#1: Sourcing Marrow Bones
The BEST place to obtain marrow bones for dogs is your local butcher, the meat counter at your grocer, or the frozen section of your local pet store. Why? Marrow bones need to stay frozen or refrigerated to prevent bacterial growth. Remember, marrow bones have meat attached to them. Meat SPOILS at room temperature. You don’t want to give your dog rotten meat.
If you’re at a meat counter, ask for the marrow bones to be cut on the vertical. This provides those typical half-circles you’re familiar with. The vertical cut is the safest for your dog to chew on. Horizontal cuts splinter.
Long femur bones prompt the most damage to teeth. Small neck bones are the most likely to get swallowed whole, causing choking or intestinal obstructions.
It sounds a little strange, but try to avoid marrow bones from older animals. The longer an animal lives, the more chances it has for exposure to environmental toxins. (You don’t want your dog chewing on that kind of thing) Lamb, chicken, and young cow bones are your best option. Try to avoid bones from pigs and ANY rib bones – they crumble easily.
The Pros of Giving Your Dog Raw Bones
Ask most raw advocates and you’ll hear that raw bones—from large marrow bones to chicken wings and thighs—play an important role in their dog’s diet.
Digestible bones like bird bones (comprising up to 10% of the diet) provide the necessary calcium your dog requires. These are small, raw bones your dog chews and swallows.
Large marrow bones are a recreational favorite and are also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals.
Our dogs like nothing better than a marrow bone. We’ve seen raw bones calm Irie during times of thunderstorms and fireworks as she keeps herself busy chewing (and chewing and chewing) that bone.
Raw marrow bones not only provide your dog pleasure but also help clean his teeth.
Should Marrow Bones Be Cooked for Dogs?
First, the easy answer: you should never give your dog or puppy cooked bones. Whether you’ve barbecued them, roasted them or boiled them, a bone that has been heated has been cooked–and that means you do NOT want to give it to your dog as a chew. Save it make your dog a nice batch of bone broth, a much safer way for your dog to enjoy the nutrients still found in the cooked bone.
The cooking process dehydrates the bones, making them far more likely to splinter and break. Splintered bones can puncture an organ and lead to life-threatening complications.
Beyond that, though, things get a little stickier with both pros and cons to giving your dog marrow bones.