As pet owners, it’s our responsibility to make the best decisions for them, in all aspects of their lives; from what shampoo to bathe them in, to which food and treats to give them. This can be quite an overwhelming process, especially when it comes to nutrition. Nutrition and health are always evolving, as more and more studies are conducted on certain foods and their ability to heal and/or prevent certain conditions.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing something is safe and healthy for them because the company or labeling says they are. As a business owner in this particular industry, I know all too well how tricky labeling can get. It solely depends on what the individual state’s labeling requirements are. In some states, companies are allowed to make health claims without having to submit documentation supporting those claims. Other states will not allow that verbiage to be anywhere on the labels without the proper documentation. Unfortunately, this variance in regulation can lead to a very dangerous situation. Instead of taking labeling at face value, or anything for that matter, we should take it upon ourselves to do a little research on our own and then come to a conclusion. My conclusion may be different from the next person based on the information and the source it was obtained from.
One of the biggest challenges of feeding a biologically appropriate diet to our dogs and cats is the bone portion. ANY time you feed bone, there is a RISK involved. I’ll say that again
for those in the back…… ANY TIME YOU FEED BONE, THERE IS A RISK INVOLVED. Bones inherently break, shatter, or splinter, depending on the type of bone being used. This goes for both raw bone and dried bone.
Any time you alter a food, it changes the chemical composition of that food!
Not only is it important to choose the correct raw bones for your specific dog, it’s just as important to choose the correct dried bones/chews as well. For the purposes of this article, I won’t go into detail about which bones and chews are appropriate for feeding a raw diet. Instead, I wanted to share information from scientific studies that show that there are indeed differences between raw bones and dried bones, so that you can make better decisions for your pet.
A study was conducted to evaluate effects of different bone preparation methods on bone parameters and the correlations between bone breaking strength and the other bone parameters. Bone breaking strength is dramatically changed depending on bone preparation methods. The research was supported by the United States Department of Agriculture, Hatch grant, and US Poultry & Egg Association grant. In the study, chicken tibia and chicken femurs were used. The bones were cleaned of attached tissue and then divided into 3 groups: fresh, dry, and fat-free dry.
In short, the study affirmed that the bone breaking strength of the dry and fat-free dry preparations were significantly lower compared with that of the fresh preparation. A heat treatment for drying appears to have a detrimental impact on bone integrity and strength. This means that dried bones are significantly easier to break and can affect the way they break since less force is needed.
You can read the study here: https://pubag.nal.usda.gov/pubag/downloadPDF.xhtml?id=9806&content=PDF
There was another study conducted on the influences of organic components on mechanical properties of cortical bone with different water content by nanoidnentation (testing the mechanical properties of materials and their hardness). This study is more difficult to read through, but to put it simply, the elastic modulus (measures an object’s resistance to being deformed elastically (non-permanently) when stress is applied to it: a stiffer material will have a higher elastic modulus) and hardness of both original bone and deproteinization bone (eliminating protein from some live materials; particularly used in studies on the inorganic part of bone, teeth, and shells), all increased with decreasing water content.
You can read this study here:
What does all this mean??
In a nutshell, this means that it is scientifically proven that when bones have heat applied to them and water is removed, the hardness of the bone increases, but it takes less force to break them compared to raw bones.
Raw bones break differently than dried bones.
The purpose of this article is not to discourage you from feeding dried bones or bone in treats, but instead, it is simply to help educate using scientifically proven studies conducted by reputable entities on the subject at hand. When we are better informed, we are better equipped to make important decisions regarding our pets.
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