Barbequed pork chops or a nice rack of smoked ribs makes for a sumptuous meal – a cocktail of delicious flavors, strong and savory aroma, and a mouthwatering taste.
You’re done wolfing down the buffet of meaty goodness, and you’re left with some pork bones. You notice your Labrador hungrily eyeing your leftovers while smacking his lips.
Do wide puppy eyes, a drooling mouth, and a hungry stare sound familiar? Why not share this tasty treat with Chewy?
Although there’s nothing inherently toxic to dogs about cooked pork, bones are a tricky issue.
Are Bones Good for Dogs?
Gnawing on bones is a favorite pastime for dogs. Bones can benefit dogs both physically and behaviorally.
- They are a rich source of calcium and phosphorus, vital for bone growth and proper physiological processes such as heart health, muscle contraction, and blood coagulation.
- The connective tissue in the raw bones is like a toothbrush and prevents plaque and tartar buildup, preventing gum disease and giving your dog a healthy smile.
- Raw bones are rich sources of protein and fat – 2 essential macro-nutrients for canines.
- Chewing on raw bones is a good exercise to strengthen your pup’s neck and spine muscles.
- Bones are the perfect boredom buster for dogs that suffer from separation anxiety or scratch and lick their paws excessively.
- Dogs, especially puppies, love chewing on bones to relieve stress and soothe teething pain.
- Bones are suitable for keeping high-energy dogs such as the Belgian Malinois occupied and calm for a while.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Bones? Which Ones They Can and Can’t
Can Dogs Eat Pork Bones?
Pork bones are off-limits for your four-legged family member. If your dog is on a raw diet, raw bones are a healthy addition but only when ground up with other meats. Plus, irrespective of the bones you decide to give your pup, you should never cook the bones.
The type of bone doesn’t matter since there’s still potential for damage, be it a pork chop or pork rib. But the bone consumed and the size of your Fido are worth considering.
Bigger dogs can handle bones much easier than their smaller counterparts because of their roomy intestines. However, there’s still the possibility of health risks in both cases, so avoid raw and cooked pork bones for your dog.
Even though raw bones are safe, cooked bones (smoked, boiled, steamed) are hazardous for dogs. The cooking process leaves them soft and brittle, and they can easily splinter and choke or injure your dog.
Raw pork bones should be treated as raw meat, so ensure you refrigerate them within 15 to 20 minutes of being out and dispose of them after three days. Slivers of the bones can perforate the digestive tract causing sepsis and death.
Can Dogs Eat Pork Rib Bones?
Baby back rib bones are not suitable for your four-legged best friend. The best bone for your dog should be more significant than the size of your dog’s head. If the bone can fit entirely into your dog’s mouth, you shouldn’t let him chew it. An enormous bone doesn’t present a choking risk. On the other hand, pork rib bones splinter easily and cause damage.
What Happens if My Dog Eats Pork Bones?
Raw bones are somewhat soft and flexible, so they do not splinter easily, meaning your Fido can chew and digest them better. Plus, raw meat is more nutritious than cooked meat. But pork bones can be problematic.
There are several risks associated with feeding your dog pork bones, and it’s not worth consciously endangering your pup’s health by feeding them your table scraps from that lunch’s barbeque. Let’s explore each risk in detail.
Bone Splinter Damage
Raw bones can splinter into tiny shards in your dog’s mouth and puncture soft tissues. The splinters can cause lacerations on the stomach lining and intestines during digestion and lead to internal bleeding.
Consequently, you’ll notice abdominal pain, lack of appetite, and diarrhea in your dog. Worst case scenario; your dog might need invasive surgery to save its life.
Pork bones can also obstruct the gut. The bone can get stuck in the throat even before reaching the stomach. Excessive coughing or salivation after tossing your dog a bone can be a sign that there’s a problem.
If you suspect your pup has chomped down a pork bone, seek the help of a vet immediately. Symptoms can take up to 72 hours to manifest, and even if the bone passes through their stomach, your dog won’t digest it, so there’s a possibility it will get stuck along the intestine.
An obstruction along the gut can restrict blood flow and cause severe illness or death. Signs include diarrhea, fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, and a change in appetite that doesn’t resolve within hours.
Your pup can fracture its tooth during a chewing session. While not life-threatening, it’s a harrowing experience. You’ll need to rush them to the animal clinic for dental extraction under anesthesia.
Raw pork bones are breeding grounds for bacteria such as salmonella and E.Coli which can leave your dog with a nasty illness. Your dog can even pass these bacteria to your family and make the entire household sick.
Too many bones or a large bone can get lodged in the colon and rectum and cause constipation. Your dog will need an enema, under anesthesia, in case of a buildup of pork bone fragments in their colon.
It is when your dog’s abdominal cavity is inflamed, and there’s a buildup of fluid that can cause severe illness. Inflammation occurs when there’s a wound or injury on the abdomen.
Alternatively, it can be due to a rupture of the colon or appendix from a sharp bone. Symptoms include diarrhea, loss of appetite, repeated vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, and lethargy.
My Dog Ate Pork Bones. What Now?
Did Fido manage to sneak a pork bone from your plate? Don’t panic. Don’t discipline your pup, at least not now, or you’ll traumatize them even more. Follow these steps instead to salvage the situation:
Monitor your Dog
Examine your pup for signs of distress such as choking, gagging, pawing at their mouth, heaving, excessive drooling, vomiting, irregular bowel movements, or blood in the stool.
They need immediate medical attention, so phone your vet right away.
Do not attempt to dislodge the bone from your dog’s throat unless it is visible and there’s no chance you’ll further injure your dog.
After 48 to 72 hours, if your poodle isn’t exhibiting any symptoms, you’re probably out of the woods. But ensure it can’t be at risk of eating pork bones in the future. And if it begs for it while you’re barbequing ribs, give it its regular treats instead.
2. Tidy up
Clear up any bone bits and secure your dog in a safe place like a different room or a crate as you clean up. You don’t want them to ingest any more leftover pork bones. Take note of what’s missing and determine the size and quantity of bones they might have swallowed.
3. Call your Vet
Get in touch with your vet immediately for advice, even if your dog isn’t showing any signs of distress. Large bones are the most significant risk.
Your vet should guide you on the next steps. They’ll monitor your pup for symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, bloody stool, lethargy, and discomfort.
4. Don’t Self-treat
Avoid making your pup sick unless your vet advises you to. Inducing vomiting in your canine after eating pork bones can put them at further risk, especially if the bone gets stuck and pierces through the lining. You don’t want to worry about more health damages.
5. Look out for Changes
Monitor your pup for any negative behavior changes that prolong after a few hours and rush it to the vet clinic. But, if you’re lucky, your dog may pass out the entire pork bone or splinters in their poop within 48 hours.
Your vet will recommend you “pad” their tummy with pumpkin, bread, or other foods that help solidify stool around any foreign item in the gut.
Depending on your dog’s condition, the vet will decide on the best course of action, including hospitalization, sedation with anesthesia, intravenous fluid therapy, antibiotics, x-rays, and surgery.
What Bones are Best for Dogs?
The best bones for your pup should be “O-shaped,” soft with some cartilage. Poultry bones such as the neck, wings, back, and feet are preferable. Pork feet, tail, beef ribs, venison, lamb, and ox are good alternatives. Lamb and beet bones are safe as long as they are big enough.
Also, granulated rawhide is a good option since it’s easy to chew and gentle on your dog’s tummy. Always ensure your dog’s teeth are harder than the bone you chose to avoid their teeth fracturing.
Ask for raw bison, venison, or beef knuckle-bones at your local butcher. Femurs, feet, tails, and ribs are good options if you can’t find knuckle bones.
Tips for Feeding Dogs Bones
- Buy frozen and keep frozen: Cold temperature prevents bacterial growth. Freezing? A minimum of two weeks is adequate to kill any parasites and bacteria. When you’re ready to toss your pup a bone, defrost and thaw one at a time. A frozen bone can crack your poodle’s teeth.
- Never leave your canine alone with a bone: Ensure you supervise your pup during the bone time to ensure they don’t bury it in the yard. Your dog could go back to it later and get sick from some pesky bacteria.
- Scoop out the bone marrow: Although tender, fatty, and juicy, the bone marrow can irritate the tummy of your pooch, causing vomiting and diarrhea, especially if they are new to bones, have a sensitive stomach, or have pancreatitis.
- Consider dental issues: Dogs with a history of malformed jaws, cracked teeth, or dental surgery shouldn’t chew on bones. Same case with older dogs. Gnawing on hard surfaces could re-crack their teeth and cause inflammation and pain.
- Dog breeds matter: Certain dog breeds like the brachycephalic family have naturally soft jaw bones and teeth. These include Pugs, Bulldogs, Shi Tzus, and Boxers. Instead, you can give them dental sticks, carrots, or cucumbers.
- Be wary of starving dogs: A bone shouldn’t be a meal replacement or appetizer but a snack. Avoid feeding your hungry dog a bone. Your pup might chew too hard and injure its mouth or attempt to swallow it and have a blockage.
Best Alternatives to Pork Bones for Dogs
Considering all the potential risks of feeding your four-legged friend pork bones, it’s best to seek a bone alternative. Safe replacements for pork bones include:
- Tough rubber toys
- Bully sticks
- Chicken necks
- Cow Ears
- Large beef bones (raw)
If you still have some questions regarding pork bones and dogs that we haven’t yet answered, keep reading to find answers to some commonly asked questions.
Are pork bones safe for dogs?
Pork bones of any kind are not suitable for dogs. It’s best to stick to dog-friendly treats to avoid risking the need for emergency vet trips. Although large bones can pass through the digestive tract and be expelled in your dog’s poop, they can cause an obstruction.
Smaller bones can fragment and damage the throat and stomach lining. Plus, raw pork bones are laden with pesky bacteria and parasites.
But my dog ate pork bones before?
Even if your dog got away with munching on pork bones, it’s not a good idea to intentionally expose him to the risk. Fido might not be lucky the second time. Although most dogs will be okay after eating a bone, there’s also a chance they won’t, so it’s best to avoid it entirely.
What about ham bones? Are they safe for dogs?
Like raw or cooked pork bones, you should avoid feeding your fur baby commercially packaged ham bones at all costs. They still present the same risks and can cost your dog a visit to the ER.
How long before my dog passes pork bones?
The answer depends on your dog’s size, age, breed, and regular diet. Usually, the bone will pass after 24 hours, but some pups can take over 48 hours to pass the pork bones.
Can pork bones kill dogs?
Yes, though rare. Mostly it happens when a bone splinter punctures the esophagus, a duct running from the mouth to the stomach through the lungs, chest, and heart. When the esophagus lining is ripped, bacteria, fluid, and blood can seep into the chest cavity and cause a life-threatening infection.
My dog loves Pork bones. What can I give them instead?
Consider rewarding your furry companion with a chew toy instead of a pork bone. The good thing with a chew toy is it’s sturdy enough to last a while even with regular chewing and can be readily digested when swallowed. Good news for your diehard pork-loving pup: tasty pork-flavored chew toys are available.
Ensure you supervise your pup during playtime and replace any toys showing signs of wear. A safe way to feed your dog pork bones is to prepare broth and make popsicles or add it to their food.
Make it a rule to leave dinner leftovers on the table away from your canine companion. We understand you might find it heartbreaking to ignore those pleading eyes, but pork bones are a no-no for your pup’s health.
Also, consider securing your trash bin from scavenging dogs. You can find a safe, healthy, and tasty bone alternative for Chewy. Remember to consult your vet before adding new foods to your Fido’s diet.