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Dem Bones


Guest Fluffy
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My grocery store doesn't sell turkey necks, but I'd really like to get Badger some meaty bones to gnaw on to help keep his teeth less gunky. I know all the basic rules, like no cooked bones and no super-hard long bones, but...what's *good* to give, that I would actually be able to find? My grocery store has a typical selection, so things like ribs, wings, or soup bones (although I think soup bones are on the "bad" list, right?) are available, but semi-exotic things like necks generally aren't. So: what cuts that I can get in a typical grocery store meat section that are

a) cheap

B) safe

and c) good for teeth?

 

I've heard people elsewhere mention chicken wings and beef ribs. Are either of these good options?

 

I'd prefer to get something he could completely consume, so I don't have to wrestle him for the cleaned-off bones (bones are one of the few things he gets growly and snappish about, so the less we have to go down that road, the better), but I wouldn't rule something that's a good option out just because it's not totally consumable. Also, if he eats a bone with meat on it, would that generally be in place of a meal? Or is it few enough calories that he gets his usual meals that day, too?

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Guest Swifthounds

Chicken wings aren't great for a greyhound for several reasons, but mainly because the size presents a gulping/chocking hazard. Same goes for chicken necks and, often, turkey necks as well. Same for drumsticks.

 

Try chicken back pieces, chicken leg quarters, or a pork picnic with some of the meat shaved off (but not completely bare). A slab of pork ribs is fine as well (make it at least 4 ribs or so).

 

While you're at it, I would start working on the "give" or "leave it" command with a less valuable treat. With something valuable like a bone, there's bound to come a time that you want/need to take it from him and you want that to be a good experience for all.

 

ETA: You're correct that the marrow or soup bones are the kind you want to avoid.

Edited by Swifthounds
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I've given dogs chicken backs and legs with no problem. Another suggestion is to ask the manager of your local store if they can order the turkey necks for you. Just because they don't stock them doesn't mean they can't get them. You may have to agree to buy a case quantity which is probably about 25lbs so you would have to have some freezer space to store them. This would be a good time of yr to to stock up with all the turkeys being stockpiled for the holidays.

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One of the best is duck necks. Perfect size, and almost all hounds seem to love them. They're not easy to find, however. Beef neck bones and pork neck bones with a decent amount of meat on them are good. Your dogs will probably not be able to consume the entire bone, but they'll strip all the meat off them and then work on the boney portion for a good dental workout. Beef and pork neck bones are also cheap. I can get them for less than $1.00 per pound. I also happen to like large chicken drumsticks, which I can pick up for about 59 cents a pound. Chick quarters are good, but they can be messy.

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Personally not only do I stay away from soup bones, I don't give any beef bones as I've found them to be too hard (and I feed raw full time so my guys are not new to bones). I think most any turkey piece, as long as it's not too small, and most any pork piece with the same caveat. Chicken items are fine but again not too small - I'd go for a chicken leg quarter (leg and thigh attached), or if you get cheap whole chickens (though usually the quarters are cheaper) you can cut them in halves or quarters depending on size. My grey would get a half chicken for example, but that's a day's worth of food for him - better tooth scrubbing than a quarter though.

 

It's probably easier to have a mental image in your head, so try to picture a chicken leg quarter and don't buy items smaller than that. If you go smaller there is a chance your dog will try to swallow the piece whole, and of course the smaller it is, the less chewing required, and therefore less tooth scrubbing potential.

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I can often get chicken leg quarters for .39/lb. The dogs love them - and I cut back on their kibble when they get them. But they don't get them in winter very often because I feed raw outside.

 

When I want to cook skinless boneless chicken breast for the humans, I buy split chicken breast, and de-bone them myself - and give the dogs the ribcages and skin.

 

Pork ribs are great, but not often on sale. You can do chicken thighs if your dog won't try to swallow them whole (mine try so I don't buy them).

 

Try bigger chain stores if you get a chance.

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Guest greygirls2

I use beef neck bones, ribs, chicken feet, turkey necks. Check to see if your market will special order the necks and feet. Mine does and they come in a 30lb box for .89 lb for the necks out here.

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I do beef knuckle bones (usually the "ball" of the ball-and-socket hip joint). We get ours from the local butcher, and they last a while. They chew for a couple hours, then I put them in the freezer, and bring them back out later.

 

We do these at the suggestion of the hairy dogs' breeder, to clean teeth. Smaller bones don't work as well for teeth, because they don't have to work them back to the molars, so they don't scrape gunk off.

 

There are risks, certainly. Not only is there the risk of broken teeth, but you could see a piece get stuck in the mouth, and you could see pancreatitis, due to the fat content. But these risks are minor, and supervision will ensure that something can be done immediately to treat problems. Our dogs' breeder says that in 30+ years of feeding bones like this, they have had not incidents of pancreatitis, and they have only had a couple of minor broken teeth. The breeder is a vet, also, so I do trust his judgment.

Sarah, the human, Henley, and Armani the Borzoi boys, and Brubeck the Deerhound.
Always in our hearts, Gunnar, Naples the Greyhounds, Cooper and Manero, the Borzoi, and King-kitty, at the Rainbow Bridge.

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