San Francisco Raw Feeders (SFRAW)

"Big or small, we feed them all!"

On Feeding Marrow (and other “recreational”) Bones vs. Raw MEATY Bones

with 4 comments

One of the risks associated with feeding marrow bones.

Yes, we do sell marrow bones and other recreational bones, but when we do, the sale *always* comes with a heavy dose of education and a gentle warning that these bones are, indeed, the most dangerous ones that we sell and should only be fed to dogs for which you are fully confident can enjoy them safely.

What does “enjoy them safely” mean?  It means your dog will not bite down hard on them or chew vigorously on them. The right candidate for enjoying these bones is one that will carry the bone around for days (or weeks) and lick it gently. Be sure to select a bone that has been cut to a safe size for your dog’s mouth (not too small to become a swallow risk, and not a risk for getting caught on their jaw, as pictured here).

Weight bearing bones from large animals (like cattle) are very dense. They can fracture your dog’s teeth and will break up into sharp shards when broken/cracked, which is a safety issue. Marrow bones are usually cleanly stripped and well-trimmed of attached meat, then cut down to size, during the butchering process. The modern “fit for human consumption” butchering process removes the important, nutritious and useful meat, connective tissue, and hide attached to this bone (as nature provides) to safely and properly cushion the ingested bone fragments during digestion.

These bones can also get caught in your dog’s mouth or jaw – and if swallowed, they can do some serious damage.

Marrow, gelatinous and knuckle bones are all considered recreational bones — which are also referred to as WRECkreational bones because of the problems they may cause. We strongly recommend & promote the feeding of raw MEATY bones – which are different than the recreational bones.  Below you can find our feeding suggestions for raw bones. If your dog can safely manage marrow bones, that’s great, and we have them here for you — but please make sure that you are aware of the risks associated with these particular types of bones before offering them to your dog.

Here’s a good article that reviews the issues with marrow bones.

Other places to learn more about this issue can be found here and here and here.

The below list of raw bone suggestions was originally written & complied in 2005. Note: We no longer sell Niman Ranch brand products (we are lucky enough to get BN Ranch turkey & beef from Bill Niman’s current operation now!) and we have a lot of new products and producers available these days, but this gives you a good idea of things to try with your dogs & cats. The TIPS listed at the top are relevant & important to review.

Raw Bone Suggestions from SFRAW
TIP #1
The larger and meatier the bone, the safer it is to feed. Look for bones that are the size of your animal’s head (they will not be able to swallow the bone whole or without chewing first). Bones that are cut into small pieces are more of a risk to feed as they can be swallowed whole without being chewed. Feeding bones/parts the very same size of your animal’s throat are the most dangerous as they can get lodged in the esophagus; animals can misjudge their ability to get the piece down their throat safely.
TIP #2
If a bone is not super meaty ‘as is’, feed it as a topper or dessert to a portion of muscle meat (ground, stew or trim), organs/offal, soaked/cooked or sprouted grains, or pulped veggie/veggie-fruit mix. Feeding boney bones alone without enough non-bone material (meat, organs, or other bulk) may cause constipation or an impaction.
TIP #3
Do not feed long or weight bearing bones unless you have an animal that carefully chews the meat off the bone or licks the marrow out of the bone only. Do not feed these bones if your animal is apt to bite down hard, chip off pieces and/or crack them open. Long and/or weight bearing bones are most prone to splitting or cracking into sharp shards. These are the types of bones that are more likely to cause obstructions, intestinal perforations, get lodged in the roof of the mouth, and cracked teeth when chomped on.
Weaning / Very young puppies or kittens(will gnaw on these bones while learning to eat them safely)
Chicken necks
Chicken backs
Chicken wings
Duck necks
Rabbit, cut
Oxtails, cut in half
Pork necks (they will chew, but not consume)
Pig feet / trotters
Bison tails
Turkey necks
Cornish Game Birds, whole or cut into big pieces
Quail, whole or cut in half
Goat bones
Lamb necks
Lamb breast
Tiny-Small Dogs + Adult Cats(some dogs may be smaller than adult cats and need bones cut down to size)
Chicken necks
Chicken backs, cut in half
Chicken wings
Duck necks, cut in half and lengthwise
Duck, whole cut into pieces
Rabbit, cut
Pork necks, cut (just recreational for some)
Beef necks, cut
Oxtails, cut in half and lengthwise
Bison tails, cut in half and lengthwise
Turkey necks, cut in half and lengthwise
Turkey tails, cut in half
Cornish Game Birds, whole or cut into big pieces
Quail, whole or cut in half
Goat bones, cut
Lamb necks, cut
Lamb breast, cut
Lamb flaps, cut
Medium-Large Sized Dogs
Chicken necks
Chicken breast
Chicken backs
Chicken wings
Chicken feet
Chicken carcass
Chickens, split or quartered
Duck necks
Duck carcass
Duck feet
Duck, whole
Rabbit, whole or cut in half
Pork necks
Pork tails (high fat content, feed sparingly)
Pork butt, bone-in
Pig feet / trotters
Beef necks
Beef rib plates, whole or cut
Oxtails, cut in half and lengthwise
Bison necks
Bison tails
Turkey necks
Turkey carcass bones
Turkey tails
Turkey, split or quartered
Cornish Game Birds, whole
Quail, whole
Goat bones
Lamb deckle
Lamb shoulder
Lamb necks, cut
Lamb breast, cut
Lamb flaps
Whole ewe or whole lamb, cut
Giant Dogs
Chicken necks
Chicken breast
Chicken backs
Chicken wings
Chicken feet
Chicken carcass
Chickens, whole, split or quartered
Duck necks
Duck carcass
Duck feet
Duck, whole
Rabbit, whole
Pork necks
Pork tails (high fat content, feed sparingly)
Pork butt, bone-in
Pig feet / trotters
Beef rib plates, whole
Oxtails, whole
Bison tails
Turkey necks
Turkey carcass bones
Turkey tails
Turkey, split
Cornish Game Birds, whole
Quail, whole
Goat bones (cut 6-way or 6-8″ pieces)
Lamb deckle
Lamb shoulder
Lamb necks, whole
Lamb flaps
Bones Suitable for Animals Prone to Pancreatitis(all bone is high in fat; you will need find lean cuts from lean animals)
Rabbit
Goat
Quail
Cornish game birds
Chicken (remove skin and fat)
Turkey (remove skin and fat; tails not suitable)
Oxtails
Bison tails
Recreational Bones for Small-Med-Large Sized Dogs with Very Soft Mouths(if they never bite down hard; will chew meat off bone without cracking open)
Beef ribs
Beef necks
Beef shanks
Beef knuckle bones
Beef marrow/soup bones
Bison necks
Bison soup bones
Bison shanks
Bison ribs
Pork ribs
Pork shanks
Pork soup/knuckle bones
Pork marrow bones
Lamb shanks
Lamb marrow bones
Goat shanks
Super Meaty Bones(these products are reliably very meaty)
Duck, whole
Rabbit, whole or pieces
Niman pork necks (fairly meaty)
Niman pork butt, bone-in
Niman or Prather pig head
Niman picnic, bone in, smoker trim
Niman pork hindshanks
Niman pork leg, bone-in
Niman spareribs
Niman pork bone-in shortloin
Niman loin, bone-in
Niman back ribs
Niman beef shanks, whole hindshanks
Niman beef lion tails
Niman beef short ribs, “English Style”, whole
MSF beef rib plates, whole
MSF beef shanks, whole or cross-cut (super duper meaty)
Chicken, whole, split or quartered
Chicken whole legs
Chicken thighs
Chicken breast
Turkey, whole or split
Turkey breast
Turkey thighs
Turkey tails
C&M goat bones (super duper meaty)
Niman lamb shoulder
Niman lamb leg
Niman foreshank (fairly meaty)
Niman hindshanks (fairly meaty)
Niman breast
Niman whole carcass
Niman lamb necks, whole
James Ranch Whole Ewe (fairly meaty)

Written by sfraw

December 19, 2014 at 7:25 pm

4 Responses

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  1. […] variety comes in with the meat veggie meals (found on the SFRAW.com site here, here and here) and other bone choices (he likes duck necks, feet, and pork necks).  When he was a very young pup, we did about the same […]

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  2. […] On Feeding Marrow (and other “recreational”) Bones vs. Raw MEATY Bones […]

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  3. […] our list of RMB feeding suggestions can be found here (it has lists for different circumstances for different dogs/cats — you may see something […]

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