Our vet assured us that, generally, dogs can safely eat bones, and we are careful to choose the softer ones, like brisket bones and chicken necks. Dr Tom Lonsdale, whose work I admire, says:
Dogs are more likely to break their teeth when eating large knuckle bones and bones sawn lengthwise than if eating meat and bone together.(The address for this article is www.rawmeatybones.com/diet/exp-diet-guide.pdf)
It seems that bones are generally safe if they are contained in a carcass, like a whole chicken carcass or a rabbit. (I bought a rabbit today and was horrified to find that it cost $25! I remember the 'good old days' when rabbits were dirt cheap.)
The other vet at the clinic said that Penny's teeth (the remaining ones, sigh...) are in excellent condition and he commented that she must eat lots of bones.
The question that bothers, me, though, is whether the original bone that did the damage - if indeed it was that- was frozen. At the time we used to let her have frozen bones. We don't now.
On the Barfworld site I read that:
Wild dogs do not eat regular meals. Nobody plans their meals. Nor do they have an all meat diet. On the other hand, no one single meal is complete and balanced. Raw bones with meat are a major part of their diet. Lots and lots of it! In the winter they dig up and eat frozen food. They eat offal such as liver and heart. They eat raw eggs. They eat decaying material. Food that is slightly off.I notice that it doesn't refer to frozen BONES.
At an interesting and informative site about canine dental health, the author, Dr Pitcairn, says you should give dogs bones because, even though we can put our tongue in between our teeth and the inside of the cheeks to clean out remaining food, dogs can't, because their teeth are too sharp. Wild dogs keep the outside teeth clean by gnawing on bones.He says that if you watch your dog eating bones you will notice that she uses her side teeth in a sliding motion along the bone. This scrapes off any leftover food. His tips for feeding with bones are:
1. Feed bones that are too large to be swallowed.Tom Lonsdale, on the other hand, says also:
2. Give only raw bones as cooked bones will splinter and can cause stomach or intestinal damage when swallowed.
3. Do not give frozen bones as they can be too hard and cause the teeth to break.
4. Start animals young with this practice and they will adapt to this with intelligence. The older animals, first introduced to this practice can try to swallow pieces too large.
Raw meaty bones can be fed frozen just like ice cream. Some pets eat the frozen article; others wait for it to thaw. Small carcasses, for example rats, mice and small birds, can be fed frozen and complete with entrails. Larger carcasses should have the entrails removed before freezing.After weighing it all up, I've decided that Penny won't get frozen bones in future, no matter how much meat is on them. (As I write this she is patiently waiting for a bunch of chicken necks to thaw out.)