Feeding dogs bones has long been a source of controversy. Some experts have concerns that raw meat, including bones, can have bacteria that can make your dog sick.
Proponents of a more natural diet for dogs claim that feeding them bones will improve their health, because it’s full of nutrition.
Everyone agrees on one thing, however. Never feed your pooch cooked bones. When it comes to pressure cooked bones, this may not hold true.
Can dogs eat pressure cooked bones?
Perhaps you’ve cooked a meal in a pressure cooker and you are wondering if you can feed your dog the bones. Perhaps you want to begin making meals for your pooch in your pressure cooker.
These situations leave you wondering, can you feed your dog pressure cooked bones?
Why Other Types of Cooked Bones are Off the The Table
When bones are cooked using other methods, including boiling or baking, they become brittle. This makes them much more likely to splinter than raw bones.
When bones splinter, the shards can cause injuries to your dog’s mouth and digestive tract. They also pose a choking hazard.
Never feed your dogs bones that are cooked by any method other than pressure cooking.
What About Pressure Cooked Bones?
If cooked bones are unsafe, what makes pressure cooked bones different? When bones are pressure cooked, they become very soft. In fact, if they are cooked long enough, they will begin to crumble.
When they are in this state, they pose no danger to your dog. It’s impossible for them to splinter.
It’s also less risky than feeding raw bones. First, raw bones can be a choking hazard. The risk of this is pretty low, but it is there.
The risk of bacterial contamination is also eliminated. Dogs have a highly acidic stomach, which can counter many types of food-borne bacteria. They are at a much lower risk of food poisoning than humans. However, it is still possible for them to become sick from e-coli or salmonella.
Pressure Cooking Bones
Pressure cooking bones isn’t an exact science. It does require some trial and error. The altitude, the type of bone, and the pressure you are cooking at will all affect how long it takes to cook the bones.
Most people advise cooking bones at 10-15 pounds of pressure. It takes at least 1 hour to cook chicken bones. Beef bones can take 3 to 4 hours.
When cooking the bones, add them to the pot. Then add water. Set the pressure and start cooking.
You’ll know the bones are done when they are crumbly. If the bones aren’t very soft or crumbly, simply cook them a bit longer.
Nutritional Benefits of Pressure Cooked Bones
Bones have an excellent nutritional profile with nutrients your dog needs. There’s some debate about whether pressure cooking reduces the nutritional content of bones.
Some experts believe that some of the nutrients may be lost in the cooking process. Others claim that pressure cooking can make nutrients, particularly calcium, more bioavailable.
What we know for sure is that pressure cooked bones are a great source of calcium, phosphorous, and collagen. These components are not damaged during pressure cooking.
From this perspective, pressure cooked bones are as healthy, if not more so, than raw bones. Of course, science isn’t perfect. There’s still an argument to be made for feeding dogs the diet of their ancestors, including raw bones.
However, if you simply want to increase your dog’s intake of collagen, calcium, and phosphorous, pressure cooked bones are a great way to do so.
Stomach Upset from Pressure Cooked Bones
Generally, pressure cooked bones are very healthy for your dog. However, it can cause stomach upset. This can occur if your dog isn’t used to eating bones.
Dogs’ digestive systems are adaptable. This is why most dogs do fine on a mostly carnivorous diet, or a diet that is high in carbohydrates. Their systems will adjust to what they are eating regularly.
However, if there’s a fast change, it can cause digestive upset. This is why it’s recommended not to change your dog’s food all at once. Instead, start with a small amount of the new food, and gradually increase the amount of new to old food.
The other potential cause of stomach upset from cooked bones is if your dog eats too much. Think of a child at a birthday party. They will eat cake and ice cream until they make themselves sick, if the parents allow it.
Dogs can have the same tendency, particularly with a tasty treat like bones. It’s up to you to be sure that you are introducing pressure cooked bones into your dog’s diet gradually, and not giving them too much.
What to do if my dog eats pressure cooked bones?
If your dog eats pressure cooked bones, just let them enjoy it. It will not cause them any harm. The only concern is if your dog isn’t used to eating bones, or consumes more than they can handle.
How Many Bones Can a Dog Eat?
If you want to feed your furry friend pressure cooked bones, its’ important to know how much they should be eating. It will also depend on your dog’s diet.
If they are eating a raw diet, 10% should be raw meaty bones. If you are feeding them as a supplement to a traditional dog food diet, one to two bones a week is the recommendation.
Too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing. A diet too high in bone can cause nutritional deficiencies in other areas, and weight gain.
Treating Stomach Upset
If your pooch gets an upset stomach from eating pressure cooked bones, you can care for them at home.
First, you’ll need to feed them a bland diet. Chicken and rice are easily digestible, allowing their system to rest and repair.
Give them 2 parts rice to 1 part chicken. For example, if you feed them 1 cup of food, you would give 2/3 a cup rice and 1/3 cup boiled chicken.
After 1 to 2 days, begin transitioning them back to their regular diet. Start with 1/4 regular food and 3/4 bland food. Increase the regular food by 1/4 every 1 to 2 days.
If they have diarrhea, you can give them imodium. Give them .04 mg per pound. This means a 50 pound dog would receive one 2 mg tablet, which is the standard human dose.
If you have a small dog, you may find it easier to give liquid imodium. A 10 pound dog would receive .4 mg, or about 1/4 of a standard human dose. This can be repeated every 12 hours until symptoms subside.
If your dog has the opposite problem, and becomes constipated after eating bones, pumpkin is a great natural remedy. The fiber in pumpkin can help get things moving again. It’s also great for the digestive system overall.
The recommendation is to give 1 teaspoon of pumpkin per 10 pounds of body weight. You can increase the dose if needed, but don’t give them more than 1 tablespoon per 10 pounds of body weight. Don’t exceed 4 tablespoons for large dogs.
Famotide is often recommended for dogs with stomach upset. It is an antacid which can help settle stomach irritation. You’ll give .5 mg per pound of body weight.
Can dogs eat pressure cooked fish bones?
Those pesky bones in fish can pose a serious danger for humans and dogs alike. They are certainly a choking hazard, and there’s a slight chance that they can cause intestinal perforations if swallowed.
Fish bones from the pressure cooker, however, are perfectly safe for your pooch. In fact, you can eat them too. Small fish bones will cook very quickly. For larger bones, you’ll simply need to increase the cooking time.
Can dogs eat pressure cooked chicken bones?
Yes. Chicken bones are the most well documented type of bone that is pressure cooked for dogs.
Merrick Canned Food
There is at least one dog food company that includes pressure cooked chicken bones in it’s food. Merrick has three wet canned food recipes that include both the bones and meat of chicken.
Merrick includes chicken wings and thighs inside three recipes. These are Smothered Comfort, Wingaling and Gameday Tailgate.
According to Merrick, pressure cooking makes the bones completely safe for your furry friend. They state that the process creates a soft bone that can be served whole, or broken into pieces.
The foods have been on the market since 2004, giving them a clear history of safe use.
Can dogs eat pressure cooked beef bones?
Yes. Just like other types of pressure cooked bones, pressure cooked beef bones are a great treat for your dog.
Can dogs eat pressure cooked rib bones?
Again, the answer is yes. Any type of pressure cooked bone is safe for your pooch, as long as they’ve been cooked until soft.