. The right chews can make a huge difference to your dog’s oral hygiene. They help to keep plaque away from your dog’s teeth, leaving them clean and white and also, prevents them from getting bad doggie breath.


While there are many options when it comes to chews, we favour safe raw bones for dogs because a fresh raw bone is teeming with natural minerals and it also keeps your dog’s jaw muscles, gums, and teeth healthy.


Is Giving A Dog Raw Bones Safe for Them?

Your dog’s digestive system is well equipped to digest raw bones. Their digestive juices can reach between pH – pH2[2] which is acidic enough to break down bone content safely. There is no harm in feeding them raw bones from the butcher if the bones have been safely prepared and if your dog is being supervised while they chew on their bone.


Choosing the right type and size of raw bone for your dog’s size, age, and chewing habits is important. Not any ol’ bone will do. Here are some of the best raw bones for dogs that are safe for them:


  • Raw chicken and duck necks
    Raw chicken and duck necks are approximately 50% bone and 50% meat, making them the perfect type of bones to feed if you’re just starting to introduce raw bones to your small to medium-sized dog. Chicken and duck necks are softer and more pliable compared to other bones, making them suitable for young dogs and senior dogs. In addition to containing B vitamins, potassium, zinc, and selenium, chicken and duck necks are also a good source of glucosamine and chondroitin for dogs, which can help support joint health.


  • Raw lamb and pork rib bones
    Raw lamb and pork rib bones are a good choice for a medium to large-sized dog who is just being introduced to raw bones. If you have a small dog, feeding rib bones is still possible, but you should monitor your dog extra closely while they chew on them. Vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, vitamin B1, vitamin B3, zinc, and calcium can be found in rib bones. Pork and lamb rib bones can be a good choice for dogs who are allergic to beef or chicken.


  • Raw chicken and duck wings
    Raw wings contain a good balance of protein, fatty acids, and calcium. In their natural form, the bone-to-meat ratio is well balanced. Chicken and duck wings are also suitable bones for dogs of all sizes, and highly recommended if you are feeding your dog raw bones for the first time.


  • Raw kangaroo and oxtails
    Bones from the tail are larger and slightly harder, making them more suitable for medium to large-sized dogs who have already been having raw bones for some time. Tail bones contain a variety of minerals such as magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorous, and calcium, and vitamins including vitamin A, D & E. They are also a wonderful source of fatty acids.


Other raw bones that are suitable for dogs of all sizes include: Turkey wings, duck feet, chicken feet, pig and lamb tails, duck & chicken frames.


Kibble-fed dogs should start with smaller, softer bones, like neck or wing bones. This will allow their body to adjust acidity levels to break down the bone. In time, they will be able to digest other types of edible bone.


Practice Safe Food Handling

It is important to remember that raw bones can carry a risk of bacterial contamination, so it is important to handle them safely and supervise your dog while they are chewing. Discard the bones if your dog is no longer eating or engaging with it after 15 minutes. Don’t forget to give your dog’s paws and mouth a good wipe after they are done eating. Properly clean and sanitise the areas where your dog was chewing their bone.


Types Of Bones To Avoid Feeding Your Dog

Please avoid feeding cooked bones at all costs. Once cooked, bones become brittle and can break and splinter into small, sharp pieces that can cut your dog’s mouth, throat, and other digestive organs. Not only that, cooked bones for dogs can also be a choking hazard and can cause severe constipation among other issues.


Marrow bones are they high in fat and may cause acute pancreatitis in susceptible dogs. Bones from the leg and shank are also very hard and your dog may be at risk of cracking their teeth while chewing these bones, so it is best to avoid feeding them.



[1] Gastric pH and gastric residence time in fasted and fed conscious beagle dogs using the Bravo pH system – National Library of Medicine, 24 April 2012

[2] Long-Lasting Chews Elicit Positive Emotional States in Dogs during Short Periods of Social Isolation – MDPI, 4 February 2023