can dogs eat rib bones?

Can Dogs Eat Rib Bones? (Raw or Cooked)

You may have heard the phrase ‘throw a bone’ at least once. It’s a famous idiom that you say in a situation where you want to give a small reward to someone.

For dog owners, this phrase is taken literally rather than figuratively. Throwing your dog a bone means giving or feeding your dog bones as a tasty treat.

The question is, are bones, specifically rib bones, tasty or nasty?

Feeding your pooch a rib bone does more harm than good.

Most veterinarians do not recommend giving your dog anything that can be a choking hazard, including bones.

Why You Shouldn’t Feed Rib Bones to Your Dog

dog chewing a bone
Photo by Karin Hiselius on Unsplash

Many complications can result from your dog chewing, swallowing, or eating rib bones. If you’re thinking of using rib bones as a treat or chew toy for your dog, you might want to think again.

First, let’s talked about cooked bones and raw bones. Which one is safer or is both dangerous for a dog?

Essentially, you’ll want to avoid giving your dog cooked bones, no matter what type of bone (spare rib bones, pork bones, chicken bones, beef bones, etc.).

Cooked rib bones are softened, which dogs can easily break into tiny bone fragments and splinters, increasing the risk of choking and harming your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.

This is the same for other cooked bones, such as cooked pork chop bones, pork rib bones, chicken bones, and turkey bones.

Raw bones, on the other hand, are much harder to break down, still, it’s not better than consuming cooked bones. There are also potential risks that come with eating or chewing raw bones.

Although feeding your dog raw bones is nutritionally beneficial as raw bones contain vitamins and minerals, you’ll increase the risk of your dog getting salmonella and other bacteria.

Here are the other dangers of feeding dogs rib bones or animal bones in general:

  • According to Stephanie Liff, DVM, “Ingesting the fatty tissue on the bone can cause vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration, protein loss, and other severe intestinal upset symptoms.”
  • Pork rib bones may lead to pancreatitis
  • Chewing on chunky bones can cause blockage in the throat
  • Splinters from bones can cause severe internal damage

If your dog accidentally swallowed a bad bone, watch out for these signs and take them to the vet immediately.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody stool
  • Dental issues
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

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Can Small Dogs Eat Rib Bones

small dog with chew bone

No. Not a chance. It’s not recommended for small dogs to eat rib bones. Again, any kind of cooked bone is absolutely off-limits to all dogs, especially smaller dogs.

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What Kind of Bones Are Safe Enough for Dogs

grilled beef with large bones
Photo by pascal claivaz on Pexels

Can dogs eat beef bones? 

Yes, as long as they are raw. Some other raw bones like beef rib bones, lamb rib bones, or lamb bones are safe given that they are large bones.

These bones, while raw, are softer to chew on, eat, or digest. Still, it’s important that you supervise your dog because bones are a health hazard for choking.

However, if your dog doesn’t like raw bone and likes something a little meatier, you can give your dog raw meaty bones instead, like turkey necks, lamb tail bones, steak bones, or chicken wings.

Chewing on meaty bones benefits your dog’s mouth and overall dental hygiene. But, before you do, make sure to consult the vet and see if it’s advisable for your dog to have raw meaty bones.

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If your dog just loves to chew and wants something they can constantly chew or nip on, I highly recommend using chew toys or chew bones to aid your dog’s chewing habit. These are ideal for teething puppies or improving gum and dental health for your pupper.


In summary, dogs are not allowed to eat rib bones, raw or cooked, as these contain risks that can cause serious injuries to your dog.

Chewing on bones may be good practice for your dog’s teeth, but make sure to only give your dog the right bone.

Some exceptions of bones your dog can safely chew or eat are raw dog bones or raw meaty bones like the ones I gave as an example above.

The biggest takeaway from this article is to stay away from all kinds of cooked bones!

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