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Raw Bones: Do They Really Crack Open?

By T. J. Dunn, Jr., DVM

Do raw bones splinter when cracked open? Take a look at the following photos. A fresh raw beef bone (with fat, muscle and connective tissue still present!) was purchased from the grocery store, placed in a vise and compressed until it broke open. The shards and splinters were collected and placed on the dish in front of the fractured bone.

The images speak for themselves.

I don't know about you but I sure wouldn't allow my dog any chance to consume bone fragments.

And though it would be unlikely that a dog could break open a large beef bone such as this, as the dog grinds away at the bone edges, small chips and fragments exactly like what you see in these photos could break off.

If these small chips are swallowed they will pass along the intestinal tract and be eliminated in the stool -- most of the time! Stomach acid will dissolve the bone -- eventually. But stomach acidity depends upon various factors including the amount of food, type of food and other factors present in the stomach.

On occasion bone chips can  create severe constipation, become lodged between teeth (see below), in the esophagus or intestinal tract, and can create severe pain when the dog eventually has to pass the chips rectally.

Bone fragment lodged between the upper molars.

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