Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.
Bones are a great treat for your dog as they contain a bunch of nutrients and minerals, plus they love chewing them!
The thing is, they don’t keep fresh for long and you might be tempted to put them in the freezer. So, can you freeze raw bones for dogs?
Yes, you can freeze raw bones for dogs. They are suitable to feed your dog as a snack, especially on a hot day when it acts like a popsicle packed with amazing flavors.
In this post, you will learn more about how you can do this safely and some key points you need to avoid.
- Are Frozen Bones Good for Dogs?
- Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Raw Bones
- How Do You Store Raw Bones for Dogs?
- How Do You Prepare Raw Bones for Dogs?
- How Long Are Raw Bones Good for?
- What Kind of Bones Are Safe for Dogs?
- Can Raw Bones Make Dogs Sick?
- What Age Can You Give Dogs Raw Bones?
- Do Raw Bones Splinter When Cracked Open?
- What Bones Are Bad for Dogs?
- Are Filled Bones Safe for Dogs?
- What If Your Dog Chokes On A Raw Bone?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- In Conclusion: Can You Freeze Raw Bones for Dogs?
Are Frozen Bones Good for Dogs?
Yes, frozen raw bones are good for dogs (way better than feeding them rawhide).
They’re even better than raw bones that have been sitting around for hours or days at room temperature.
Frozen raw bones make a great treat to feed your dog because they will last longer than fresh meat.
Doggy says, you might like this too: Heritage Ranch Dog Food Review [In-depth Guide]
Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Raw Bones
There are a number of benefits that come from feeding your dog raw bones.
We have to remember, that dogs in the wild do not get fed a nice diet every meal, every day.
They eat what they can, feeding on a mixture of meat and other food.
Chewing on bones is one common way that dogs get their nutrients.
The act of chewing on bones helps to keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy, removing dental calculus (calcified dental plaque) as shown in this study.
When your dog chews on bones, they also get a great source of minerals (such as calcium) and nutrients, while at the same time having dopamine released during the act of chewing.
There are also studies that show that feeding your dog raw bones may help prevent joint problems later in life.
Doggy says, you might be interested in reading this too: Raw diet for puppies
How Do You Store Raw Bones for Dogs?
There is not a lot of additional prep you need to do when storing raw bones.
Always freeze or refrigerate bones with marrow and meat still attached.
Put the bone in the refrigerator if you are giving it back the next day, or freeze it if it will be several days before it is given again (make sure it does not contaminate your own food, or simply use a separate freezer).
You should throw away old bones that have no marrow or meat left.
What’s more crucial is the type of bones you can and cannot feed your dog, which we will cover later.
Doggy says, you might like this too: Do Bully Sticks Have Calories? [Facts and Figures]
How Do You Prepare Raw Bones for Dogs?
The size of the bone you feed your dog is extremely important, as is the type. We will cover this in a later section.
First, never feed your dog cooked bones. They can splinter and cause internal bleeding, which could be fatal.
Besides knowing the above well, you should also take into consideration a few other points.
Chewing on raw bones can get messy quickly, so I recommend that you have a designated area for it.
This should be outside of your house (don’t want to attract flies and creepy crawlies into the home!) and you can use a washable mat or tray for easy clean-up.
Freezing the bones ahead of time will turn a raw bone into a super delicious cold treat for your dog, especially on hot days.
When you’re ready to feed your dog, take the frozen bone out of the freezer and let it thaw for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Next, ensure that the surface that your dog is chewing the bone on is clean and sanitized, more so if it is an outdoor area.
A simple wipe-down with a food-safe disinfectant or a homemade blend of vinegar and water is good enough.
Be sure to store the bone properly if it is not finished, which means packing and back into a freezer (I would not keep it in the same freezer as what my family uses though).
No more meat left to munch on? Discard the bone right away,
Lastly, give your dog’s mouth and the area around it a good cleanup after it finishes eating.
You do not want it to go around licking you or things at home!
Doggy says, read this too: German Shorthaired Pointer Not Eating? Follow These 8 Steps
How Long Are Raw Bones Good for?
Once the bone is out of the fridge, feed it to your dog immediately and take it away after about 10-15 minutes of chewing.
You do not want excessive bacteria to start forming and over-chewing might lead to dental issues.
You should also not keep a piece of bone for more than 3 days.
What Kind of Bones Are Safe for Dogs?
Different-sized dogs should be fed different-sized bones. In general, I would recommend feeding your dog a bone that is too big for it to swallow.
Here’s a look at the types of bones I would use:
- Small-sized dogs: Chicken necks and chicken wings
- Medium-sized dogs: Chicken thighs, drumsticks, carcass
- Large-sized dogs: Beef ribs, lamb ribs, venison necks
Can Raw Bones Make Dogs Sick?
It can, which is why it is important that you handle it properly.
Never let raw bones be exposed for too long as that will allow bacteria to settle and start multiplying.
You should also limit the amount of time your dog chews on a bone and return it to storage in 15 minutes’ time.
Some of the common problems encountered with feeding raw bones include:
- Broken bones and splinters – If your dog breaks a bone or gets splinters, then it can be quite dangerous. A broken bone can cause major injury and bleeding, while the splinters could get stuck in their mouth or throat.
- Contamination – Raw bones can carry salmonella and e.coli. If your dog ingests these bacteria, then he will most likely end up with an upset stomach or worse, a severe case of food poisoning.
- Broken teeth – While this is more common in cooked or sun-dried bones, it can also occur in raw bones. Bone chewing frequently results in slab fractures of the carnassial tooth (the largest premolar). If your dog suffers a slab fracture, it will require a lengthy (and costly!) tooth extraction under anesthesia. (consider reading this: 4 Reasons for Dog Licking After Tooth Extraction + Care Tips)
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What Age Can You Give Dogs Raw Bones?
Raw bones are appropriate for dogs of all ages, but it’s important that you introduce them at the right time.
If your dog is a puppy, then you should wait until he is at least 4 to 6 months old before giving him any type of raw bone.
This ensures that his immune system has matured enough to handle the potential pathogens and bacteria present in raw meat.
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Do Raw Bones Splinter When Cracked Open?
Yes, most bones would, under the right amount of pressure. The thing is, your dog is unlikely to have that kind of bite pressure to split open a large bone (proportionate to its size) and cause it danger.
What Bones Are Bad for Dogs?
In general, you should not feed your dog bones that are too small for its size, pork bones (they splinter easily), bones that have been cut, and cooked bones.
Are Filled Bones Safe for Dogs?
Filled bones are sometimes known as recreational bones, and in my opinion, they are not suitable to be fed to dogs.
The treats are whole or partial animal bones that have been processed and packaged for sale in supermarkets, pet stores, and online retailers.
The FDA thoroughly documented the effects, which included digestive tract blockages, choking, mouth cuts and sores, vomiting, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding.
What If Your Dog Chokes On A Raw Bone?
In such a situation, you need to be very careful with the way you handle it as you can easily cause the situation to be more serious than it should be if not done correctly.
Consider performing first aid if you know how to do so, and if the situation is critical, i.e. your dog is choking and coughing violently, try performing a Heimlich maneuver.
The emergency vet is the first place you should visit if the situation permits.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I Give My Dog a Knucklebone?
Raw knucklebones from large livestock are generally safe for dogs to chew, and you should go for those from raw bison, beef, or venison which can be found at local butcher shops. However, if you deem that the bone is too small for your dog, you should not use it. Always use a bone that is too large for your dog to swallow.
Can I Give My Dog Raw Beef Marrow Bones?
Marrow bones, when consumed safely and in moderation, can be a fantastic way to help improve your dog’s oral and general health while also providing a great source of exercise, play, flavor, vitamins, and more.
Can I Feed My Dog Just Raw Meat?
Some people do give their dogs a raw diet, but there are some rules around it. Some veterinarians advise against feeding raw diets to dogs who live with young children or people with compromised immune systems. Raw food must be handled, prepared, and sanitized with extreme caution. Cooked food may be required for dogs suffering from pancreatitis, cancer, or other diseases, and it is also preferable for puppies.
Can Dogs Eat Frozen Raw Meat?
Yes, dogs can eat frozen raw meat. It would be better if you defrost it overnight, and be sure to place the meat in a leak-proof container on the bottom shelf. This prevents messes and cross-contamination of your own food.
In Conclusion: Can You Freeze Raw Bones for Dogs?
These tips should help you with freezing raw bones for dogs.
As long as you follow them, your dog can have a tasty treat that will last much longer than it would normally.
Make sure to pay close attention to the hygiene standards you employ so that it will be safe for not just your dog but also your entire family.
It can be tricky figuring out the right diet for your pooch, which is why we have lots of useful articles to help you out, such as reasons why your dog is always hungry on a raw diet, if dogs can eat hamster treats, whether bully sticks can cause diarrhea in dogs, and much more.
You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.