Dogs are carnivores, so it seems like a natural idea to buy them bones—manufactured or real meat products—to chew on. Some people, however, are stepping away from raw products because of health and safety concerns. In recent years, multiple companies had to recall their rawhide chews because the product had come in contact with chemicals that were making dogs sick. And that’s not the only reason you should be concerned. “We have to realize there’s a health hazard not just for our dogs, but also for ourselves,” says Dr. Jerry Klein, the chief veterinarian of the American Kennel Club. An outbreak of salmonella recently spread to humans who handled pig ear chews for their dogs.
Besides contamination, there are a few other safety concerns that come with purchasing animal products for your pup to chew on. Antlers, for example, are very hard and can cause dental fractures. Marrow is very high in fat content and can exacerbate gastrointestinal issues. Cooked bones can easily splinter and get trapped in the esophagus, intestine, or the jaw bone. “I think I’ve seen every area where a bone can get stuck,” says Klein. “The messiest parts are bone fragments get stuck either in the small intestine, which can be dangerous or even worse, in the large intestine where they cause severe constipation.”