If you have some baby back rib bones left over from a barbecue, you’re probably wondering if you can give your dog one as a treat.
Although it seems like a good idea, feeding dogs pork rib bones can actually do more harm than good. Cooked rib bones are a choking hazard and can cause serious digestive harm to dogs, and really should be avoided as much as possible.
The team at Barks in the Park will happily explain why pork bones are a no-go. Don’t forget to check out our homepage if you want to learn more about feeding and caring for your fur baby!
Table of Contents
- 1 Is It Bad for Dogs to Eat Rib Bones?
- 2 How to Incorporate Rib Bones into Your Dog’s Diet Safely
- 3 What Are Some Dog-Safe Alternatives to a Rib Bone?
- 4 FAQs
Is It Bad for Dogs to Eat Rib Bones?
Dogs have a natural desire to chew, so giving them rib bones seems like a logical choice. The biggest issue with feeding dogs pork rib bones is that they’re simply a choking hazard.
Although the idea is that the dog is meant to only chew on the bone, many dogs will attempt to break it down and swallow the pieces. It just tastes so good!
If your dog doesn’t immediately choke, the bone fragments could prove to be a problem during digestion. It is not uncommon for swallowed bones to get stuck in a dog’s digestive tract and cause severe internal damage. Sustaining such an injury could be life-threatening and even fatal – that’s the last thing you want when giving your dog a tasty treat.
Chewing on bones can also cause problems for your dog’s teeth and mouth. These hard bones could crack or loosen teeth, and the splintered bone fragments can cause injury to your dog’s mouth.
To be safe, don’t let dogs eat cooked bones of any kind!
How to Incorporate Rib Bones into Your Dog’s Diet Safely
So, can dogs eat rib bones? Not exactly. BUT, there are some ways for you to let your dog enjoy this treat a bit more safely if you choose.
Giving dogs rib bones under supervision – maybe
Some say that a dog can be given a bone to enjoy as long as they are supervised while they chew. Although this may be true in some cases, it’s not always so clean cut.
Larger dogs are at less risk of choking on bones, but their jaws are strong enough to crush and splinter the bones into sharp pieces that can easily be swallowed unnoticed. This is especially true of rib bones which are smaller than many other animal bones.
Small dog breeds shouldn’t be given dog bones, even if under supervision. They should also be absolutely off-limits to the flat-faced, short-snout Brachycephalic breeds. The risk of choking is too high for them as it would not take much to block their airway.
Raw bones vs. cooked bones – is one safer?
You may be wondering if it is okay to buy your dog raw pork rib bones to chew on since cooked pork bones are off-limits, but again this is something that should be avoided.
Although raw bones are softer and less prone to splintering than cooked bones, they come with their own safety concerns.
We recommend dogs don’t eat raw pork bones because of the potential food poisoning risk. Leaving out raw meat and bones creates the perfect conditions for harmful bacteria to grow, which could make your pet sick.
To avoid upsetting your dog’s gastrointestinal tract with unwanted bacteria, it is best to avoid raw rib bones in your dog’s diet altogether.
Give your dog the bone marrow only
Your dog might enjoy chewing pork rib bones thanks to the tasty bone marrow found inside. Not only is bone marrow tasty, but it is also nutritious.
Sounds good, so how can you let your dog enjoy this tasty snack if they can’t chew the bones themselves?
Well, because it is not a good idea to let dogs eat pork bones (cooked or uncooked), there is a way for dog parents to harvest the marrow. Simply cook the bone, then use a knife to scrape out the inside. It’ll be easier if the butcher is able to cut the bone lengthways at the time of purchase.
If you want to give your dog rib bones, this is the only way we’d really recommend you do so. Although they won’t get the enjoyment of chewing on the bone, they are sure to love the taste of the bone marrow.
What Are Some Dog-Safe Alternatives to a Rib Bone?
If you would really like to give your dog a bone, bigger bones such as beef bones are best. Large bison bones are also okay. Dogs are unlikely to be able to crush them up or swallow them whole, but still supervise your pup as they chomp on the bone!
That being said, beef rib bones should be avoided as they are on the thinner side and can more easily be broken into sharp pieces. Beef bones should also be sourced from a vet clinic or a pet food store to make sure they have been processed properly and won’t make your dog sick or put them in danger.
Avoid giving your dog these kinds of bones:
- Chicken bones
- Fish bones
- Ham bones & pork chop bones
- Pork rib bones
- Lamb bones
- Smaller beef bones
- Turkey bones
Chicken bones and turkey bones are notoriously not safe for dogs as they are smaller and more hollow than pork, beef, or lamb bones. It doesn’t take much force to splinter them into hazardous shards, especially if they’re brittle from being cooked. If you’re a meat eater, you’ll probably know this from your kitchen adventures.
If your dog is looking for something to chew, or your puppy is teething, you can also supply them with a chew toy designed for chomping or some tasty dog dental treats. Some even look and taste like real animal bones so they don’t have to miss out on the fun!
Can I give my dog rib meat?
You may be thinking that if the pork bones are the problem, then the rib meat alone should be fine. Although dog feeding tips might suggest lean pork meat cooked without seasoning is okay, rib meat should be ideally left out of their diet.
But why? Well, there’s simply too much fat in rib meat. Feeding dogs such rich table scraps can cause obesity and other long-term conditions. In the short-term, it can cause digestive upset, resulting in vomiting and diarrhea. It is best not to let dogs eat pork products that aren’t designed for them, whether that’s raw pork bones or the meat itself.
Additionally, the seasoning and barbecue sauce usually found on pork rib bones can be harmful to dogs. Ingredients in these sauces that are delicious to us like onions and garlic can be extremely dangerous to our furry friends.
If you’re interested in reading more about potentially harmful ingredients found in human food, our guide on whether dogs can eat egg white might be interesting.
Can I give short rib bones to my dog?
No, it is not a good idea. Although it may seem safer to feed short rib bones because they’re smaller, they can still get stuck in the dog’s throat, stomach, or intestinal tract. Additionally, smaller bones break apart into fragments easier. It really is best not to let your dog eat rib bones of any kind.
Can dogs eat fish bones if they’re tiny?
These bones are dangerous because they can be so small and needle-like. Dogs most probably could chew these bones without a problem, but they’re likely going to swallow whole fish bones in the process and risk puncturing their insides. It’s really best if dogs eat bones only if they’re big enough to chew safely.