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Can Dogs Eat Rib Bones? The Wrong Kind of Bone Can Kill Your Dog

Can dogs eat rib bones? With their wolf ancestral roots, dogs love chewing bones. But not all bones are good for your dog. Cooked rib bones are on the unsafe list. In general rib bones are not ideal for your dog. Smaller breeds could chew on raw rib bones, but larger breeds can crunch them too easily. Knowing the safe type from the dangerous can potentially save your dog’s life. Or at least save you unnecessary vet bills.

Some believe that you shouldn’t feed your dog any type of bone, but as long as you follow the safety guidelines of which type of bones to feed your dog, you can occasionally give your dog a juicy bone to chew on.

Can Dogs Eat Rib Bones? The Dangers of Cooked Bones

Can Dogs Eat Rib Bones?

Can Dogs Eat Rib Bones?

Cooked bones are the most dangerous type of bone to give your dog. A dog’s jaw is much stronger than a human jaw. You won’t be able to crack through a rib bone with your most vicious bite, but for your dog it’s ridiculously easy to do.

Choking Hazard and Internal Injuries

Once you’ve cooked a bone, it becomes extremely brittle. One big doggy bite and the rib bone will start to splinter. By the time your dog is ready to swallow the bone, sharp shards and chunks would have been created.

Firstly this could cause your dog to choke when attempting to swallow the pieces, easily becoming lodged in its throat. Bones can also cause damage to your dog’s mouth and tongue. But the more dangerous element of these shards, is when the pieces of bones hit your dog’s intestines, literally poking holes into your dog’s insides. This will cause excruciating pain as well as internal bleeding. Additionally it can cause Peritonitis, a tricky bacterial infection.


Inflammation of the pancreas is caused when a dog’s diet consists of too much fat. Especially pork rib bones have very high fat content. Plus, when you cook meat, you add various spices that are also harmful. Symptoms of Pancreatitis include lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting and appetite loss. It can be fatal if not treated, so if you suspect that your dog is suffering from this condition, you need to visit the vet immediately.

Intestine Blockages

Can dogs eat rib bones? Your dog might be able to break a rib bone into small chunks, but the chances of even small pieces becoming stuck in its intestines, are quite high. The problem is that the rib bone pieces might be too big to move through your dog’s gut and it will then cause a blockage in the gastrointestinal tract.

These kinds of obstructions are very dangerous and can be fatal if not treated quickly. A blockage can start to cut off circulation to the surrounding tissue area and the areas will start to die. If your dog starts vomiting or suffering from diarrhea for a prolonged period after eating rib bones, you need immediately take it to the vet. These blockages can’t be dealt with at home on your own. Another problem caused by the blockage occurs in the descending colon. This means your dog will have difficulty defecating and could also start vomiting. Again, this problems needs to be dealt with by a vet.

Which Bones Are Safe For Dogs To Eat?

Can dogs eat rib bones? Because they usually fall under the cooked bones category, it’s not advisable to give your dog rib bones. A healthy alternative, is raw bones. But these should only be added into your dog’s diet occasionally, and only after you’ve double checked with your vet.

Raw bones can offer your dog much needed nutrients from the bone marrow and the bone itself. It’s also good exercise for your dog’s jaw muscles and provides great mental stimulation. But it should only be an occasional treat, not a daily diet addition.

Edible bones are hollow, non-weight bearing bones such as chicken wings or turkey necks. These don’t contain marrow and you can easily crush them in a meat grinder. You should not feed these to your dog, because they can easily splinter. Rather add the grinded bones into your dog’s food as an occasional supplement – they are rich in trace minerals, phosphorus and calcium.

Recreational bones are big chunky ones such as a beef femur or hip bone with marrow. Although they don’t really add any nutritional value to your dog’s diet, they do have some other great health benefits. Firstly, it will keep your dog entertained, a fun mental and physical challenge. It will also provide your dog with a great dental clean up, breaking down the tartar formed on its teeth and preventing gum disease.

Do’s And Don’ts of Recreational Raw Bones

The most important thing to remember when feeding your dog bones: stay away from cooked bones. The bones need to be raw – not even boiled, baked or steamed. And you need to keep a close eye on your dog while it is enjoying the chewy treat.

Make sure to remove the bone before it is chewed down to the brittle part where it will start to splinter more easily. Also, if you notice any excessive blood on the bone or your dog’s mouth, immediately remove the bone. It’s crucial to remove the bone before it becomes the size that your dog can swallow it. It’s best to give your dog a fresh bone in a space you can easily clean up, like in its crate or on a towel. The bone will become very greasy and gooey before your dog is finished with it.

Tip: if you have more than one dog, make sure you separate them when feeding bones. Dog can become very territorial when busy with a juicy chewing treat.

Make sure you check with your vet before feeding your dog raw bones. If your dog has a predisposition towards pancreatitis, you need to stay away from feeding it bones because of the rich marrow. You could create a “low fat” version, thaw the bone and scoop out the marrow.

Giving bones to bigger dogs are tricky. Their jaw strength give them the capacity to easily crush a bone and attempt to swallow it whole. Try to find a big knuckle bone that matches the size of your dog’s head. This way the dog can’t open its jaw wide enough to crunch down on the bone. Knuckle bones or soup bones can be bought at your local butcher or found in your local supermarket.

The best time to give your dog a bone, is after a meal. A hungry dog will not just leisurely chew on the treat, it will try to gobble it down in one go. Stay clear of leg bones, the cut bones will splinter more easily.

Can dogs eat rib bones? Not as a recreational bone, no. These bones fall into the category of bones that splinter too easily.

A Healthy Alternative to Feeding Raw Bones

If you feel uncomfortable with giving your dog raw bones due to health concerns, a great alternative is an edible dental bone. These are completely digestible. The high-quality chewing treat will give your dog the same great mental and dental benefits as a raw bone.

But stay away from low quality chewing bones. These are usually not completely digestible and often contain harmful ingredients such as artificial sweeteners, gelatin as well as cancer-causing additives and preservatives. Check on the packaging that it says 100% natural ingredients. Also make sure it does not contain soy, corn, gluten, extra fat or sugar and animal byproducts.

Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Rib Bones?

Rib bones are not ideal for dogs. Unless you have a very small dog and you give it raw rib bones, you should refrain from feeding your dog rib bones. And don’t feed your dog any kind of cooked bones. But dogs do need the regular jaw exercise and dental cleaning sessions, luckily there are healthy alternatives to provide this stimulation.

What’s your experience with offering your dog a chewy treat? Ever experience any bad consequences from the wrong type of bone?