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Can dogs eat deer bones? Raw?

Most dogs love nothing more than to lie around in the sun and chew on a good old bone to pass the time. It makes sense that a dog would enjoy eating a bone, but have you ever wondered if giving them any kind of bone is okay?

Deer bones are a great source of nutrients, minerals, and entertainment for your doggo. But some kinds of bones can be dangerous and even deadly for dogs. 

Let’s look at which types of deer bones dogs can eat. Should they be cooked, and how safe are they?

Can Dogs Eat Deer Bones?

Dogs can eat deer bones in moderation, and they are a great source of nutrients and minerals. Giving your dog a deer bone now and then is great for their well-being and dental health. Supervise your dog when giving them a deer bone in case the bone splinters and hurts them.

Let’s take a closer look at some benefits and risks of feeding your dog deer bones: 

Benefits of Eating Deer Bones

Feeding deer bones to your doggo has numerous benefits, such as:

  • The act of chewing releases endorphins (feel-good hormones), so when your dog chews on deer bones, it’s an excellent stress reliever.
  • Chewing on deer bones is rewarding for your dog. Part of the enjoyment is getting to the soft marrow inside the bone.
  • Deer bones are a natural source of calcium for dogs, which boosts their immune system and strengthens their teeth and bones.
  • They are a healthy alternative for dogs that are allergic to rawhide bones.
  • Deer bones have a high protein and fat content, which is fantastic for your dog’s general well-being. 
  • These bones are great to use when training your dog. They have a distinct smell and are an excellent tool for teaching your dog to sniff something out.

Risks of Eating Deer Bones

When it comes to feeding your dog any bones, it’s always vital to monitor them. Let’s take a look at some risks involved when giving deer bones to your dog:

  • Deer bones shouldn’t be given to larger dogs such as Great Danes. The bones are a lot smaller and can be a choking hazard. It’s best to feed larger breeds of dog lamb, pork, or beef bones.
  • Sometimes when dogs (even smaller breeds such as a Jack Russel) chew on a bone for an extended period, the bone can splinter, causing a choking hazard or intestinal damage.
  • The shards can chip or break your dog’s teeth if the deer bone splinters. The sharp edges can also pierce their gums or tongue, leading to dental issues.
  • If your dog chews aggressively and finishes a bone quickly, this will lead to the bones splintering and causing intestinal issues.
  • A risk with any raw bone is the chance that it may have bacteria such as E. coli or salmonella. These can cause troublesome side effects such as vomiting, excessive diarrhea, fever, and lethargy.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Deer Bones?

Dogs can eat raw deer bones as they have enzymes that break down the harmful bacteria in raw meat. A dog’s digestive system is also designed to eat raw meat. Dog’s also benefit more from eating raw bones than from cooked bones. Raw bones are less likely to splinter than bones that have been boiled or cooked. 

Before dogs were domesticated, their ancestors’ diet consisted mainly of raw meat and bones. Over the years, their diets have changed, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still occasionally enjoy chewing on bones. 

Feeding your dog raw deer bones (with some meat and grizzle on it) is the best and healthiest way for them to eat or chew it. Unlike humans, dogs can safely consume raw meat and bones because of their digestive systems. 

Raw deer bones also freeze well, which means you can store them for longer. 

Cooking or boiling deer bones can be dangerous for your dog, making it easier for the bone to break and splinter while being chewed. The shards of bone can cause several issues for your dog, such as:

  • Broken teeth
  • Injured mouth
  • Perforation of the intestines
  • Vomiting
  • Hunching and whimpering from pain
  • Bloating
  • Loss of weight

When you boil the bones, you are also removing most of the nutrients from the bone and meat, which means your dog is not getting all the benefits from chewing on bones.

Keep these considerations in mind when feeding raw deer bones to your doggo:

1. Purchase deer bones from a reputable butcher or hunter. Raw deer bones can contain bacteria such as salmonella, which will make your dog ill.

2. Let your dog chew the bones outside, as the juices and pieces of meat can create quite a mess.

3. Once your dog has finished their bone, rinse their mouths out and bathe them. The juices can get stuck in their fur, which leads to an unpleasant odor.

4. Avoid buying cooked deer bones as they don’t contain as many nutrients and minerals as the raw kind.

5. Supervise your dog when they are chewing on bones, as little shards are still able to break off and cause injury. 

Are Dogs Able to Digest Deer Bones?

Dogs can digest deer bones. They have strong stomach acids and grinding stomach contractions that break down the bones and meat so it can be properly digested. However, some factors influence how well they can digest a bone, such as the size of the bone, the type of bone, and the quality of your dog’s teeth.

While feeding bones to dogs does have many benefits, some bones can crumble, making adequate digestion a bit more difficult due to the sharp edges of the bone.

Good digestion of bones depends on:

  • How big the bone is
  • What type of bone you have provided (knucklebone, kneecap, leg)
  • If your dog has good, strong teeth to chew the bone
  • The size of your dog
  • If your dog is a calm or aggressive chewer

What Types of Deer Bones Should Dogs Eat?

Your dog should eat deer bones that are suitable for their body size and chewing preference, and should be based on the quality of your dog’s teeth. Deer bones such as knuckle bones, femur, tibia, pelvis bones, and ribs are good options.

Not all types of deer bones are safe for your dog to chew on. Here’s a closer look at some good deer bone options to give your dog:

  • Long bones such as the femur and tibia are the best option for large dogs and prevent boredom.
  • Epiphysis (known as knuckle bones) is an excellent option for medium-sized dogs that are aggressive chewers.
  • Flat bones such as the ribs are soft and don’t contain a lot of marrow. These bones are perfect for puppies (not as rich as long bones) or small breed dogs.

Kneecaps are the perfect bone for all types of dogs. Monitor your dog closely as these bones don’t last long. Larger dogs have been known to swallow them. These bones also assist in preventing arthritis as it contains glucosamine (a natural compound found in cartilage).