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Bone Meal In Dog Food: Is It Healthy?

If you've ever examined the list of ingredients on dog food labels, you may have noticed one ingredient in particular popping up on occasion: bone meal.

Bone food? And what is that? Is it healthy for your dog, or should you steer clear of meals that contain bone meal?

In "Bone Meal in Dog Food: Is It Healthy?" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org), we'll respond to all of these queries and more.

What Is Bone Meal?

Animal bones are broken up to create a powder called “bone meal.” According to the theory, dogs have evolved to require the nutrients within since, when they were wild creatures, they would eat the bones and the meat on any prey that they seized.

Many commercial dog diets contain bone meal, but it’s also available on its own (often under the term “bone broth powder”). Bone meal is frequently added to each serve when individuals feed their dogs a raw diet.

If you’d like, you can also make bone meal at home. Simple steps include boiling chicken or beef bones until they are malleable, then processing the cooked bones in a food processor.

Is Bone Meal Good for Your Dog?

Bone meal contains a number of vitamins and minerals that are crucial for the health of your dog. Phosphorus and calcium are the most crucial of them.

Phosphorous is necessary for strong cell walls in your dog as well as for healthy bones and teeth. It serves as a fundamental building block for both DNA and RNA and gives cells energy.

In addition to being essential for strong bones and teeth, calcium also plays a crucial role in the transmission of information between cells and the transmission of nerve impulses. Moreover, it aids in the contraction of muscles and blood clotting.

Your dog will start to cannibalize their own bodies to make up the difference if their diet is deficient in calcium or phosphorus. This can result in weak teeth, fragile bones, and a variety of other medical problems.

Of course, your dog can obtain all these advantages simply by chewing on bones, but doing so carries some hazards.

On a really tough bone, your dog might shatter a tooth, or if they swallow a sizable chunk, it might cause a hazardous clog in their digestive system.

What About Bone Meal in Commercial Dog Foods? Is It Safe?

Whether you buy the correct kind of bone meal or make it yourself, bone meal is generally good for dogs. The biggest danger is giving your dog too much food, which can bind together in their stomach and possibly result in an obstruction that will need to be removed through surgery.

If you’re creating it from scratch, make sure to grind the bones as finely as possible to prevent any shards from entering your dog’s stomach or intestines. Make sure they have access to plenty of water as well so the meal may be safely digested.

But, it’s crucial to be aware that not all bone meals available for purchase are intended for canine eating. Given that bone meal is rich in nitrogen and other crucial elements, some of it is sold for gardening.

Never feed your dog bone meal meant for gardening because it may include poisonous fertilizers, pesticides, etc.

Similar to this, some bone meal contains additional vitamin D. These should be avoided since excessive vitamin D intake in dogs might result in kidney failure and death.

You just want ground-up bones in your bone meal; nothing else. Be sure it contains nothing additional to what nature intended, whether you make it yourself or get it from a store.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Feeding Your Dog Bone Meal?

It depends is the best response we can offer in this situation. As a general rule, bone meal in more expensive goods will be safer than that in their budget-friendly rivals.

Where the bones are coming from is the problem. Higher-end foods will use bones (and flesh) from animals raised solely for food; in other words, this is meat you would eat yourself and have no problem feeding your dog.

On the other hand, less expensive dishes frequently use bone meal (and meat) generated from by-products of animals. The remaining pieces of meat that can’t be used for anything else are gathered together, cooked, and then packed as meals or other ingredients.

You don’t know how those creatures passed away, which is an issue. Before their meat and bones were scavenged, they may have been ill or they may have already been dead for some time. They might even still contain small amounts of the substances used to put them to death.

It might be challenging to determine whether a dog food’s bone meal is made of healthy bones or questionable animal byproducts. The price tag will be one indicator, but it’s a warning sign if the label doesn’t say what animal the meat or bones originated from.

Should You Feed Your Dog Bone Meal?

As clarified in “Bone Meal in Dog Food: Is It Healthy?” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org), bone meal can be beneficial for dogs if prepared properly, strengthening their teeth and bones among other things.

It’s not necessary, though, and unless your dog is deficient in calcium or phosphorus, they probably already get all the nutrients they require from their diet.

Nonetheless, anyone feeding their dog a raw diet may want to think about including it in their dog’s food. Your dog will surely like it because it’s pretty delicious and fills up any nutritional gaps in their diet.

Further investigation is required if bone meal is present in the diet you already provide your dog. If there are any animal by-products in the meal, be sure they are appropriately listed on the label and that they are present. You can use these to determine whether the bone meal you’re feeding your dog is appropriate.

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Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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