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Good Dogs Deserve A Dog Bone! Can Dogs Eat Rib Bones?

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Mary Nielsen

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Can Dogs Eat Rib Bones

Dog and dog bones sure are a good match. So, whenever you have some leftover beef or pork rib bones, it just makes sense to let your dogs eat it, especially if they’ve been good the whole day. But the big question is: Can dogs eat rib bones?

Most would probably think it’s alright. After all, dog eats rib bones, and chewing on them brings tons of happiness. However, there’s more to it than meets the eye. 

If you want to know everything there is to know about animal bones and rib bones and their effects on your dog’s health, read on. Dog Food Guide, after all, loves to dive deep into anything dog food-related, rib bone included. 

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Why Dogs Love Bones

First of all, dogs love to chew. This applies to all ages – from puppies to senior dogs. Chewing is simply part of their nature. 

Just like human babies, dogs tend to explore their world through chewing. That or they’re simply bored. And since they find this pastime a pleasurable experience, we tend to give them chew toys and the like. 

Bones, however, are their favorite. Dogs could take hours chewing on a big-sized bone nonstop until they’re dead tired. But why do they enjoy gnawing on it so much? If you want to know why, check out below:

It’s Tasty

Despite the lack of juicy meat, dogs find bones (whether pork chop bones, spare rib bones, or chicken bones) a tasty treat. Why shouldn’t they? Bones, rib bones included, reek protein and fat. 

It Satisfies Their Chewing Urges

As mentioned, dogs are born with the innate urge to chew. It’s in their genes and blood.

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Benefits Of Letting Your Dogs Eat Bones

True, bones are toothsome. They’re also a great chew toy. Apart from those, it’s good to know that bones serve a greater purpose. 

Yes, your dogs are indeed reaping a couple of fringe benefits whenever they’re chewing on a bone. After all, these bony structures are rich in protein, calcium, and other nutrients. Wondering what good stuff your dog is getting? See below:

Boosts Oral Health

Saliva enzymes are produced whenever your dog chews. Thanks to these enzymes, plaque and tartar buildup in your dog’s teeth are reduced. Gnawing on bones can also keep your dog’s breath and gums in check.

Keeps Your Dog Mentally Stimulated

When boredom strikes, give your dog a bone. This will surely keep your dog entertained for hours. You don’t also have to worry about your dog chewing on your shoes.

And since their brains are up and running, you can expect less scratching and paw licking from your dog. Anxiety is also reduced.

Improves Digestive Health

Though it may not look like it, bones (the bone marrow included) contains a good amount of nutrients. Besides calcium and protein, it contains trace amounts of Vitamin B12, iron, phosphorus, and other minerals. 

These nutrients help toughen up your dog’s gut muscles. It also promotes regular bowel movement.

Can Dogs Eat Rib Bones?

The short answer here is NO. Rib bones (whether raw or cooked rib bones) should be absolutely off-limits. 

Chewing on bones does come with a couple of benefits. However, if you’re to give your dog a bone, size matters

When it comes to rib bones, dogs would definitely love gnawing on a piece of rib bone but eating this brings forth a lot of risks. That’s why it’s best for dog owners to keep these table scraps far away from their dogs’ paws.

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Why Feeding Rib Bones To Your Dog Is Discouraged

As mentioned, rib bones should never be included in your dog’s diet. The risks are just too many. While this isn’t in any way toxic like other human food, the dangers it poses are enough for us to say that this isn’t the right type of bone that your dog should munch on.  

If you’re not yet convinced, here’s a list of risks that might finally encourage you to stop feeding your dog rib bones:


The bone splinters can get lodged in your dog’s throat and your dog’s gastrointestinal tract causing your dog to choke. It can also lead to intestinal blockage. 

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You’d know that something is stuck in your pet’s throat when your dog starts to cough and gag, drool excessively, and rub its head. They might also try to vomit.

Obstruction in other parts of the digestive tract is also possible. So, watch out for signs of lethargy, abdominal pain, and bloody stool.

In case this happens, contact your vet immediately. Otherwise, you can try to help your choking dog by giving them a Heimlich maneuver or by dislodging the bone from your dog’s mouth using tweezers


Chomping on sharp bone fragments is a serious health hazard. Aside from possibly breaking your dog’s teeth and tearing the soft tissues in your dog’s mouth, these rib bone pieces can also wreak havoc on your dog’s internal organs and cause internal bleeding as well as severe internal damage. 

Stomach Problems

If your dog has tummy problems like IBS or irritable bowel syndrome, then you’d better stop letting your dogs eat bones.

Your dog’s stomach might not be able to tolerate the richness of the bone and marrow. Eating rib bones and other types of bones may only lead to watery dog’s stool or diarrhea, vomiting, and the like.


Raw rib bones can contain bacteria and other parasites like salmonella and roundworm. Giving your dog raw bones increases the risk of transmitting these parasites to your dogs. 

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How To Find The Right Type Of Bone To Give To Your Dog

If your dogs love to chew bones, you can still give your dogs a bone. Just make sure to choose the RIGHT one. Pork rib bones and beef rib bones are definitely out of the list since they’re often small in size.

If you must let your dogs chew on a bone, here are some must-know tips that can help you in your bone-picking journey:

Choose Raw Bones Over Cooked Bones

Cooked bones easily break since the cooking process dries and weakens the bones. As such, you should never give your dog cooked bones. 

Conversely, raw dog bones are always a better option since your dogs are less likely to suffer from serious injuries. Raw bones are softer than cooked bones and are easier to chew and digest. 

Say No To Poultry Bones & Pork Bones

Bird bones and pork bones (whether cooked or raw bones) are also a big NO-NO. Same as cooked bones, these tend to break easily. So, if you have some ham bones stashed in your kitchen, make sure not to leave those unattended.

Only Give Large Bones

As a rule of thumb, if you have to give your dog a bone, give a bone that’s almost the same size as their head. If they can swallow the bone whole, then that’s the wrong type of bone.

Safe bones include large bison and beef bones (think hip and femur bones).

Give Marrow-Filled Bones Occasionally

The marrow has too much fat. And when your dog accumulates a lot of fat in its body, expect bad news. Pancreatitis, a life-threatening condition often triggered by eating a high-fat diet, is among the illnesses you don’t want your dog to get.

Final Verdict

Don’t let your dogs eat bones that they can easily swallow (rib bones included) and other cooked bones. Giving your dog cooked bones will only bring more harm than good. If you want to avoid any mishaps, keep these in mind:

  • Raw large bones are best for your dog
  • Make sure to keep an eye on your doggo while they’re eating
  • Let them chew on it for only 10-15 minutes
  • Throw the bone away after 3-4 days 

If your counter surfer dog ate rib bones without your permission, make sure to watch out for any signs of stomach upset, blockage, or lacerations. Getting them checked by your trusty pet health care provider is also highly recommended. 

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