Lamb isn’t a typical food found in the standard American diet, but it’s considered a staple in many international cuisines. Whether your family eats lamb on a regular basis or you’ve never tasted it, there’s no denying that it’s a viable protein source for both you and your dog. Before you start passing the lamb to your dog, remember a few things to keep your dog safe and healthy.
Are Lamb Bones Safe for Dogs?
How many times have you been lectured about the dangers of bones for your dog? Chicken bones are notoriously dangerous for dogs of all sizes, so it’s a common misconception that all bones are bad for dogs. There’s a very important distinction to make, however: raw bones are safe for dogs. Cooked bones, however, should never be given to your dog.
Raw bones are incredibly beneficial to your dog. It’s not typical to give your dog bones when their diet consists of dry dog food, but owners who give their dogs a “raw diet” frequently feed raw bones. Raw bones are fabulous for naturally removing plaque from the teeth and reducing inflammation in the gums. This greatly reduces the risk of dental disease in dogs, especially in older dogs or small toy breeds.
Why Are Raw Lamb Bones Safe and Cooked Lamb Bones Aren’t?
Normal, healthy bones aren’t brittle like cooked bones are. If you’ve ever handled raw bones and cooked bones, you have seen the difference in the bones. Cooked bones become hard, easy to crack, and easily splintered, making cooked bones a disaster for dogs if swallowed. Raw bones, however, feel almost spongy and chewy. Your dog can safely break raw bones down with their teeth, swallow them, and easily digest them.
Giving your dog cooked lamb bones (any cooked bones) is just asking for a slew of problems. Splintered bones are very sharp and will hurt your dog in a few different days. First, the splinters can cut their gums, tongue, and palate and make it very painful for them to eat their dog food. If they swallow them, the splinters can get lodged in the throat or even damage the soft tissue of the esophagus. The biggest problem comes when the shards damage the stomach or intestine. Both of these organs are teeming with bacteria that, when spilled into the abdomen, will kill your dog if they escape the organs. Infections from a perforated stomach or intestines are rapid, severe, and most often deadly for dogs.
Raw lamb bones (all raw bones) have their own dangers, however. Some dogs are so excited for their bone that they will gnaw really hard and end up cracking or breaking a tooth. When this occurs, the tooth will need to be removed. Never give your dog a bone that is small enough that they can fit it entirely in their mouth or that they can swallow whole. Never let your dog have bones unattended, either. You should be in the same vicinity of your dog so you can take the bone away if they start getting too enthusiastic with it.
Raw Lamb Bones and Food Poisining in Dogs
Remember, too, that raw bones are…raw. Raw animal products have the potential to give your dog very serious bacterial infections. Keep bones refrigerated or frozen until they’re ready to be served. When your dog is done, throw the bone away. Don’t put a bone back into the refrigerator if it has reached room temperature. This is the biggest mistake owners make. Raw bones can be pricey, so it’s normal to want to avoid wasting it. However, “wasting” leftovers is far better than a severe bacterial infection that could hospitalize your dog.
No matter what kind of diet your dog is on, raw lamb bones or any raw bones should be a very small portion of their diet. Don’t ever give your dog more than one or two bones per week to avoid constipation. If they start losing interest in their food, stop feeding the tastier lamb bones until they resume eating their regular food.