Marrow Bones for Dogs: A Complete Guide

Marrow Bones for Dogs

Marrow Bones for Dogs: Marrow bones, also known as beef knuckle bones, are bones that contain a soft, fatty tissue inside called marrow. For dogs, these bones are a treat and play toy all in one.

Marrow contains lots of protein, fat, and minerals that dogs need in their diet. The hard outer bone protects the marrow inside, and dogs love working to get at the treat within. Gnawing on the bone helps clean teeth and satisfies a dog’s natural urge to chew.

For small or medium dogs, look for bones that are 3 to 6 inches long. Large breed dogs will need bigger bones, around 8 inches or longer. Only give raw, uncooked bones that are specifically meant for dogs. Cooked bones can splinter and cause damage.

Always supervise your dog when giving them a marrow bone. Make sure they don’t break off or swallow any pieces of bone. Take away any bone with sharp edges. Limit bone chewing to 15-30 minutes per session to avoid upset stomach or diarrhea.

You can save a bone for the next day. Store it in the refrigerator between uses. However, bones can dry out, become brittle or grow bacteria over time. It’s best to discard the bone within 1 to 2 weeks. For the safest option, only give a bone to your dog once, then throw it out.

Marrow bones can provide mental and physical enrichment for dogs when given properly and in moderation. Follow these tips to give your best friend a treat they’re sure to love.

Marrow Bones for Dogs

Benefits of Giving Your Dog Marrow Bones

Giving your dog marrow bones provides several benefits to their health and happiness.

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1. Mental Stimulation

Chewing on marrow bones provides mental stimulation for your dog. Working to get the marrow out exercises their mind and keeps them occupied for hours. This can help relieve boredom and discourage behavioral issues in dogs left alone during the day.

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2. Dental Health

The act of chewing helps remove tartar buildup and plaque from your dog’s teeth. As your dog gnaws on the bone, it scrapes off soft plaque and tartar. This can help reduce bad breath and the risk of dental disease over time. For the best dental benefit, choose raw, uncooked bones that are harder to chew.

3. Nutrition

Marrow bones contain healthy fats, protein, and other nutrients that are good for your dog. The bone marrow in the center of the bone is rich in nutrients. As your dog chews through the hard outer bone, they gain access to this nutritious treat inside. Marrow bones can be a valuable source of glucosamine and chondroitin, which are good for joint health.

  • For small dogs, try beef or lamb shank bones. For large dogs, beef femur (leg) bones and knuckle bones work well.
  • Always supervise your dog to prevent choking. Take the bone away once it becomes small enough to swallow.
  • Only give raw, uncooked bones. Cooked bones can splinter and puncture the digestive tract.
  • For the most nutrition, choose grass-fed, organic bones when possible. Conventional bones may contain added hormones and antibiotics.

Providing your faithful companion with marrow bones has significant benefits for their wellbeing. Between mental stimulation, dental health, and nutritional rewards, marrow bones help keep your dog happy and healthy for life.

How to Choose Safe Marrow Bones for Your Dog

When choosing marrow bones for your dog, you want to select ones that will keep them engaged and happy, but also safe. The last thing you want is for your pup to choke or break a tooth! Here are some tips for selecting dog-friendly marrow bones:

  • Look for bones specifically meant for dogs. Bones for human consumption can contain small pieces that may splinter off, causing damage to their digestive tract or teeth. Bones marketed for dogs have been properly cleaned and sized.
  • Select raw bones over cooked. Raw bones are softer and more pliable, so they’re less likely to splinter. Cooked bones become hard and brittle, and can break into sharp pieces.
  • Choose large bones. Small bones, especially round ones like knuckles, can be choking hazards. Look for large femur (leg) bones or hip bones. They’re big enough for dogs to gnaw on but too big to swallow whole.
  • Consider your dog’s size. Don’t give a small breed dog a bone meant for a giant breed. For safety, choose a bone that is larger than your dog’s muzzle, so they can’t fit the whole end in their mouth.
  • Supervise your dog. No matter what type of bone you choose, always supervise your dog the first few times they have it. Watch for any splintering or small pieces coming off, and take the bone away if it becomes small enough to choke on. It’s also a good idea to limit bone chewing to 30 minutes at a time.
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Marrow bones can be a fun treat and activity for dogs, but you have to be very careful in selecting ones that are safe and appropriate for their size and chewing ability. When in doubt, talk to your vet, and always supervise your pup to make sure the bone isn’t causing them any harm. By following these tips, you can safely give your dog hours of chewing entertainment.


Are marrow bones safe for dogs?

Yes, marrow bones can be safe for dogs if given proper supervision and in moderation. Never give your dog cooked bones, as these can splinter and cause injury. Only give raw marrow bones that are larger than your dog’s mouth so they cannot be swallowed whole. Make sure the bone is fresh and from a trusted source. Always supervise your dog with a bone to prevent choking.

How long do marrow bones last?

This varies depending on the size of your dog and how aggressively they chew. Large raw marrow bones (beef femur bones) can last for weeks. As the bone is chewed down, the marrow inside becomes exposed, providing mental stimulation and a tasty reward for your dog. However, once the bone becomes small enough to be a choking hazard, it should be taken away. It’s best to limit a dog to 1-2 marrow bones per week to avoid weight gain.

Do marrow bones clean teeth?

Chewing on raw marrow bones can help scrape off soft tartar and plaque buildup on your dog’s teeth. The knobby, uneven bone surfaces act as a natural toothbrush. While marrow bones do provide some dental benefits, they should not replace regular teeth brushing and dental checkups for your dog. For the best dental health, provide your dog with raw marrow bones in moderation, along with daily tooth brushing.

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What kind of marrow bones are best?

Beef marrow bones, such as femur bones, provide an ideal size and hardness for most dogs. Femur bones contain lots of marrow and take dogs a long time to chew through. Avoid weight-bearing bones from large animals like cow femurs for small breed dogs, as these could be too hard. For small breeds, consider lamb, pork or deer marrow bones. Bones should be sourced from animals raised for human consumption to avoid bacterial contamination.