Are you ready to watch some football this Labor Day weekend and throw some meat (-y bones) on the grill? I bet your pups will be licking their chops if you do…I know Missy & Buzz are, and not in vain, either.
They’ve been eating raw meaty bones on a regular basis ever since we made the switch from kibble to raw in early 2015. Why raw meaty bones? Because they’re part of a balanced, raw diet and make up about 10% of it.
Think about it this way – a dog who’d catch and eat his prey in the wild would eat the whole thing. Most of it would consist of muscle meat (about 80%), but there’s also roughly 10% organs (5% liver, 5% other organs) and about 10% bone.
If you missed parts 1 and 2 of this raw feeding mini series, you can catch up on them here:
Emphasis On RAW Bones
The emphasis definitely lies on the word “raw”. Unlike cooked bones, raw bones are pliable and soft. They don’t splinter like cooked bones and keep a dog’s pearlies nice and clean.
Australian Veterinarian Dr. Ian Billinghurst writes of the benefits of raw meaty bones (RMB) in his book “Give Your Dog A Bone”.
I already talked about their benefits in my post “Can Dogs Really Eat Raw Bones?“.
Raw Meaty Bones I’ve Fed
My guys have had the pleasure of crunching down on the following raw meaty bones:
Chicken leg quarters
Bone-in pork chops
Duck frames are roughly 25% meat and 75% bone and are great for medium to large size breeds. Duck is considered a cooling protein.
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Chicken feet are mainly bone, meaty lamb bones are about 20% meat, and 80% bone. Both are considered to be warming proteins. Chicken feet might not be ideal for large breeds who have a tendency of gulping. The same goes for chicken wings. They’re a good size for smaller to medium size dogs.
Balanced Raw Meal With A Turkey Neck
Turkey necks are about 55% meat, and 45% bone. Turkey is considered to be a neutral protein. They’re a good size for medium to large size dogs.
Missy Brushing Her Pearlies With A Chicken Leg Quarter
Chicken leg quarters are about 80% meat, and 20% bone. As mentioned above, chicken is considered to be a warming protein. They’re a good size for large dogs.
My supermarket around the corner has an awesome deal on those about once per month where I’ll get 2 bags of chicken leg quarters for the price of one. 1 bag typically costs around $9 and contains 8 leg quarters.
They do come with a bunch of skin left on them which I cut off because my pups don’t need that extra fat. It would be a good way of putting some extra pounds onto a dog who’s underweight.
Never feed your dog cooked bones. They can cause serious problems because the cooking process turns them brittle.
Where I Source My Raw Meaty Bones
I’m lucky and can find chicken feet at a local organic farm and turkey necks and thighs at the supermarket down the street. Of course I can also get my hands on chicken drumsticks/wings and bone-in pork chops at the supermarket. Every grocery store should carry those, really.
I can feed my pups chicken wings because they’re not gulpers and are good about breaking them up with a few bites. If your dog is a gulper and a larger breed, I would pass on the wings.
I’ve ordered duck necks from Darwin’s Natural Pet Products, Raw Paws Pet Food, and Raw Feeding Miami. I get duck heads and frames from Raw Feeding Miami, and have also ordered bone-in pork chops, rabbit heads and lamb bones from them.
Ever since I found out that Missy does poorly on lamb (<- click to read more), I obviously stopped feeding that protein.
Duck Frames Are Currently On Sale At Raw Paws Pet Food - Save An Add'l 10% With My Affiliate Code K9Savings
Raw meaty bones are the bomb as far as K9 tooth health is concerned. You need to know your dog though in order to assess which raw meaty bone to feed.
As a general rule of thumb, RMBs should be slightly larger than your dog’s mouth so that he’s forced to chew on them. If you know that your dog is a gulper, hold the RMB with one hand and let your dog chew on the other end. That way you avoid him swallowing the entire bone and possible choking on it.
Remember that RMBs make up about 10% of the raw feeding equation (80% are muscle meat and 10% organs). One way to tell if you’re over-or underfeeding RMBs is to look at your dog’s poop – if it’s too runny, you’re not feeding enough bone. If it’s too dry, you’re feeding too much.
Toothless dogs or those with weak teeth should not eat whole raw meaty bones. It’s best to grind them in that case if you’re planning on making your own meals (less expensive than pre-made commercial raw meals). If it’s in your budget, you can of course purchase pre-made raw meals. They’ll consist of the perfect balance of muscle meat, RMBs and organs, all ground up.
Thank you for the great raw feeding advice! Due to weak teeth, my guys get bone nutrition ground in their raw meals & we brush regularly!
— Cascadian Nomads (@CascadianNomads) September 5, 2017
Does your pup have a favorite RMB? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!