Can Dogs Eat Rib Bones? Dangers And Safe Alternatives

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can dogs eat rib bones

The idea that your dog can eat your rib bone may seem like a doting gesture when it is a ticking bomb in reality.

You may be aware that they love bones. But can dogs eat rib bones safely? You may also be aware that bones are dangerous for your dog.

Below, you can find the topics we covered in this article:

So Can Dogs Eat Rib Bones? Is It Safe?

Dogs should not eat bones. Whether it is a raw rib bone or cooked, there are potential health hazards involved that are not worth taking, like choking, digestion problems, mouth or tongue injuries, and others.

Giving your dog raw bones is dangerous but can be safe if you follow a few simple rules. Let’s look at different preparation methods of rib bones:

Raw Bones

raw bones

When you cook food, you soften it to ease digestion and kill bacteria and other contaminants. When giving ribs to your dog, you may circumvent all the above procedures and put your dog at risk of becoming sick.

Raw rib bones contain bacteria and other contaminations that can cause food poisoning to your dog. For instance, raw pork carries roundworms known as Trichinella spiralis which can cause Trichinosis in your dog.

Raw beef bones may not pose a danger to your dog by breaking into small pieces, which are dangerous when swallowed. However, many veterinarians frown upon it as you never know when your dog can crack the bone and swallow.

Cooked Bones

cooked bones

Cooked rib bones pose a more significant health hazard than pork rib bones or raw beef since cooking weakens bones making them easy to break. Cooked bones easily break.  A small shard of the cooked bone can perforate your dog’s digestive tract causing sepsis then death.

Risks of feeding your dog cooked bones[1]:

  • Mouth and tongue injuries
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Constipation
  • Broken teeth
  • Looped bones on the lower jaw
  • Peritonitis
  • Dog’s gastrointestinal tract blockage

Cooked Rib Meat

cooked rib meat

There is nothing wrong with giving your dog cooked pork or beef. However, as with any human food, there are seasonings, sugar, sauces, barbecue rubs, salt, and other additives that can upset your dog’s stomach.

A lot of salt in your dog’s diet for an extended period can cause severe injuries to your dog. Canines do not require sodium in their meals.

Additionally, excess calories can inflame the dog’s pancreas. Signs of pancreatitis or irritable bowel syndrome in your dog are:

  • Bloody stool
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

If you must offer your dog cooked rib meat, avoid additives and keep it lean. Also, garlic and onions are toxic to your furry friend.



Giving your dog a rawhide to chew on may cause similar effects as raw and cooked rib bones. Rawhide contains toxic chemicals that may have E Coli or Salmonella. These contaminations can cause intestinal blockage and digestion problems.

Moreover, artificial dog chews may contain sweeteners, gelatin, and other preservatives that can cause cancer. Avoid rawhide chews with the above additives.

Edible Bones

An edible bone is soft, hollow with meaty tissues and cartilage bone. Usually, when talking about edible bones, it is mainly poultry bones. However, some edible bones are non-poultry, but they are expensive.

Additionally, not all birds’ bones are edible, especially when raw. Some weight-bearing bones can splinter to sharp bone fragments, causing potential damage to your dog. The following are the safe poultry bones:

  • Backs
  • Necks
  • Wingtips
  • Feet

The above bones are soft, high in calcium, and have a beneficial dental crunch. Unlike wings and feet, the backs and necks are meatier, giving your pet fat and calories. When feeding your dog, always give it an appropriate size.

If your dog is a raw feeder, edible bones are a good source of calcium. But if your dog’s diet consists of calcium, limit the portions of edible bones. Chicken bones contain higher levels of calcium than other kinds of bones. Additionally, your dog is allergic to poultry; you can opt for lamb or pork bones.

Dangers of Feeding Your Dog Rib Bones

The first risk is a choking dog. Choking can be scary as your dog tries to cough and probably collapse due to a lack of oxygen.

If a bone is stuck anywhere in between the throat and stomach, your dog may exert the following symptoms:

  • Drool
  • Cough
  • Vomit
  • Rub the head and neck on the ground

In addition to the above symptoms, if your dog has abdominal pains, lethargy, and blood in the dog’s stool or persistent vomiting, take your pup to a vet immediately as it could have internal damage. Bloody stool is a sign of severe internal damage.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Swallows a Bone?

If you think that your dog ate a bone and it’s stuck in your dog’s esophagus or gastrointestinal tract, you should address the problem immediately.

If you can see the bone, you can grasp it and try to remove it. However, ensure you don’t distress or hurt the dog further. If it is not visible, take your dog to a vet immediately.

Radiography will determine whether the vet will make the dog vomit with veterinary medicine to bring the bone up, wait for it in the dog’s stool or if the dog requires surgery.

If your dog has swallowed a bone and is eating well and acting normal, you can monitor the situation as it may come out from the other end without causing internal damage.

Safe Alternatives to Animal Bones

If you plan to keep off animal bones from your dog, it’s not the end of your dog’s chewing days. There are many options for dog chews. Here is a list of alternative dog chews for your furry friend:

1. Pegetables

You can buy pegetables in any pet store. Pegetables are dental dog chews made from carrots, peas, and sweet potatoes. These chews are gluten-free and easy to digest. Again, they clean your pet’s teeth and freshen their breath.

2. Antlers


Antlers are from an elk or deer and are a good source of manganese, potassium, and calcium. These treats are not stinky or greasy. However, they are hard and could fracture your dog’s teeth if it chews aggressively.

Elk antlers are better than deer antlers but in both cases, always be cautious.

3. Carrots


Baby carrots are an excellent treat for your dogs. They are low in calories and rich in nutrients. These chews are also great if your dogs need to lose a few pounds.

If you want to learn more about dogs and weight loss, read our article on How To Help A Dog Lose Weight.

4. Salmon Skin Bones

salmon skin bones

Salmon skin bones are simply what the name entails; they are bones made from salmon skin. If you have a picky dog about vegetables or are allergic to proteins, these safe bones are your best choice.

They are great for your dogs’ coat. However, never leave your dog with one since she can swallow a piece and could choke with it.

5. Bully Sticks

bully sticks

Most dog owners love bully sticks since they don’t contain any additives, chemicals, or preservatives. Bully sticks may have a strong odor, but they last for long.

Safety Guidelines

All is not lost when it comes to treating your dogs to a rib bone. If you must treat your dogs with a rib bone to chew, it is advisable to follow the following rules:

  • Supervision: Never leave your dog alone when chewing on a rib bone. Sometimes, your dog may gnaw aggressively and cause serious injuries or bite a big chunk and choke.
  • Dogs with pancreatitis: Never give your dog bone marrow if she has had pancreatitis as it may cause flare-up due to the high fats.
  • Dogs with restored dental work: If your dog has had dental work in the past, don’t give it a rib bone as there is a high risk of tooth breakage.
  • Gnawed down animal bones: Throw away chewed on boned as they can cause choking. Also, such bone fragments can cause injury to the dog’s mouth or internal organs.
  • Always give your dog bones after meals: If your dog is not hungry, she is likely to chew slowly.
  • Never give your dog small rib bones as they can swallow them whole. Give your dog a large bone longer than its muzzle.
  • Refrigerate the rib bones after use to avoid contamination.
  • Only allow your dog to chew on a bone for a few minutes

How to Make Bone Broth for Dogs

Can dogs eat bone broth? Instead of discarding your dog’s bone leftovers, you can make bone broth as shown below:

  1. Add your bones to a crackpot
  2. Cover the bones with clean water
  3. Add three tablespoonfuls of apple cider vinegar
  4. Set low and cook for 24 hours
  5. Sieve out the bones
  6. Add coconut oil, kelp, and turmeric as desired
  7. Let it cool
  8. Transfer it to mason jars
  9. Refrigerate for two days and freeze the excess

You can change the recipe according to your dog’s needs. You can freeze the broth as ice cubes and add it to your dog’s meal.

Health Benefits of Bones

Chewing is essential for your dog as it acts as floss or brush to its teeth. This, in turn, reduces gum diseases.

Chewing also stimulates saliva enzymes production, which stops plaque buildup. If your dog chews on bones frequently, it is less likely to lick or scratch its paws.

Bones are rich in phosphorous, calcium, and other nutrients. They also prevent bloating, prevent anal problems, strengthen stomach muscles and foster good bowel movements.

Other than physical health benefits, chewing is also suitable for stimulating your dog mentally. This reduces anxiety which can cause heart diseases and high blood pressure.

The Bottom Line

So, can dogs eat rib bones? Whether to give your dog a rib bone or not, many healthcare providers differ on the issue. Ultimately, it is your decision as a dog owner to make.

Some veterinarians advocate adding bone powder to your dog’s diet or giving the dog over-cooked bones. However, this eliminates the benefits of chewing on your pet’s health.

Despite the indecisiveness, if you must, cooked bones are off-limits. Therefore, always discuss it with your veterinarian before giving your pet some table scraps.

Photo of author
Diana Nadim
My name is Diana, a travel enthusiast, and a pet lover who believes that our animal friends deserve the best. I'm passionate about the well-being of animals, big or small. Through writing, I offer practical and helpful advice backed by research. I provide sources to the research data I find to ensure my readers always get the best and most accurate knowledge and information on the internet.

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