Are Pork Bones Safe for Dogs?

By Karin Barga

It is a misconception that bones are essential to the canine diet for their calcium content or for tartar-removing capabilities. The truth is, if a dog is fed the proper measure of a quality dog food, he is already receiving adequate calcium -- and his owner can use other dental health practices to remove tartar. The FDA opposes giving bones to dogs, period. Dr. Karen Becker says some raw bones are OK, but not pork bones.

Punctures and Impaction

Any bone has the potential to harm a dog’s intestinal tract if it splinters, but pork bones are more prone to splintering than other types, and cooked bones more likely to splinter than raw. The splinters have the potential to pierce through an intestinal wall and pass into the abdominal cavity, which may or may not cause a hemorrhage and potentially fatal peritonitis. Even raw, undigestable pork bone shards and collagen can become impacted in the intestines, causing blockages that result in blood toxicity. Over time, decreased intestinal motility causes digestive complications.

Pork Bones Are Out

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's official stance is that dogs should consume no bones, Dr. Karen Becker's Mercola-sponsored website points out that the FDA's statement does not specify raw or cooked and says some raw bones are OK for dogs but not as a diet staple. Edible hollow bones that are raw provide calcium and are suitable for grinding and applying to kibble. Raw beef bones too large to eat, such as a beef knuckle bone, provide stimulation and clean the teeth. Monitor your dog when he gnaws on a bone. Keep the pork bones out of his maw.