When & how to feed raw marrow bones for dogs

When & How To Feed Raw Marrow Bones For Dogs

Ever wonder how to feed raw marrow bones for dogs?

That’s a valid question because they’re different from raw meaty bones (RMBs).

As a raw feeder, I mostly give my pup Wally RMBs like turkey necks, rabbit heads and raw pig feet.

But he also gets the occasional raw marrow bone when I can find them on sale.

Now, while RMBs can be eaten in their entirety including the bone, raw marrow bones are different.

So in today’s blog post, I’m going to share a video of how Wally eats raw marrow bones and talk about the following:

  • How are marrow bones different from raw meaty bones?
  • How often can dogs have raw marrow bones?
  • How long can you keep a marrow bone for a dog?
  • Are frozen marrow bones safe for dogs?
  • When not to feed raw marrow bones
  • Where to buy raw marrow bones for dogs

When & How To Feed Raw Marrow Bones For Dogs

Brown Feist dog sitting in front of a raw marrow bone that's in someone's hand

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How Are Raw Marrow Bones Different From Raw Meaty Bones?

Raw marrow bones and raw meaty bones are both raw, but there’s one main difference.

While raw meaty bones are soft and pliable, marrow bones are super hard.

It makes sense when you think about where they come from – leg bones!

Specifically from the femur, shank or tibia bone of steer.

Well, technically speaking you can get marrow bones from all sorts of animals, but beef marrow bones are the easiest to source.

Those bones hold up anywhere from 1000 lb to 3000 lb, so that gives you a pretty good idea of how dense they are.

Especially if you compare them to a turkey neck as a turkey only weighs somewhere between 20-40 lbs.

Either way, it means raw marrow bones are classified as recreational bones, and not as fully edible raw meaty bones!

How Often Can Dogs Have Raw Marrow Bones?

Since raw marrow bones are recreational bones, you can offer them once a week.

That should be enough to help keep dog teeth clean and offer some entertainment, especially if they also get raw meaty bones on a weekly basis.

When you offer your pup a raw marrow bone, I strongly suggest you supervise that chewing session.

Most dogs will instinctively know that the marrow in the middle is the good stuff and concentrate on that part, but some dogs will also try and shove their teeth into the bone.

When Not To Feed Raw Marrow Bones

When dogs go for the bone part instead of the soft marrow interior, that’s when you want to take the marrow bone away!

If you don’t, there’s a chance your pup will break a tooth given how dense the bone is.

My Boxer mix Buzz once fractured a molar on a smoked beef bone from the grocery store.

Granted, it didn’t have a marrow interior and it was before I had switched him and his sister Missy to raw dog food and didn’t know any better.

He went to town on that bone and chewed the heck out of it, so it was no wonder he ended up with a broken tooth.

You can read more about that broken dog tooth experience here.

So that said, don’t offer your dog any raw marrow bones if they:

  • Are gulpers
  • Are power chewers
  • Have resource guarding tendencies

If they do any of the above, you may not be able to take the marrow bone away from them, and things may get ugly, including the empty marrow bone lodging around your dog’s jaw.

So know your dog!

Of course you could cut the marrow out of the bone, but this approach takes away the entertainment benefit of getting all of the marrow out of the interior of the bone.

How Wally Eats Raw Marrow Bones

Wally is really good about his approach with marrow bones.

He’ll chew off the meat on the outside of the bone (there’s only very little) and then he concentrates on cleaning out the marrow.

The way he does that is by licking it out! Sort of like he’s emptying a frozen Kong dog toy.

Brown Feist dog licking the marrow out of a raw beef marrow bone

With that in mind, it takes Wally about 60-90 minutes to completely eat the marrow part on a 2 inch-ish marrow bone.

Then he leaves the bone behind and goes to his water bowl to drink.

When he’s done with the bone, I toss it into the trash.

The video below gives you a 10 minute glimpse into his marrow bone ways (I wasn’t going to record all of the 90 minutes he took with this particular marrow bone).

Video of Wally eating a raw marrow bone

So just to be clear, when the marrow bone looks like this, it’s time to toss it:

Emptied raw marrow bone about to be tossed

How Long Can You Keep A Marrow Bone For A Dog?

You can keep raw marrow bones in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Once you’ve offered it to your pup, I wouldn’t leave it sitting out at room temperature for more than a few hours.

In the freezer, they last about a year.

Are Frozen Marrow Bones Safe For Dogs?

Frozen marrow bones are definitely too hard for dogs.

I mean, they’re already extremely hard raw, so I wouldn’t risk offering them frozen.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Marrow Bones?

Likewise, don’t give your pup any cooked marrow bones.

Cooking bones is ALWAYS a big no no, and that includes marrow bones.

However, you CAN use marrow bones in bone broth, at which point you’ll obviously be cooking them, albeit on small heat.

But once the bone broth is done cooking, you discard the marrow bones along with any other bones you may be using.

At that point, the marrow will have seeped into the broth and you’ll have marrow bones with an empty interior like the one pictured below!

Click here for a homemade bone broth recipe.

What a marrow bone looks like once a dog licked the marrow out!
Empty marrow bone after Wally licked all of the marrow out

What Are The Benefits of Raw Bone Marrow?

Raw bone marrow is very rich in glucosamine and chondroitin, two of the building blocks of joints.

That makes bone marrow a healthy natural supplement for your dog’s mobility as it helps decrease inflammation in the joints.

Can Too Much Bone Marrow Make A Dog Sick?

The one downside of bone marrow is that it’s a rich, fatty tissue.

So if your pup has a known history of pancreatitis or a sensitive stomach, too much of it can cause diarrhea.

That’s why I recommend you start with smaller marrow bones or only let your pup chew on a larger marrow bone for 10-15 minutes at a time.

Tip: I like to keep slippery elm around the house to treat an acute case of diarrhea.

Where To Buy Raw Marrow Bones For Dogs

You can buy marrow bones for dogs in different sizes from butchers as well as in the meat section of most grocery stores.

2″ marrow bones are a great size for small and medium size dogs, and 4″ marrow bones are great for larger pups.

I personally buy 2″ ones for Wally (he weighs around 38 lb).

Another alternative is to scoop some up when you place a raw dog food order online.

I’m aware of the following raw dog food retailers in the US who carry raw marrow bones:

Raw Paws Pet Food

The benefits of split marrow bones is that it’s impossible for the bone to get lodged around your dog’s jaw once the marrow has been removed.

Tip: Save 15% with my affiliate discount code K9Savings.

Beef marrow bones for dogs from Raw Paws Pet Food

My Pet Carnivore

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3 raw marrow bones for dogs on a white plate

When & How To Feed Raw Marrow Bones For Dog: Bottom Line

Raw marrow bones for dogs should be fed as recreational bones.

Unlike raw meaty bones, they’re not soft and pliable and can cause cracked teeth if the dog tries to dig their teeth into the bone part.

The safest way of offering them to your pup involves supervised chewing sessions where you make sure that they only lick the marrow out of the interior of the bone.

Raw marrow bones are not a good fit for gulpers, power chewers and dogs who won’t let you touch their bone as they chew on it.

Raw bone marrow is naturally rich in chondroitin and glucosamine, which means they support joint health in dogs.

However, they’re also rich in fatty tissue which can cause diarrhea if dogs eat too much of it.

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.






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