Can Dogs Eat the Leftover Bones From Grilled Ribs?

Here’s the deal:

I too always feel like feeding my dog everything I am eating.

And so, in this Barbecue season, you might have fed your dog the rib bones. But now, you’re worried either it poses a threat to your dog’s health or not.

So should you feed your dog leftover bones from grilled ribs? No. Rib bones can be easily be chewed into small pieces. These small pieces act like shards and might damage their throat and stomach lining.

But you might still be wondering:

What kind of symptoms should I look out for? What are the other risks of feeding bones to my dog?

Keep reading to find out:

Risks Of Consuming Rib Bones For Dogs

Well if you have already fed your dog the rib bones, then that’s okay because you cannot do anything about it now. However, you should try not to feed them theses bones the next time. And especially the cooked ones. Here’s why you should not do so:

The cooked bones, once chewed into small pieces, can cause constipation as they are able to block the intestines. These small pieces of cooked bones might also cause small tears inside the dog’s stomach lining and intestines, which is the last things that you want.

Some dogs might also try to chew too hard on the bones and might break their teeth in the process.

Symptoms of intestinal damage from bones

If you think that your dog has had enough bones to cause damage, here are some symptoms you should look out for:

  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody stools
  • Dental issues

Also, feeding too many bones to your dog can result in your dog to have awful teeth because of all the chewing and grinding. Cracked teeth can be very painful and they have to be removed to avoid infection.

Feeding too many bones to your dog can also cause your dog’s intestines to get blocked. It can only be fixed by surgery which not only is very expensive but also very painful for your lovely dog.

Cooked bones should especially be avoided because they are rather soft and can easily cause splinters and blockage of the intestine. Susan Konecny, Medical director at Best Friends Animal Society, says:

“I do not recommend giving pork rib bones to your dog”

She further quotes:

“Any bone, once chewed into small pieces, can block the intestines and lead to a nasty bout of constipation and can also cause lacerations of the mouth and internal organs”

Stephanie Liff, the owner of Pure Paws Veterinary Care of Clinton Hill, states:

“While pork itself is a fine protein source, the bones should be considered something dangerous and should be disposed of and not used as a treat”

Can You Feed Your Dog Raw Bones?

You might be wondering:

Are there any type of bones dogs can eat? What about raw bones?

Raw bones might be a little better for dogs to eat, but they too are risky for some reasons.

Although they do not crack and break into shards like cooked bones, some pieces can still crawl there way into your dogs’ stomach and cause issues like splinters and constipation. Not only that, but raw bones are also more likely to be coated with bacteria.

Even if the dog does not swallow the bone, ingesting the fatty tissue on the bone can cause some of the following problems:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Protein loss
  • Other intestinal upset symptoms

If you want to give bones to your dog, then find a butcher who is experienced in saving bones for dogs. The butcher will find you the perfect bone which would not be the cause of any health risks to your dog.

It is preferred to give only two bones per week. Too much consumption of bones can also ruin your dog’s appetite. Thus, your dog will lose interest in the food you feed it normally.

The risks also depend on the type of bones. Beef bones are preferably the best ones, as long as they are large. The reason is that they are harder than most other types of animal bones, making it difficult for dogs to break it down.

Can you feed your dog small bones?

However, small bones like that of a chicken are agreed upon by the majority to be unsuitable for dogs and they should not be consumed at any cost. Chicken bones are quite easy for dogs to break and they are most likely to splinter.

More importantly, these bones can easily get caught in your dog’s throat which would cause them to choke. In this matter, especially avoid feeding your dog small bones, whether cooked or uncooked.

Talking about other types of bones, pork bones are not safe, whether they are cooked or raw because of the same reason as chicken bones. On the other hand, lamb bones are similar to beef bones and thus more suitable. Raw bones are usually better, but cooked bones are okay too if they’re large in size.

Alternatives To Feeding Bones


There are some safer alternatives to give your dog something other than bones to satisfy their desire to chew and gnaw. Here are some of our favourite alternatives to bones:

Use bully sticks, antlers or tough, rubber toys.

Nylabones or other chew toys are also an excellent choice and are available in a variety of shapes, textures and flavours. They’re also easily available in pet shops as well as on Amazon.

Generally, you should pick a larger sized toy for your dog to chew on, because this will prevent them from ripping the toy into smaller pieces. It would also prevent your dog from swallowing the fragments or the whole toy or choking themselves on a piece of it.

Just remember to pick a toy or anything that’s safe for your dog to chew on. But remember that the toy must not be small enough that your dog can swallow it. Keep a close eye on your dog whenever he is chewing on something or some chewing toy. Their health should be your first priority.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Swallows A Bad Bone?

These are the four steps you need to take immediately:

1. If you caught your dog in the act while he was chewing on the bad bone or something that’s not good for him to chew on, grab the bone and throw it away before your dog eats it all.

2. Make sure that your dog is not choking.

3. Pick up their hind legs so gravity can help dislodge the bone.

4. Even if your dog is choking or not, call a vet and ask for suggestions. Some vets recommend giving dogs a few pieces of white bread which would help their digestive tract. But every situation can be different, so be sure to call the vet and do exactly what is told by them.

Here a video to help you understand how to help your choking dog:

Another important thing is to always observe if your dog is chewing something that is bad for him or not. Watch out for the symptoms listed above. If your dog shows the symptoms after eating a bone, then go to the vet right away.

Check your dog’s stool for a few days to see if the bone fragments have passed through. If you don’t see the bones in his stool in 3 to 4 days, see your vet to make sure the bones are not stuck in your dog’s digestive tract.

Related Questions:

Can a dog digest a rib bone?

Dogs are unable to fully digest a rib bone. Ingesting an entire rib bone will necessitate a visit to the vet and possible surgery to remove the rib bone. If the bone is cooked, there is the additional danger of splinters damaging the digestive tract. 

Can a dog’s stomach dissolve a bone?

A dog’s stomach has a very strong digestive acid, which has an acidity level of 1 pH. So it can break down almost anything. However, this does not necessarily mean that you can feed your dog whichever bone you like.

Can dogs eat cooked pork meat?

Pork must be thoroughly cooked without any seasonings or additives before you give it to your dog. Pork meat can sometimes cause indigestion in dogs. Undercooked pork should not be given under any circumstances, as they put your dog at risk of getting a parasitic infection called trichinosis.


So let’s just take a quick rewind to everything you need to know about your dog eating bones:

  • Raw bones are better than cooked ones.
  • Larger and thicker bones are better; less likely for your dog to choke on them.
  • Beef and lamb bones are good as long as they are large and raw.
  • Chicken and turkey bones are not good for your dog to eat as they can easily break and splinter.
  • Always remember to stay calm while taking out a bone from your dog’s mouth.
  • If you can’t take out the bone, call your vet immediately.

I hope that now you are well informed about which types of bones are good for your dog to eat. However, I still prefer you to use rubber toys. This way, there will be no health risks to your dog.


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