Dear Dr. John,
My husband grew up on a farm where they always fed the dogs anything and everything, including chicken. He remembers giving the dogs plenty of raw meat and even raw chicken meat, including the bones, and never having any problems with it.
Our dog now loves chicken, but we cook the meat and then separate the bones. I have heard that chicken bones can splinter and can wreak havoc with a dog’s intestines if swallowed, so we avoid the bones — but do we need to? How can we give our dog chicken and bones too, or should we?
— Thanks, L.D.
Cooking meat and bones dries out the bones and they will splinter easily and can cause problems. My take on your question is that feeding raw meat can cause problems with the transmission of various bacteria, which can lead to problems.
While I know that many people feed commercial raw diets to their pets, I know that many veterinarians have seen problems with them. However, uncooked bones are softer and will splinter less.
So what do you do for your dog? In my career I have found that bones often cause more problems than not and I suggest people avoid giving them to their dogs. I find poultry to be the most problematic, followed by pork and then lamb and beef. If you want to feed your dog chicken, then go with cooked and deboned meat. If your husband wants the dog to have a bone, offer large beef bones that are uncooked and cleaned very well. Hopefully you both will like this compromise and your dog will too.
John de Jong, D.V.M., is owner--operator of Boston Mobile Veterinary Clinic and partner/chief of staff at Neponset Animal Hospital.Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/entertainment/lifestyle/view.bg?articleid=1061145854