Raw Bones – Natures Tooth Brush

raw bone

Just the other day I was performing the weekly check of everyone’s teeth. All of the cats teeth were in fine condition, Vitzy’s teeth were at the same level. Finally I got to Tucker, I checked his left side and everything was pearly white, when I checked the right then I noticed it… A broken tooth with root exposed on his top right carnassial… Damn…

I wondered to myself ‘What had I do wrong?’ & ‘What was different than any other week?’

Then I realized, the one thing that could have caused this was his ‘raw hock bone’ as Tuck doesn’t chew on anything other than dehydrated duck feet and his raw bones. I thought I was doing the right thing by providing raw bones to my pet. I did a little research, and I was right to a degree. Here are some of my findings:

Beef, Bison & Elk Bones
Hock bones, marrowbones (like soup bones and centre cut marrows etc), Dino bones and knuckle bones are among some of the hardest bones available on the market. They are all weight-bearing bones (and to think these animals often are more than 1000lbs in weight) so they are thick and sturdier than other bones. If staying with beef, bison or elk opt for non-weight bearing bones such as rib bones and neck bones as they are more maliable and less likely to fracture teeth.

Chicken & Turkey Bones
I’m still not too keen on feeding chicken or turkey backs and wings, just seems like too many little bones of different sizes. I think they could cause obstruction in a large dog if they don’t chew them down properly. Instead opt for turkey or chicken necks, as the bones in the next are more uniform in size and are easily passable to most dogs.

Other bones to consider
Lamb & llama bones are thinner in profile the the regular beef & bison bone. These are far more easily chewed down and are a better alternative to the larger weight bearing bones.

Pros to Raw Bones
– They help clean teeth by the friction of chewing and the availability of natural enzymes
– They keep dogs entertained and relieve stress
– Save money on unnecessary dental cleaning
– Alternative to artificial and raw hide dental chews

Cons to Raw Bones
– Can cause teeth to fracture and break, if not given an appropriate type of bone
– Dogs could choke on pieces if not supervised

More Information
Dogs Naturally – Recreational Bones
CAUTION: Bones Can Kill Your Dog – Find Out Which Ones Are Safe!
IVC Journal – Raw Bones


Elk Antler Chews


Elk Antlers are probably best known by their durability against strong chewers. They are all-natural, a novel protein source and a good treat for dental care.

Elk antlers are naturally shed by elk in the spring, and are cut down or halved for distribution to dogs. They are a great long-lasting chew as they do not splinter, chip or easily break. The marrow (or the inside) of the antler is what the dogs crave. For dogs who have not yet had an elk antler, starting with an antler with the marrow exposed and maybe a little bit of peanut butter on top is enough to get almost any dog onto this wonderful chew. For those seasoned dogs who know what they’re after, a fully enclosed antler will last much longer.

Being naturally-shed, antlers are less processed then almost any other treats, with no fillers, additives, dyes or preservatives and are also odour-free. They also contain beneficial sources of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, zinc and manganese. They are helpful when cleaning teeth as the surface abrasion of the antler to teeth will help remove plaque and tartar.

A couple precautionary measures are useful when giving elk antlers to your pets. Avoid giving elk antlers to puppies with milk teeth, as adult teeth are more dense and less susceptible to fracturing when biting harder objects. Also supervision should also be advised, if a dog is to chomp down with full strength there is still the possibility of fracturing a tooth or the possibility of choking on a small object if they have chewed it down completely.

Additional Resources

Dr. Foster Smith – Elk Antler Sizing Recommendations

Puppy Love – Elk

Food For Thought

What chews do your dogs enjoy?