The benefits to your dog of the great taste, teeth cleaning capabilities, chewing benefits and nutrients need to be weighed up against the potential risks. Lamb bones, especially cooked ones, can chip your dog’s teeth. In rare cases bones splinter, and pieces can block or damage your dog’s insides.
Feeding bones to dogs is quite a controversial topic. Only you can make the right personal decision for your dog, as their owner. Assess the drawbacks and benefits of lamb bones for your dog, and decide whether you think this treat is worth the risk.
Can Dogs Eat Lamb Bones?
When feeding bones to your dog, raw is always best. Never feed your dog lamb bones from your plate after dinner. Cooked lamb bones are more brittle than raw bones. Bone splinters are sharp and can cause internal damage. Even raw bones have their risks however, as the hardness can cause broken teeth and the lack of cooking means bacteria might be living on the bones or meat.
Your dog will love the taste of raw lamb bones, and any meat on them. Bones can offer nutrition, soothe boredom and promote dental health. But is there a better way to get these benefits for a kibble or raw fed dog?
The Benefits of Lamb Bones for Dogs
There are two ways people offer lamb bones to dogs.
Lamb bones and meat can be given as part of a BARF (Bones and Raw Food) diet. Or owners may offer a large, hard lamb bone for their dog to chew on, like a lamb shank bone.
Offering your dog a lamb bone to chew on can be beneficial in terms of added dietary calcium. Chewing lab bones is entertaining for your pup too. Raw feeding bones also helps clean teeth, remove dental calculs and reduce gum disease.
The Risks of Feeding Lamb Bones To Dogs
Dogs can eat lamb bones, but there are some risks. The risks of lamb bones aren’t specific to this type of bone. In fact, they apply to all large bones given as dog chews, including beef, oxtail, and more. The major risks of lamb bones as a chew, or even as a part of a raw diet are:
- Nutritional imbalances
- Broken teeth/dental injuries
- Internal blockages/injuries
- Potentially harmful bacteria
- Increased guarding behavior
Lamb bones offer your dog vital nutrients, but so does their commercial kibble or wet canned food diet. Commercial dog food is already nutritionally balanced, your pet doesn’t actually need a top up.
Treats should be 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. Studies show that homemade raw dog diets are at higher risk of nutritional imbalances than commercial meals.
Risk of Dental Problems
Lamb thigh bones, shanks and shoulders are thick and hard. Hard bones can shatter teeth, and veterinary assistance is expensive and painful. Bone can also occasionally scratch your dog’s mouth or get stuck in their gums. Ouch!
Internal Blockages and Injuries
Raw or cooked bones can splinter when chewed. These pieces could present a choking hazard or cause internal damage.
Signs of internal injuries from swallowed bone include:
- Vomiting and/or retching
- Whimpering/signs of pain
- Decreased appetite
If you think your dog has suffered internal issues from swallowing a small piece of bone, you should take them to the veterinary surgeon straight away.
Potentially Harmful Bacteria
Raw bones bring a concern over bacteria in their surface. This concern is for your dog and family, especially young kids. Personal hygiene and cleaning routines are essential to lower this risk.
Increased Guarding Behavior
Lamb bones take a while to consume, and dogs love them. Therefore they don’t want to share. If you decide to remove the bone your dog might be unhappy, growl or even snap. Make sure young children aren’t left unsupervised with an eating dog, and that they learn to read dog body language to avoid a dog bite injury.
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website