Are smoked bones safe for dogs? This question has been asked for years now, and the answer is a little trickier than you might expect. While smoking bones is a safe way to cook bones for dogs, people still are split on whether we should be giving bones to dogs as a treat.
Smoked bones are often given to dogs as treats or chew toys. Many owners believe that smoked bones are harmless. However, there are some concerns, backed by evidence, to suggest that giving dogs smoked bones is more trouble than it’s worth. These concerns might involve choking and dental issues.
Today we’re looking at whether smoked bones are safe to give your dog or not, and whether you should consider another treat altogether.
What are smoked bones?
The first thing to know about smoked bones is that they are cooked, smoking is just another way of cooking bones.
Many people make smoked bones during cookouts and barbecues because they love the smoky flavor that this method of cooking gives.
Evidently, dogs love this flavor too. Smoked bones go down great with most dogs who love to chew on them. In fairness, however, most dogs will devour bones regardless of how they are cooked.
There are two ways to cook smoked bones – using hot smoking or cold smoking. Hot smoking is cooking the meat and bones over a fire burning with wood chips.
Cold smoking, on the other hand, uses a temperature-controlled chamber to flavor the meat and bones without cooking it.
Smoked bones for dogs bought at a store will (hopefully) be cold smoked to avoid giving them cooked bones.
If you’re making your own smoked bones at home, then make sure that you are cold smoking them to avoid the dangers of cooked bones.
What’s so bad about cooked bones for dogs?
Cooking bones can cause problems for dogs. The main concern is choking. During the cooking process, bones can become brittle and dry.
When bones get chewed up into small pieces, they can easily become lodged in the throat.
This problem is compounded by the fact that dogs tend to swallow things whole, which means that even if they choke on a piece of food, they won’t necessarily cough it out. Instead, they’ll continue swallowing until they feel full.
Another reason why dogs shouldn’t eat cooked bones is because they can splinter into sharp pieces.
Once these are swallowed, they can damage the throat, intestines and stomach of the dog. This can cause them a lot of pain, and you a large bill from the vets.
You should never give your dog cooked bones, as there have been plenty of reports of them being dangerous, and sometimes, even fatal for dogs.
Are smoked bones safe for dogs to consume?
So, now that we know the dangers of cooked bones, we can confidently say that any bone that has been hot smoked is not safe for dogs.
However, cold smoked bones are considered safe for dogs to consume as the bones will not become brittle in the smoking process. Instead, it is only used to enhance the flavor of the bone.
If you want to give your dog a (smoked) bone, make sure that it is cold smoked so that its integrity is intact.
Concerns for cold smoked bones
Despite cold smoked bones not arising any immediate concerns of splintering, some dog owners still do have concerns about giving their dogs bones in general as a treat or toy. We’ve listed the most notable below.
While cold smoked bones are considered safe for dogs, there are still some risks involved. Most notably, the bones may contain bacteria that could cause an infection.
Harmful bacteria can easily grow while cold smoking, especially if you’re cold smoking with the meat still attached to the bone.
If this bacteria is not killed before giving your done their bone, they could ingest this bacteria and become very ill.
Even if you were to buy your smoked bones from a reputable source, you wouldn’t know whether all of the harmful bacteria was killed before packaging.
Another concern is choking. While cold smoked bones are less likely to break and become bite-sized pieces, this is still a potential issue in the future.
When dogs have bones as toys for a long time, they can gnaw at them and break down the integrity of the bone over time.
This increases the chance of the bone breaking, and therefore being able to be swallowed by your dog. If they were to break the bone and swallow little pieces of it, they could be at risk of choking.
Even if they don’t choke, the bone fragments could get blocked somewhere within their body which could cause serious harm.
Following on from the previous point, internal blockages could further lead to damage within a dog’s body. This is especially dangerous if the bone has splintered and been left with sharp edges.
While the bone might have been broken, it is still very hard and sharp and can cause dangerous internal injuries.
Finally, cold smoked bones also pose a threat to your dog’s teeth. To avoid the risk of choking, many smoked bones are very large.
While this might prevent the other concerns from coming true, the larger the bone often means the harder it is.
When your dog chews on a hard bone for too long, it can cause tooth fractures and other worrying dental issues. These can be very painful for your dog, as well as being painful for your bank account.
Cold smoked bones are a great way to add a bit of extra fun into your dog’s life. They’re easy to prepare and cook up quickly, and you can also buy them at the store.
If you’re going to give your dog a smoked bone, make sure that it is cold smoked rather than hot smoked.
However, there are still concerns that come from cold smoked bones, such as dental worries, choking, and harmful bacteria.
We think that there are plenty of other toys and treats on the market to give your dog that don’t come with so many health concerns.
If you still want to give your dog a smoked bone, though, just make sure that you supervise them at all times.
Learn more about what dogs can and cannot eat here: