When you want to offer your dog a treat, you might think about feeding your dog a bone.  It is important to make sure that you know if feeding your dog bones is safe or not.

Can Labradors chew on bones?  Labrador Retrievers can eat bones but the question that needs to be asked is “what kind of bone can my Labrador eat?”  It is important to make sure that you give your Labrador bones that are safe. 

The biggest question that people ask about feeding their dog bones is if giving them bones is safe.  Even some vets have argued about giving Labradors bones and this is going to be just a decision that you should make as your dog’s owner.

When you purchase dog bones in the store, chances are that you are getting bones that are made from people that manufacture dog food. These dog bones are made of bone meal and these kinds of bones are known to keep dogs happily chewing.

The most important thing to know and to acknowledge is that dogs love meat and they naturally like to eat bones. Even though these bones can be somewhat dangerous, they tend to keep dogs happy and they give your dog nutrition that can help to keep them healthy and strong.

Some places have begun to add raw dog bones to their marketing, trying to help to increase the nutrients that your Labrador can get. Many people believe that the problem with dog bones, especially raw dog bones is that they can be swallowed and they can puncture the stomach or pose as a choking hazard for your dog.

Why Can Bones Be Good for My Labrador?

Bones can be good for your Labrador since they contain a lot of nutrients including fat, protein, phosphorus and calcium. These minerals and vitamins are great for your dog’s health and helps them to grow strong and have strong bone growth.

Since most vets suggest that your dog has a balanced diet, adding bones as a supplement can help them to get some of the things that they need in their diet without the added fat or sugars.

If your dog is going to be healthy, like a person, your dog needs to have a balanced diet and many of the nutrients that your dog can get can come from bones.

Many people that choose to feed their dogs a raw diet sometimes choose to give their dog bones because the added ingredients can be great for your Labrador.

Another reason bones can be good for your Labrador is because your dog can sometimes be bored with the food that they eat or bored in general and by chewing bones, your dog can stay occupied for a long period of time.

If your dog is used to being home alone a lot, then giving your dog a bone is a special treat that can make your Labrador very happy.  As long as you are being smart and being observant, your Labrador can enjoy eating bones .

Why Can Bones Be Bad for My Labrador?

One problem with bones is not that they are unhealthy, but that they can be dangerous.  Bones have great ingredients and they do not have any of the toxins that some foods have.  The problem is that bones that are cooked can pose a huge choking hazard for your dog.

Bones that are cooked are not as safe as bones that are raw even though the raw bone is more nutritious than bones that are cooked.  The reason that cooked bones are not as safe is because when cooking bones, it can make the bones easier to break and the bones can become sharp and can break off when your Labrador is eating it.

Should My Labrador Eat Raw Bones?

If you choose to follow the raw diet for your Labrador, it is important to remember that the bones can get smaller and that they can swallow or choke on the bone.  If your dog gets a small piece of bone, it can either go through smoothly or it can cause medical problems. 

Most of the time, the dogs will be able to swallow the bones without there being any kind of real medical condition but it is important to make sure that you pay special attention when you give your Labrador any type of bone. 

Some people believe that raw bones can be healthier because they are covered in meat and that the meats might help to keep the dog protected and to help the bone slide down smoothly.  Therefore, most vets and specialist feel that raw bones are safer than cooked bones.

Once again, remember that bones can always pose hazard so it is important to make sure that you keep an eye on your Labrador when they eat any type of bones.

Should My Labrador Eat Cooked Bones?

Cooking bones can cause the bones to become stiff and can make them to cause splinters or to break.  When this happens, the bone can cause your dog to choke or it can cause your dog to get something punctured inside of their stomach.

Some dog bones that are manufactured by dog food companies are cooked bones and they are specifically made for dogs to chew on.

Should I Give My Labrador Pet Store Bones?

Giving your Labrador pet store bones can help to give your Labrador stronger teeth.  Your dog needs to have some way to make sure that their teeth are strong and healthy and chewing on bones is a great way to help with your dog’s dental.

Pet store bones that are leg bones or bigger bones are not really good for your Labrador Retriever because the bones can cause your dog to break their teeth.  The reason behind this is because the bones are large and they are overly hard.

Some different bones such as bones from smaller animals are not as hard and are safer than large animal bones.  These bones are better for your dog’s teeth and will not break their teeth or cause them dental problems.

The digestive tract of Labradors is different than a human’s digestive tract. A human’s digestive tract is much longer and takes much longer for food to go through.  A Labradors digestive tract is shorter and it helps the Lab to be able to digest food and bones quicker.

Most of the time, your Labrador will digest anything that they eat, including bones, really fast without there being any problems with the digestive tract.

If you choose to feed your dog pet store bones, make sure that you give them plenty of water so that they will not have stomach issues like diarrhea or constipation.  Store bought bones are most often times dryer than meat or raw bones and since they are dryer, they can cause your Labrador to dry out quicker.

When the bones are dry and your Labrador is experiencing dryness, it is harder for them to swallow the bones and so the extra water is important for your Labrador.

Is Bone Marrow Good for My Labrador?

Many bones that are bought in pet stores are full of bone marrow and they can help the dog to have fun while chewing on their bones.  The bone marrow can keep your Labrador occupied for long periods of time.

The bones that are full of marrow seem like they would be safe because they are very large and they do not look like they could pose a choking hazard but that is not true. These bones, are often times cooked and the problem is that cooked bones can break easily and this is true with the bone marrow bones.

Another problem is that the bone marrow bones are large and they can break your Labradors teeth.  Most vets agree that these bones can be dangerous because of the broken teeth and that most people should know and understand that feeding their dogs large bones, even though it will keep them occupied, are not the best bones for your pet.

What Kind of Bones Should My Labrador Eat or Not Eat?

If you are going to give your Labrador bones, it is important to know what kind of bones are safe and which ones are unsafe for your Lab. Here is a list of bones that we will discuss further on:

  • Chicken Bones
  • Rib Bones
  • Ham Bones
  • Pork Bones
  • Rawhide Bones
  • Pet Store Bones

Chicken Bones

Even though it has always been said that you should not give your dog chicken bones, there is really no scientific evidence that this is true.


The problem with chicken bones is that when they are cooked, they can pose a huge choking hazard for your Labrador.  This goes along with any type of bird bones.

If you decide to feed your Labrador chicken bones, make sure that you feed them raw bones to make sure that they do not break while your dog is eating them. 

Rib Bones

Feeding your Labrador rib bones can be some of the healthiest bones to feed your dog because they are softer and they do not break as easily as other bones. If the rib bones are from larger animals, that is even better and is a bone that your Labrador can really enjoy.

If your rib bones have some extra meat on the bone, your Labrador Retriever can have extra nutrition when eating their bone.  Leaving extra meat can give your dog nutrients that he or she might not get from other foods.

Ham Bones

Ham bones are fun for your Labrador to chew on because they are large and tasty for your Labrador but these are bones that you need to be especially cautious of because they easily break off and can pose a choking hazard.

Ham bones should be given to your Labrador raw because cooked ham bones are even more dangerous for your Labrador than raw ham bones.

Pork Bones

Pork bones are generally safe for your Labrador to eat without worrying about the bone breaking or causing a choking hazard but the only problem is how you prepare your pork bones. Feeding your Labrador pork bones can cause your Labrador to have parasites.

It is very important that you feed your Labrador only cooked pork bones to make sure that they are safe and healthy with their bone chewing.

Rawhide Bones

Rawhide bones are very popular but rawhide is a type of bone that can be very unhealthy for your Labrador.  These bones take a long time for your Lab to digest because they are processed and that causes them to be harder to digest.

Labradors, since they are such a large breed of dog, often times chew off big pieces of their rawhide bones and swallow them.  When this happens, the bones can cause your dog’s digestive system to become stopped up. 

It is very important that you keep an eye on your Labrador when they are eating rawhide bones.


Another important point to note is when purchasing rawhide bones at the pet store, make sure that you purchase bones that are not too small for your dog.  As a rule of thumb, purchase bones that are bigger so that your dog does not have a chance of swallowing the bone whole. 

What if I Think My Dog Has a Bone Stuck?

If your dog is eating bones, it is important to always pay attention to how they feel and make sure that they do not choke or get large pieces of bone stuck in their throat or in their digestive system.

If you see your dog acting weird after chewing a bone, then it is important that you call your vet immediately to try to get your dog help.

When chewing a bone, if you think that your dog is choking, make sure that you know how to help your dog remove the bone quickly before your dog passes out or even worse, dies.  Doing the Heimlich can help to save your dog in desperate situations.

If your dog is not in immediate danger but you still feel that a bone is blocking their body or their airway, take your Labrador to the vet immediately to get them help.  If your dog is showing signs of distress and you cannot see anything wrong, have your vet do x-rays to check their stomach and their digestive tract.

How Can I Know if my Dog is Choking?

It is very important to make sure that you pay attention to your dog when they are chewing on bones.  If your dog begins to gag or starts to choke, you need to try to remove the bone as quickly as possible.

If your dog is looking at you and acting normal and wagging his tale, most likely he was able to swallow the bone and get it down with no problem.  If your dog has swallowed a bone, he will either throw the bone back up or the bone can slide down into the stomach easily.

If it becomes stuck or is blocking the stomach, the vet might have to remove the bone by surgery. 

If the bone makes it to the stomach, chances are that your Labrador will easily digest the bone or it will naturally leave your dog.

One super important thing to remember is to make sure not to try to make your dog vomit. This can cause the bone to get stuck deeper and make surgery a must.  Also, if you try to make your dog vomit, the bone could even get stuck on the way back up and it could cause another hazard.

If you know that your dog has swallowed a large piece of bone, call your vet. Your vet will most likely tell you to wait and see what happens and if your Labrador acts normal, chances are he or she will be okay and everything will end fine. If your dog starts to act strangely, go immediately to the vet or to the pet hospital to get your vet checked.

What Happens if My Labrador Eats Chicken Bones?

If your dog swallows chicken bones, he or she will most likely be okay. If the chicken bone was raw, it is much safer for your Labrador because the bone will most likely not splinter or cause there to be any type of obstruction.

The way that your Labradors digestive system is made is to digest food such as meat and bones.  The acids in your Labradors stomach will help to break down these bones.  Eating chicken bones can be a fun time for your Labrador Retriever and it can at the same time make your Labs teeth strong and healthy.

When Should I Call the Vet?

If your dog is acting abnormal or if there are any symptoms that your dog is experiencing, it is important to call or take your Labrador immediately into the vet.

  • If Your Labrador is Vomiting
  • Looking Strained or Uncomfortable.
  • Crying or Whimpering When Touched.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Constipation.
  • Bleeding Stool.
  • Being Extremely Tired.
  • Not Wanting to Eat.
  • Panting.

Vomiting

Vomiting is something that shows that your dog is having some type of distress. If you have given your Labrador a bone and your Labrador begins to vomit, chances are that your Lab is choking or having some kind of distress.

Strain or Uncomfortableness

If your Labrador is acting like they are staining or struggling or if they look uncomfortable, it is time for you to call your vet or take them to the local pet hospital.  Your Labrador might have a bone stuck in their throat or in their digestive tract.

Crying or Whimpering

One of the biggest signs that there is a problem is if your Labrador is crying or whimpering just when he or she is touched.  This sign can prove that there is something wrong.  If you touch your Labs belly and they get upset and they cry or whimper, there is most likely something wrong and you need to get your Lab to the vet.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is not a sign that your dog has a bone stuck but if your Lab has diarrhea more than one time after giving them a bone, it is important that you take your Labrador in to get checked.

Constipation

Constipation is a sign of obstruction and it is important to take your Labrador into the vet if he or she has constipation for long periods of time.  If your Labrador is unable to digest their bone, chances are that they will experience constipation until the bone makes its way out. 

Rawhides are some of the worst bones to cause constipation in your Labrador or in other dogs because they are harder to digest.  If you have given your Labrador a rawhide bone, call your vet but more than likely they will tell you to be patient and wait to see if the bone will make its way out safely. 

Bleeding Stool

Bleeding stool is never a good sign and if your Labrador has been eating bones and you see that he or she is having bleeding stools, it is important to take your Lab in.  Chance are that your vet will need to run special tests such as x-rays or blood tests in order to determine if there is a blockage or some kind of problem.

Extreme Tiredness

If your Labrador is overly tired, there could be some underlying medical problem.  Since you know and understand your Labrador the best, pay attention to make sure that they are not being unusually tired and if they are, call your local vet.

Eating

If your Labrador is not eating, something must be wrong.  Labradors love to eat and will eat almost anything.  If you notice that your Labrador is not eating and is pushing away his or her food, then take your Labrador into the vet just to make sure they are not sick or injured.

Panting

Panting can be different for many dogs.  Panting can be a sign that your Labrador is hot and that they are overheating but it can also be something more.  If your dog is panting and it is cool and they have not been doing anything active, then call your vet so that you can tell them that your Lab is panting after eating bones.

No one knows your Labrador better than you do and so if you see any type of unusual signs then make sure that you take your pet to the vet immediately.  If your Labrador has eaten a bone and you are concerned but you do not see any signs that look like distress, just wait for 24 to 48 hours to see if your Labrador will pass the bone naturally.

What Happens If My Lab Needs Emergency Surgery?

If your Labrador has swallowed a bone or if the bone has become stuck in your Labradors stomach or in the digestive system, chances are that your Labrador will need surgery.

When you get to the vet, your vet will do many different tests on your Labrador to see if something is wrong with your pet and if your Lab will need surgery.  Most of the time, your vet will do x-rays and the x-ray can show if there is some type of obstruction.

If there is obstruction, your Labrador will need some kind of surgery.  Your vet will use endoscopy so that they can use a camera to find out where the blockage is.  There will be a tube that is put down your dog’s throat so your vet can see down his or her mouth.

Most endoscopic surgeries are successful and the vet can usually remove the bone without pushing it further or causing there to be further injury.

If endoscopic surgery is not advised, your vet may have to enter your Labs body by making a small incision and removing the bone that way.  This is not usually necessary but is an option if needed.

Conclusion

Your dog can eat bones if that is what you choose but if you are worried that your Lab might experience some type of problem or incident with eating bones, the best thing to do is just to avoid giving your Labrador bones at all.

Your Labrador can enjoy other treats just as much as he or she would enjoy bones and by giving other treats, you can ensure that your Labrador will not get choked or get some kind of obstruction by a bone. 

Finding treats that are fun for your Labrador can include toys, doggie treats, fresh fruits and vegetables, peanut butter and even frozen treats such as frozen chicken or beef broth popsicles. 

Make sure that you pay special attention if you decide that you are going to give your Labrador bones.  Giving them bones can be safe and fun for your Lab, but it is just important to make sure that you are keeping an eye on your Labrador while they are chewing on their bone and afterwards.