Cats and dogs often eat bones in the wild as they are natural hunters and meat eaters. Bones have a couple of functions like including some much-needed minerals and helping animals maintain healthy teeth and gums. However if not done correctly, allowing pets to eat bones can result in choking or injured intestines.
Serve raw bones
Raw bones tend to be more flexible and bend rather than snapping. When they do break they tend to break in one spot rather than shattering, leading to less shards that can pierce your animals flesh. This mimics the natural diet of wild animals, who eat prey that they have killed or freshly scavenged prey. Raw bones can still get stuck in the gullet and cause choking so it's good to avoid smaller bones that can easily get stuck in an animal's throat. This is a common issue for dogs chewing on chicken carcasses or cats chewing on fish scraps.
Avoid cooked bones
Cooked bones are more likely to shatter when the animal chews on them. Additionally, the cooking processes tend to make the nutrients such as calcium less available to the animals that eat them, making them a less valuable nutritional item in a pet's diet. If you do suspect that your pet has chewed on a cooked bone (for instances if they have been rummaging through the rubbish for dinner scraps). It is a good idea to get a vet to look them over if they appear in any distress as bone shards can lodge in the intestine leading to constipation or even sepsis in severe cases. The vet can attempt to locate the bone and remove it.
Avoid bones altogether
Bones are no longer needed in a domestic animal's diet as prepared food is full of the necessary minerals. Pets can get the same dental benefits from chewing on commercial dental chews or raw food such as hide snacks and chicken necks. These are available from most pet stores or from the vet clinic. If you are wanting advice on the best way to optimise your pet's dental health through diet, talk to a vet.
Pets often enjoy the chance to chew on a bone. As there are some risks associated with eating bones, it should be carefully planned and supervised by the owners. If your pet seems to have a bone stuck, it's important to take them for immediate vet attention.