Can Dogs Eat Steak Bones?

Ensuring a dog’s joy and well-being is a top concern for every pet owner, and treating them to a delectable bone occasionally is a widely embraced practice. Dogs and bones share a timeless bond, with steak bones, including the question “can dogs have steak bones?,” often taking the spotlight as canine favorites. Their allure lies in their robust thickness, ideal for standing up to the mightiest of jaws, not to mention the enticing meat and marrow they provide. However, a common inquiry surfaces among new puppy parents: is it safe for dogs to indulge in leftover steak bones? The expert discourse on this matter adds a layer of intricacy to the question. Some contend that, given dogs’ historical consumption of bones in the wild, allowing them to relish raw ones poses no harm. Conversely, an opposing perspective maintains that all bones, whether cooked, raw, or otherwise, should be forbidden for dogs due to potential risks. Let’s dive into this intriguing debate, including the consideration of whether dogs can eat steak bones, to gain a nuanced understanding of the factors at play.

Can Dogs Eat Raw, Meaty Bones?

Many proponents of the raw diet, also known as BARF (Bones and Raw Food), assert that bones with meat and some fat left on them are safe for dogs. The rationale behind this claim is that such bones are easily digestible and less likely to splinter compared to cooked bones. Popular choices for raw feeding include beef tails or necks from poultry, typically sourced from local butchers. However, it’s important to note that raw bones have their drawbacks, as they may harbor bacteria such as salmonella or E. coli and can spoil within a few days if not consumed promptly.

Caution is advised when considering smaller pre-cut bones, as they pose a more immediate choking hazard. Additionally, it’s crucial to be mindful that any bone has the potential to cause digestive upset in a dog.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Bones?

Cooked, brittle bones are more prone to splintering, posing risks such as fractured teeth and potential perforation of the intestine or throat—whether on the way down or during regurgitation if the dog vomits.

Veterinarians highlight that dogs consuming bones run the risk of developing obstructions in the intestines, potentially necessitating surgery. It is crucial to offer any bone under supervision, allowing you to closely monitor if the bone is breaking into dangerously small pieces.

In the event of such a situation, employing commands like “give,” which you’ve hopefully taught your dog, can be useful. Prioritizing your pet’s safety by finding an alternative to a potentially hazardous scenario is always advisable. If your dog encounters difficulties while eating, prompt veterinary attention is recommended for their well-being.

Safety Tips: How to Safely Let Your Dog Enjoy Bones

If your vet has greenlit the idea of feeding your dog steak bones, it’s essential to prioritize their safety during the bone-chewing escapade. Here are some guidelines to enhance the safety of your dog’s bone-chewing experience.

Prioritize Supervision

The golden rule for dog owners offering steak bones to their furry companions is unwavering supervision. Only provide a bone when you or someone trustworthy can be in close proximity to monitor your dog’s chewing. This ensures that the bone isn’t gnawed to the point of splintering, allowing you to intervene promptly in case of aggressive chewing or a potential choking hazard. This hands-on approach adds an extra layer of security to your dog’s bone-chewing enjoyment.

Consider Your Dog’s Dental Health

Before treating your dog to a steak bone, consult with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog’s teeth and gums are in optimal health. Steak bones, being sturdy, can exert significant wear and tear on a dog’s dental structure. If there are indications of gum disease or brittle teeth, it might be wise to refrain from offering steak bones.

Timing Matters: Give Bones After Meals

Does your dog attack a bone as if they’ve been fasting for days? Many dogs exhibit this behavior, especially if they haven’t had a recent meal. To curb aggressive bone-chewing tendencies, it’s advisable to provide a full meal to your dog before introducing a steak bone. A satisfied stomach reduces the likelihood of attempting to devour the bone whole.

Mind the Size: Avoid Small Bones

When offering a steak bone, it’s crucial to ensure it is larger than the dog’s mouth. Dogs with too-small bones face the risk of accidental swallowing, leading to potential choking or digestive obstructions. A good guideline is to select a bone longer than the dog’s muzzle for a safer chewing experience.

Dispose of Bones Thoughtfully

Steak bones can accumulate bacteria from the raw meat they once held. Store them in the refrigerator when not in use to prevent bacterial growth at room temperature. Limit your dog’s chewing time to a maximum of 15 minutes and discard the bone after three or four days to mitigate the risk of bacterial contamination.


Can dogs eat steak bones cooked?

It’s generally not recommended to give dogs cooked steak bones. Cooked bones can splinter, posing a risk of injury to your dog’s digestive tract. Opt for raw bones instead, as they are less likely to splinter and provide a safer chewing experience.

What meat bones are safe for dogs?

Safe meat bones for dogs include raw, uncooked bones from beef, lamb, and poultry. Avoid small bones and those that are prone to splintering, like cooked bones. Always supervise your dog while they’re chewing on bones to ensure their safety.

Is it OK for dogs to eat steak?

Yes, dogs can enjoy steak in moderation. Ensure it’s plain, cooked (without seasoning), and free from any bones. Remove excess fat, and cut the steak into bite-sized pieces to prevent choking. However, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian before introducing new foods to your dog’s diet.

Is it OK for dogs to swallow bones?

Swallowing small, soft bones, like those found in some raw diets, is generally considered safe. However, larger or cooked bones can pose a choking or digestive hazard. It’s essential to choose appropriate-sized bones and monitor your dog while they chew.

What is the best bone for a dog?

The best bones for dogs are raw, meaty bones that are appropriately sized for your dog’s breed and chewing habits. Bones like beef ribs, knucklebones, or raw chicken wings can provide dental benefits and a satisfying chewing experience. Always tailor the size to your dog’s safety.

How do I give my dog raw bones?

When giving your dog raw bones, choose options like beef or lamb bones from a reputable source. Supervise the chewing session to prevent choking or other mishaps. Introduce the bone gradually, and monitor your dog’s reaction. Avoid small bones that can be swallowed whole and discard bones that become small or brittle to ensure your dog’s safety.

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Brenda Thompson

Brenda Thompson is an expert in dog behavior with over a decade of experience, and she is also passionate about working with cats and birds. In addition to contributing pet content to, she is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. Brenda received her Bachelor of Science in Biological and Biomedical Sciences & Philosophy from Colorado College in 2014. She has taken classes in writing and remote animal behavior consulting, as well as courses on how to manage aggressive dogs and litter box issues. In 2016, she obtained her dog behavior consulting certification and joined the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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