Dogs have been hunting with us since the dawn of time and we’ve appreciated them and shared our meals. While everyone has heard the phrase ‘give the dog a bone’, is it really all that safe? Is it okay is the dog ate pork rib bone?
Pork rib bones can splinter more easily than larger bones like the pelvis or shoulder, though they’re meaty and more durable if they are raw. Raw rib bones, however, carry salmonella risk while cooked ones are fragile enough that there’s a possibility of them fragmenting and causing internal injuries. Your dog will probably be okay, but there’s definitely a risk.
In this article we are going to give you some facts about pork rib bones and your dog so that you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision on the subject. Yes, some dogs eat bones every day, but there are definitely some facts that you should know about this traditional doggy snack. Let’s take a closer look!
Table of Contents
Can dogs digest cooked or raw pork rib bones?
Dogs can digest bones but different bones will be easier to digest or more dangerous than others if your dog eats them. Pork rib bones, while meaty and fun to chew, are one of the dangerous variety, as the digestion can take a little longer and sharp bones in your dog’s belly can certainly do damage.
When selecting bones for your dog, you want to go with marrow bones, and they are going to need to be raw. You can often make a deal with your local butcher and get them fresh every week, which will minimize chances of salmonella and other raw-bone pitfalls.
Cooked bones are definitely NOT recommended. Baking and frying, for instance, dry out the bones and make them much more brittle and thus, more dangerous for your dog. If you need to soften the bone for your dog and sterilize in in the process, then 30 minutes in boiling water should do the trick, but raw is still best.
Raw bones are more durable and have more nutrients to them, though keep in mind that you can always invest in a chew toy instead for a much safer and modern way to give your dog that chewy ‘bone’ that they are craving.
How long does it take a dog to digest a bone?
This will vary a lot on the type of bone, as well as the size and density, but generally thicker bones will be digested within 8 to 12 hours. Some bones, like chicken bones, even dissolve instantly in a dog’s stomach, though you’ve probably heard that they are dangerous and this is very much true.
The danger with chicken bones is that they splinter easily while your dog is chewing them, so your dog is basically putting sharp bones in their throat and these can do damage well before they hit the stomach.
While 8 to 12 hours is the usual digestion time for bones, we should note that sometimes it can take as many as 2 days before your dog can fully digest particularly dense bits of bone.
What can I give my dog to help pass a bone?
When your dog steals a bone that you didn’t intend to give them, there are a couple of things which you can do to help increase the chances that it will pass through their systems more safely.
Feeding your dog bread is one way to so this, as it can expand in the stomach and help to cushion the bones, while stimulating the production of more stomach acid to effectively dissolve them.
A large meal of dry food can do this, as well, although if your dog is a picky eater than the bread approach might be the best. While some dogs will turn their nose up at the same, old dry food, they tend to get excited with bread, especially if stick a piece of lunchmeat in to make a ‘surprise sandwich’.
That said, you should still call your vet to let them know that your dog has eaten a bone and you should tell them the type if you know – with some bones being more dangerous than others, you can get quick control of the situation if you’re dog has managed to eat one of the riskier varieties.
Should I take my dog to the vet if he ate rib bones?
Ideally, yes, unless you are talking about a thick pelvis or shoulder bone, which are fairly safe if you watch your dog and take the bone away if it appears too fragile. While the odds are pretty good that you that a larger dog will be okay, with smaller or older dogs you’ll definitely want to check with the vet.
Dogs have been sharing parts of our meals for a long time and a dog with a bone is practically iconic, but while they are certainly equipped to digest them there is still a chance that the bones could break and become sharp and dangerous.
Chew toys are definitely out there which are tough, long-lasting, and even flavored to make sure that your dog doesn’t feel that they are missing out, so this alternative is well-worth considering.
After all, there is definitely an appreciable difference between ‘this MIGHT hurt my dog, but probably won’t’ and ‘this definitely won’t hurt my dog’, especially if you have to make a panicked visit to the vet from an unlucky bone that could have been avoided.
Some closing comments on giving your dog a bone
If your dog ate a rib bone, then it’s a good idea to call your veterinarian, as rib bones can be a bit on the dangerous side. Good alternatives are chew toys or if it has to be a bone, make sure it’s a marrow bone and thick like a pelvis or a shoulder bone.
Raw is safer than cooked, as cooking can dry out or otherwise challenge the integrity of the bone and lead to possible splintering. Finally, it can take up to 2 days for your dog to digest some bones, though it will typically be done in 8 to 12 hours.
While a bone probably won’t hurt your dog, there is certainly a potential risk to be acknowledged, but now that you have the facts then you should be able to work out a strategy that both you and your dog will be happy with!