I first learned about raw meaty bones for dogs in 2014.
Back then, my kibble-fed Boxer mix pup Missy was being treated for thyroid cancer and I was desperately doing research on raw dog food.
I was on a mission to find something that would strengthen her immune system. I just wasn’t ready to lose her yet – I mean, she was only 3 and a half years old at that point!!
Ultimately, I lost her to a second cancer diagnosis in 2018, but she stayed in remission from cancer for 2.5 years longer than predicted by her oncologist.
Her new raw diet helped her with that, including raw meaty bones.
Since my initial research phase in 2015, I’ve fed a ton of different raw meaty bones.
Everything from chicken feet to rabbit heads and duck frames.
That said, I know a thing or two about raw meaty bones for dogs!
- Raw Meaty Bones Diet For Dogs: 10% Of Raw Dog Food
- Never Feed Your Dog Cooked Bones
- Best Raw Meaty Bones For Dogs
- Don’t Feed Your Dog Weight Bearing Bones From Large Hooved Animals
- Where To Buy Raw Meaty Bones For Dogs
- Benefits Of Eating Raw Meaty Bones For Dogs: Tooth, Gum, and Jaw Health
- Raw Meaty Bones For Dogs: Bottom Line
- Content Related to Raw Meaty Bones
Disclaimer: This blog post was originally published in 2019 and has been updated in 2023. It contains affiliate links I may earn compensation through at no additional cost to you.
Raw Meaty Bones Diet For Dogs: 10% Of Raw Dog Food
Raw dog food for adult dogs consists of 70-80% muscle meat, 10% raw meaty bones, and 10% secreting organs (5% liver, 5% other secreting organ).
If you want to add veggies to your dog’s raw diet, feed 70% muscle meat and 10% veggies.
Raw meaty bones can and will be eaten entirely, which is normal and nothing to worry about.
A dog’s stomach is much more acidic than our human’s. Therefore, it’s designed to break down raw cuts of meat including raw meaty bones.
Although raw meaty bones only make up 10% of the overall raw diet, they’re an integral part of it.
That’s because they’re rich in calcium, phosphorus and trace minerals.
Those are essential to a dog’s skeletal health.
Without the bone content, a raw diet would be nutritiously incomplete and considered unbalanced.
Learn more on balanced raw dog food here.
How To Determine The Amount Of Bones To Feed
As far as raw meaty bones are concerned, it’s important to understand that they don’t just consist of bone, but also of meat!
So a 12 oz turkey neck isn’t just pure bone, it also has a certain amount of meat on it.
Since turkey necks are about 40% bone and 60% meat, a 12 oz turkey neck would have 4.8 oz of bone and 7.2 oz of meat.
Now, a 55 lb adult dog who exercises 1-2 hours per day needs to eat 22 oz of raw dog food per day, 10% of which is bone.
10% of 22 oz is 2.2 oz.
But the 12 oz turkey neck has 4.8 oz of bone – now what?
Well, in order to figure out how much turkey neck your dog needs, weigh the turkey neck, then calculate its bone content.
Remember, in our 12 oz turkey neck example, the bone content is 4.8 oz.
Next, divide your dog’s daily bone allowance by the bone content of the turkey neck, and multiple the result by 100:
2.2/4.8 = 0.45×100 = 4.5 oz
That’s how much of the turkey neck your dog would need to eat in one day!
For many more examples such as this one and a list of the bone vs meat content of 20 common raw meaty bones, check out my ebook Understanding the Math in BARF & PMR Raw Feeding:
Never Feed Your Dog Cooked Bones
I have to stress the importance of never feeding your dog cooked bones!
They should NEVER be fed because cooking changes the bone structure and makes them brittle.
That said, they can splinter and cause choking as well as lots of internal damage to a dog’s body.
Raw meaty bones on the other hand are soft and pliable.
The only time where you can cook bones for your dog is when you're making homemade bone broth.
Best Raw Meaty Bones For Dogs
The best raw meaty bones for dogs are poultry:
It's important to always feed your dog the appropriate size raw meaty bone.
That said, raw meaty bones should always be larger than a dog’s mouth.
That's especially important when your dog is a gulper to ensure that the bone gets chewed a few times and not just swallowed whole.
For example, don't give your gulping Great Dane a duck head, and don't give your gulping Boxer a chicken wing.
Raw Meaty Bones That Are Safe To Feed Small Dogs
Small dogs should be fed smaller raw meaty bones that are appropriate in size to their mouths.
They can be fed:
- Chicken wings/necks/feet
- Duck feet/necks
- Small beef oxtails
Tip: Read all about raw chicken feet for dogs here!
Grind Your Dog’s Raw Meaty Bones If They Have Trouble Chewing Due To Age Or Poor Dental Health
Dogs who suffer from tooth decay or those that might have had the majority of their teeth pulled should not be offered raw meaty bones for obvious reasons.
They can’t chew them.
But that doesn’t mean that those dogs have to miss out on the health benefits of bone content.
You can buy a meat/bone grinder and grind your own bones and then add them to your pup’s raw diet.
If no teeth are left you’ll have to grind the entirety of the meal, to include the muscle meat and organs.
They offer raw, balanced meals that have been put together following the 80/10/5/5 raw feeding formula and that have been completely ground.
Some brands like Darwin’s and Raw Paws Pet Food add veggies and/or fruit to their formulas.
Be aware that those meals are more expensive than purchasing the individual components of the raw diet and putting them together yourself.
You’re paying for the convenience factor!
That said, every now and then I buy pre-made raw as well, but usually only when I can get a good deal on it.
Raw Meaty Bones I Feed My Dogs
My Boxer mixes Missy (50 lb) and Buzz (75 lb) ate:
- Turkey wings & necks
- Duck frames/heads/necks/wings & feet
- Chicken leg quarters, drumsticks and feet
They also had the occasional rabbit head, (stuffed) quail, and beef oxtail.
Watch Missy eat a duck frame here.
Raw Feeding Miami carry whole quails. A 4 pack of those is $14.
My pup Wally is a 38 lb Feist mix and eats:
- Chunked rabbit and raw rabbit heads
- Duck heads/necks/wings & feet
- Turkey wings and necks
- Pork trotters
- Goat ribs
Watch Wally eat a duck head here.
There are a few raw meaty bones I don't feed him like a) duck frames (they're a bit too large for him), b) quails and c) any raw meaty chicken bones.
The reason why he can't have quails and chicken is because he's allergic to both.
Don't Feed Your Dog Weight Bearing Bones From Large Hooved Animals
I don't feed weight bearing bones from large hooved grazing animals such as beef and bison (knuckle and femur bones).
Neither should you!
They should be avoided because of their density, which can fracture teeth.
It makes sense when you think about it – they have to hold up hundreds of pounds of animal weight after all!
In comparison, poultry bones are considerably less dense because they only hold up a few pounds of animal.
I also don't feed deer legs, but I do let Wally rip the meat off of them.
I can do this because he's OK with leaving the bone alone and he accepts me taking it away when he's done with the meat.
It's important to know your dog's chewing habits!
Don't Feed Your Dog Smoked Beef Bones
Also don't feed your dog smoked beef bones!
I made the huge mistake of offering Buzz a large, smoked beef bone from the grocery store for Christmas back in 2014.
This was before I started feeding raw dog food and assumed that all recreational bones for dogs were safe.
I couldn’t have been more wrong as it resulted in Buzz fracturing a molar that had to be removed in its entirety.
It was a painful and expensive experience I don’t wish on anyone else.
Where To Buy Raw Meaty Bones For Dogs
You can get raw meaty bones from dog food retailers like:
- Raw Feeding Miami
- Raw Paws Pet Food, and
- My Pet Carnivore.
You can also find some at your local grocery store, Walmart, or a nearby farm.
Raw Feeding Miami
You'll find the following raw meaty bones at Raw Feeding Miami:
- Chicken: Feet, leg quarters, necks, and rib cages
- Duck: Chunked duck, feet, frames, heads, necks, wings
- Goose: Chunked goose, heads, necks, and wings
- Pork: Tails
- Quail: Whole quails
- Rabbit: Chunked rabbit, ground rabbit bones, whole bones, and heads
- Turkey: Ground turkey necks and whole turkey necks
- Pheasant: Pheasant grind
- Wild boar: Baby back ribs
Raw Paws Pet Food
You can buy the following raw meaty bones from this brand:
- Chicken: Necks, feet, wings, leg quarters, and backs
- Duck: Necks and frames
- Turkey: Necks and tails
- Goat: Meaty goat bones (ribs, necks, tails, femur bones)
- Lamb: Meaty lamb bones (ribs, necks, tails, femur bones)
- Pork: Meaty pork neck bones & pig tails
My Pet Carnivore
My Pet Carnivore sells these raw meaty bones:
- Beaver: Ground whole beaver
- Chicken: Coarse and fine ground whole chicken, feet and necks
- Duck: Coarse and fine ground whole duck, feet and necks
- Goat: Coarse ground whole goat, chunks and tails
- Lamb & Mutton: Coarse ground whole mutton, mutton chunks, ground lamb supreme (only about 5% bone content from ribs), lamb breast ribs
- Muskrat: Ground whole muskrat
- Pork: Coarse and fine ground whole pork and chunks
- Rabbit: Coarse and fine ground whole rabbit and feet
- Turkey: Coarse and fine ground whole turkey and necks
Grocery Stores & Walmart
It'll depend a little on what your particular grocery stores and Walmart carry, but I've been able to find the following at my local ones:
- Grocery stores: Chicken leg quarters, wings, drumsticks, turkey necks, and pork trotters
- Walmart: Chicken feet, wings, leg quarters, turkey necks and beef oxtails
Local farms can be particular great for finding bone-in rabbit cuts as well as chicken feet.
Benefits Of Eating Raw Meaty Bones For Dogs: Tooth, Gum, and Jaw Health
I’ve already mentioned their calcium, phosphorus and trace mineral content which are all important for a healthy skeleton.
But raw meaty bones also act as a natural tooth brush by scraping off food residue and therefore helping prevent plaque buildup. The latter can cause a plethora of diseases as the bacteria enter the bloodstream and travel to vital organs.
Gnawing on the bone is also a wonderful means of exercising a dog’s jaws and providing mental stimulation.
It’s OK to offer raw meaty bones that are still partially frozen for a longer lasting workout, so to speak.
They're also great for puppies as the cold helps soothe hurting puppy gums!
Raw Meaty Bones For Dogs: Bottom Line
Raw meaty bones are an integral part of balanced raw dog food. They're safe to feed to your dog as long as a few guidelines are observed.
Remember to feed the appropriate size raw meaty bone.
You'll also want to avoid weight bearing ones from large grazing animals as well as smoked ones.
Your dog’s teeth will thank you!
Do you feed raw meaty bones? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!
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- All about raw chicken feet for dogs
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