Can Dogs Eat Rib Bones?

rack of BBQ ribs partially cut up

Rib bones might seem like a nice treat for your dog, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Cooked rib bones in particular can even be dangerous for your dog to consume. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they can never have them. You just need to keep some things in mind before getting into the habit of giving your dog rib bones.

First of all, just about all dogs love to chew on bones-raw bones, cooked bones, beef bones, ham bones, and even chicken bones. While they may be a lot of fun for your dog, they can actually be bad for them in some cases. This is because chewing on bones can cause your dog to swallow the bone fragments, and this can lead to them choking. You should only give your dog bones in moderation, and be careful about where you keep them. Keep them in an air-tight, lidded container to avoid your dog getting to them without you knowing.

rib bones picked clean of meat

Why Do Dogs Like Rib Bones So Much?

There are a lot of reasons that dogs like to eat rib bones. First of all, dogs like to crunch on things. They’re almost just as happy with a chewy stick as they are with a tasty treat. Second, they’re often very hungry. They’re not likely to eat a whole rib bone, but many dogs are sure to try.

Finally, there’s also the nutritional aspect of the rib bone. Bones may not be great for your dog’s digestive tract, but the nutritional content of them (including calcium and several B vitamins, like B2 and B12) may be attractive to dogs on an evolutionary level. This is why even though feeding them bones could hurt their digestive tract, giving them bone broth (either in a drinking dish or added into their dog food) could be a fantastic alternative.

Different dogs have different preferences when it comes to rib bones. For instance, many dogs that enjoy the taste of chicken are happy to eat the rib section of chicken bones. Others prefer beef rib bones. Still, others like fish, pork, or even lamb rib bones. But really, most dogs will eat (or at least chew) just about any rib bones that are thrown their way.

Dogs have evolved to be able to eat almost any kind of food that has been put in front of them. They have developed the ability to recognize different foods and learn which ones are edible and which ones are not. They also have learned how to eat around certain foods that are not good for them.

But as a responsible pet owner, you must recognize that your dog‘s judgment isn’t always in their own best interest, especially when it comes to what they put in their mouth. Rib bones may look good to any dog instinctually, but they can in fact be somewhat hazardous to them.

Why Do Dogs Love To Chew On Things?

Dogs have evolved to be able to go out on a hunt for food. They don’t do this with a rifle or any other human-made weapon; they do it mostly with their mouths. Dog’s teeth are especially well adapted to carry around things like raw meat and raw bone.

They have very sharp teeth for many reasons that are very simple to understand in historical context, and they’ve learned over time to use their teeth for much more than tearing flesh apart. Their teeth aren’t only used to tear apart what they hunt, but also for chewing up the food that they catch, and even for just carrying around items that aren’t food.

Since they were conditioned for so many generations to hunt, dogs still retain some of those instincts when it comes to finding food. When their stomach starts growling or they’re simply feeling hungry, it’s almost instinct for them to start chewing. So having something for them to chew on (whether it’s one of those recreational bones you can find at a pet store or an actual animal bone) helps them to alleviate this urge.

They might also chew on things out of nervousness or just plain old boredom. This is something that owners have to be aware of, especially if they don’t want certain items lying around on the floor to get chewed up. If there’s something laying around, like a shoe, for instance, they might pick it up and start chewing it up when no one is looking.

dog eating bone in a meadow

Bones For Dogs To Chew On: Pros & Cons

There are many benefits to giving your dog a bone to chew on, and this is usually better than giving your dog bones to actually eat. The main reason for this is that bones aren’t always easily digestible, and therefore, can cause your dog some serious health problems.

But even bones just for chewing aren’t necessarily a great option. Here are some pros and cons about giving your dog bones to chew on (rather than eat):

Pros

Chewing bones can help your dog‘s teeth. Giving your dog raw bones to chew on may help with plaque removal as well as other dental health issues. Chewing bones may also help to massage your dog‘s gums, which can have some beneficial effects (but they may not outweigh the hazards).

They’re a great distraction. When you have a dog with a little too much energy, a chew toy can be a great way to keep them occupied while you’re busy. You can also use it to keep your dog away from certain items or furniture that they might otherwise chew on (like your shoes or your couch).

They’re a great training aid. You can use bones to train your dog to do certain things, like sit and stay. You can also use bones as a reward, which can be an effective way to train your dog to do what you want.

Cons

Chewing bones can be a choking hazard. As previously mentioned, when your dog chews on bones, he or she could swallow some small pieces of bone, which can cause your dog to choke. Or they might swallow the bone whole by accident.

Chewing bones can cause your dog some stomach problems. Chewing bones can also lead to a condition known as gastro-intestinal upset. When your dog‘s stomach acids can’t break down bone fragments that they swallow, it can lead to serious or at least semi-serious stomach problems.

Chewing bones can make your dog salivate more than usual. Excessive bone-chewing can make your dog salivate beyond what is normal, which can lead to potential health problems (or at least become a major nuisance).

Barbecue chuck beef ribs with hot rub as top view sliced on a wooden cutting board

What Makes Rib Bones Different From Other Bones

Rib bones are different from other bones in a few notable ways. They’re long and thin, so they’re a little easier for small dogs to chew on than other bones. They’re also softer than other bones, so you don’t really have to worry that much about your dog hurting their teeth on them. The choking hazard is the primary concern.

Rib bones are also different in shape than many other bones. Many if not most rib bones have a curve to them, which can make them even more of a choking hazard. They’re also very numerous in quantity-whereas you’ll often only find one or two of certain types of animal bones, a rib cage may contain dozens of individual bones.

Different Types Of Rib Bones

You can purchase different varieties of rib bones. There are some that are prepared specifically for dogs to chew on, and there are others that just get discarded from the dinner table. The best way to determine what’s okay to give your dog is to ask a vet.

Rib bones that are prepared and packaged for dogs are usually made from a variety of different livestock, like pigs or cattle. They’re often sold baked and sometimes even flavored, and typically don’t need to be refrigerated. They’re usually sold in vacuum sealed packs.

Pork Rib Bones vs. Beef Rib Bones

The main distinction between pork ribs and beef ribs is in the types of cuts that are available, and this distinction extends to the rib bones as well. Pork ribs have more cut variations than beef ribs; as the former has two different popular cuts from the pig livestock’s shoulder area and another cut in the lower rib cage, while the latter has two main cuts that come primarily from the lower part of the cow livestock’s body.

Nevertheless, neither are recommended to give to your dog. Although your dog will be very tempted to chew on these seemingly delicious treats, they both are too much of a choking hazard and should be thrown away before your pup can get to them.

husky eating a bone

Do Dogs Actually Eat Bones?

Dogs mostly just want to chew on bones, but they also might try to swallow them. And even if they don’t try, they may do it by accident. This is why it’s important to keep rib bones away from your dog. They’re very tempting to them.

In some very rare cases, it may be okay to give your dog raw bones to chew on if they’re big enough. But this should only be done under strict supervision, if at all. Even though many dogs will want to chew and possibly even eat rib bones, they shouldn’t do this. And as a responsible pet owner, you should stop them if you see them try to eat rib bones.

The Dangerous Part

Cooked rib bones can cause a lot of trouble for dogs. In fact, they may even be deadly. That’s because they can break and splinter in the dog‘s mouth. The splinters can then get lodged in the dog‘s throat. This can cause a lot of pain and it can even cause the dog to choke.

How To Avoid This

If you want to keep your dog safe, it’s important that you do not give your dog cooked rib bones. You should also be careful when giving them raw bones. Make sure that the meat is completely gone from the bone before you give it to your dog, so they don’t try to swallow it too quickly.

Dogs are very curious and they like to try new things. They also love to chew on bones. If you want to keep your dog safe, you should be very careful about feeding them rib bones. This means you should only give them in moderation (if at all) and not allow them to get into the habit of eating too much of them.

If you have any questions about how to keep your pet safe while they are chewing on bones, contact your veterinarian. They can also give you some more information about the dangers of rib bones for dogs.

baked pork ribs

What To Do If You See Your Dog Choking

First of all, if you see your dog choking, don’t panic. You need to take action quickly. Restrain them, but be gentle about it, which won’t be easy. Try to pry the bone out of the dog‘s mouth and see if that will help. If that doesn’t work, immediately give them the Heimlich maneuver.

How To Perform The Heimlich Maneuver On Your Dog

For Larger Dogs

If your dog is on all fours, place your arms around their belly and firmly wrap your fist with your other hand just beneath their ribcage, thrusting up and forward a few times until hopefully the choking hazard becomes dislodged. Then place the dog on their side.

If your dog is lying down while choking, place one hand on their back (for support) then thrust upward toward their mouth with the other hand. Continue this pattern until it’s evident that the obstruction has been cleared from your dog’s airways.

For Smaller Dogs

Place the dog on its back and periodically thrust underneath its rib cage toward its mouth with your hand or fingers. Be gentle enough not to injure the dog but forceful enough to dislodge the choking hazard from your dog’s throat.

What To Do Next

After you’ve successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver on your dog, it’s probably a good idea to pay a visit to the vet just in case there are any complications as a result of either the maneuver or the original airway obstruction. There could still be something in your dog’s throat, or you may have injured them in the process of saving them from choking to death.

You may want to just call the vet first to get advice from them. But if it took a great deal of effort to dislodge the obstruction then you may have inadvertently cracked a rib or done some other serious damage, in which case an actual office visit may be advisable.

Rib Bone Alternatives

Throwing your dog a nice newly discarded bone may seem like a nice gesture, but there are alternatives that are a lot safer for your dog to chew on. For example, you might consider feeding them chicken, or better yet, beef. You could also give them a good dog bone (like something you’d buy at an actual pet store).

You may want to try and find some other chew toys as well for your pet. This could dodge some of the dangers of rib bones for dogs. You may want to look into toys made from rawhide or rubber. These are safer alternatives than actual rib bones and also last much longer.

You might also consider offering your dog other treats instead of rib bones altogether. There are plenty of healthy alternatives out there that have little to no choking hazards associated with them, such as jerky, dog biscuits, dental chews, and much more!

brown dog chewing on a rawhide bone

Conclusion

Bones that are big enough to chew can be really great for your dog. They can help with their gums and dental health, and they make a great distraction to keep them occupied and entertained. There’s nothing wrong with giving your dog a bone as long as it’s the kind specifically meant for chewing.

But rib bones are a whole other story. Rib bones tend to be smaller than other bones and they’re often curved. They also might have a little bit of meat left on them, which may tempt your dog to actually eat and swallow them. This makes them a major choking hazard for your dog and that’s a really good reason to keep them as far out of their reach as possible.

The bottom line is that your dog is going to want to chew on things, and rib bones would be very tempting for them. If you’re having ribs around your dog, keep the bones away from them. Dispose of them in a place that’s out of sight and beyond their grasp. Rib bones are not something you want your dog to eat.

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