Have you ever wondered why wild wolves have beautiful clean teeth? It’s because they chew on raw animal bones with cartilage and soft tissue still attached.
Eating bones is instinctive in dogs, but it is vital that you consider your dog’s health when satisfying his craving. Your local pet shop is the best place to buy a tasty dog bone. A traditional butcher will put aside some suitable bones for you, too.
A Neapolitan Mastiff with a good, raw, meaty beef bone
Choose a raw bone that is bigger than your dog’s jaw and doesn’t break easily. It might take him a few hours to finish eating it but he will enjoy every minute.
Always keep an eye on your dog when he is eating a bone as there is always the risk of choking on slivers of bone, even with ones that are labeled "safe".
Uncooked large bones will not break in your dog’s mouth – they are meant only for chewing. They don’t actually offer any nutritional benefits, but they do provide your dog with mental stimulation and great oral care. Beef bones are best, and will keep your dog busy for hours.
Raw poultry bones – such as necks and wings – make highly nutritious snacks for a dog. They are fine as long as they’re not cooked – that’s when they become a choking hazard, as they are likely to splinter. This applies to any animal bone – raw is good, cooked is bad.
A dog loves his bone - but make sure it's the right kind of bone
Dangerous Dog Bones
Never give your dog cooked bones, which can splinter, or ones that are small enough to choke on. Cooked bones can cause lots of damage to your dog’s mouth - broken teeth, bleeding gums and a cut tongue. The broken bits can also get stuck in your dog’s throat, stomach and intestines causing horrible injuries. This is one of those black and white issues – never feed cooked bones.
Eggs For Dogs
Eggs are highly nutritious for dogs. If you give your dog an egg every so often you will soon notice an obvious improvement in the shine of his coat, but make sure you put it in his bowl – mixed in with some dry food is a good idea – otherwise you’ll end up with a big sticky mess on your kitchen floor!
"Pssst...! Got any eggs?"
Raw Eggs Or Cooked Eggs?
Some people say that you shouldn’t feed your dog raw eggs because of the risk of salmonella, but salmonella poisoning is very rare in dogs and unless the eggs are cracked when you buy them or collect them, they should be fine. If you’re giving your dog an egg, you can give him the shell as well. He’ll love crunching it up to find the nutritious gooey reward inside. Alternatively, you can always crack an egg on top of your dog’s food.
Fish is a fantastic source of protein and omega-3. Omega-3 is beneficial in many ways, from boosting brain development to making doggy coats nice and shiny. It is, however, really important that you remove the bones, as dogs bolt their food and can easily get a bone lodged in their throat.
Not just for cats - dogs love fish too. This Border collie is enjoying a herring
Some people recommend feeding dogs whole raw fish as part of their raw diet, but to ensure that your dog doesn’t get injured we recommend cooking the fish and removing the bones. Fish bones can potentially harm your dog’s mouth or digestive system. Cooking the fish also kills any harmful parasites. Some fish, particularly salmon, can contain parasites that are extremely harmful to dogs.
Grain / Cereal / Rice?
You will notice that commercial dog foods tend to contain a variety of grains, cereals and rice. A dog that is fed solely on a grain-heavy dog food diet (i.e. almost all average- and low-priced dry dog food) may start to show signs of ill health. Poor skin or fur condition or increased lethargy are common symptoms of poor nutrition.
The fact is, all dogs need more than cereals or soya-based meat substitutes. Feed your dog a basic diet of meat, with eggs and fish to supplement, and he will thrive and remain strong and active. Read our section on a Raw Meat Diet to help you incorporate more protein and less cereal into your dog’s meals.
The secret to a long, healthy life for a dog is diet heavy on the meat and not too heavy on the cereals
You might notice that a dog on a grain-based diet eats rather a lot. You'll also notice that a large percentage of it comes out the other end! This is because the nutritional value is so low and it passes right through. If his poop is loose or liquid, it is sign that things are very wrong inside. This won’t always be due to his diet, but it’s certainly one of the symptoms.
Boiled Chicken And Rice For An Upset Stomach
Puppies are particularly at risk of stomach upsets, but a dog at any age can become ill. A bland food that is easy on the stomach is often the best remedy in this case and most vets will recommend a few meals of plain boiled chicken and rice.
A bowl of chicken and rice will settle things down if your dog has a slightly upset stomach
If when returning back to normal feeding your dog has persistent diarrhoea, constipation, itchy skin or ear inflammation, consult your vet to see whether your dog might be allergic to something in the food you’re using.
Dogs will happily eat your household leftovers - but be very careful. Human foods tend to be salty and/or sugary, with ingredients such as onions and dried fruits, which are not good for dogs. Leftovers should therefore not be given to dogs out of habit. If the food in question is good for dogs, include it in their evening food bowl, rather than as an added extra in the day. See here for more on this subject.
Store-bought treats are a different matter. While these shouldn't be given all the time, and while they should never be used as a substitute for a dog's regular balanced diet, treats are very useful when training your dog. Choose top quality varieties - Omlet stocks some suitable brands.