FEEDING RAW bones, MEATY CHEWS and chunks

We get a lot of questions from Natures Menu customers about feeding raw bones.

Here we hope to answer some of those questions, and provide some useful hints and tips. If there is anything we haven’t covered, don’t hesitate to email us, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook.

Raw Bones for Dogs and Cats

Is it safe to feed bones?

Only if they are fed raw and selected appropriately for the age and experience of the animal. Raw bones are moisture rich, softer and more flexible compared to cooked bones. Once a bone is cooked they become very dry and brittle, this is when they can easily splinter and potentially cause problems. Please do not feed cooked bones.

Why should you feed raw bones?

  • Bones are a fantastic source of nutrition. They contain glucosamine, calcium and phosphorus, and many are rich in omega 3 fats, too.
  • Benefits can include improved skin health, improved joint health and firmer stools. In addition to this, chewing can be an immensely satisfying and relaxing experience for raw fed dogs. Raw bones also make a fantastic natural tooth brush!
  • A wide variety of our raw foods contain minced bone, with the exception of beef mince and tripe.
  • We recommend that you can offer a raw meaty bone or chew up to 3 times a week to help keep your dog's teeth clean, as well as providing an enjoyable, relaxing and healthy treat.
  • If you have just switched to raw, please wait 3-4 weeks before introducing raw bones to your dog's diet

 

 

If you would like to give your dog a natural chew but do not want to give bone, we also have a range of meaty chews & chunks available, including Beef Trachea, Paddywacks and Meaty Beef Chews.
Meaty chews and chunks are particularly good for puppies as they are softer than bone but offer all the satisfaction of a good chew session - great for teething gums. For more information on the range of bones, meaty chews and chunks we offer, see table below. This can be downloaded as a PDF file here.

The table below gives a detailed guide to the age and experience level at which to introduce each of the raw bones, meaty chunks and chews that we produce, as recommended by our in-house vets.

Raw BoneDescriptionRecommended AgeExperience Level
Duck Wings Whole bone From 10 weeks + STARTER
Chicken Wings Whole bone From 10 weeks + STARTER
Duck Necks Soft, whole bone From 10 weeks + EXPERIENCED STARTER
Turkey Necks Soft, whole bone From 10 weeks + EXPERIENCED STARTER
Chicken Portions Whole bone From 6 months + INTERMEDIATE/ADVANCED
Lamb Necks Whole bone From 6 months + INTERMEDIATE/ADVANCED
Lamb Ribs Whole, tough bone From 10 months + ADVANCED
Marrowbone Extremely tough, whole bone containing marrow From 10 months + ADVANCED
Beef knuckle bone Extremely tough, whole bone From 10 months + ADVANCED
Beef Ribs Whole, tough bone From 10 months + ADVANCED
ChewDescriptionRecommended AgeExperience Level
Beef Trachea Cartilage chew From 8-10 weeks + BEGINNER
Paddywacks Tendon chew From 10 weeks + STARTER
Meaty Beef Chews Cartilige chew From 10 weeks + STARTER
organ meatDescriptionRecommended AgeExperience Level
Poultry Liver* Bone free From 8-10 weeks +

BEGINNER

Poultry Hearts* Bone free From 8-10 weeks +

BEGINNER

Beef Liver* Bone free From 8-10 weeks +

BEGINNER

Lamb Heart* Tough muscle From 16 weeks +

EXPERIENCED STARTER

Beef Heart* Tough muscle From 16 weeks +

EXPERIENCED STARTER

ChunksDescriptionRecommended AgeExperience Level
Beef Chunks Bone free From 8-10 weeks +

BEGINNER

Tripe Chunks Bone free From 8-10 weeks +

BEGINNER

Breast Meat Bone free From 8-10 weeks +

BEGINNER

Mackerel Small, soft fish bone From 10 weeks +

STARTER

Fish Fillet Small, soft fish bone From 10 weeks +

STARTER

 

What about bacteria?

Natures Menu bones, chews and chunks are safely sourced and stored to ensure they are safe for raw consumption. Our batches are regularly tested for bacteria such as salmonella and enterobacteriaceae. We keep our bones, chews and chunks frozen to ensure safe, fresh products. We recommend defrosting them in a sealed container on the side for 2 hours or overnight in the fridge. We advise using the product within 24 hours of defrosting.

 



A few pointers before you start....



  • Never cut or saw bones
  • For older dogs, stick to the softer bones or the meaty chunks and chews
  • Never feed bones, meaty chunks or chews with small children present
  • Never leave a dog unattended with a bone, chew or chunk
  • Never feed cooked bones
  • If you have more than one dog, separate them before feeding bones, meaty chunks or chews, as they may are a high value item and may cause fights
  • Always feed bones, meaty chunks or chews appropriate to an animal's age, breed, experience and size
  • Do not feed raw bones, meaty chunks or chews from the butcher, as their storage history is unknown and bacteria may be prevalent
  • If storing after a chewing session, rinse the bone, meaty chunk or chew under cold water and store in a plastic bag or container in the fridge
  • Always dispose of any uneaten material after 24 hours post defrost
  • Chews denoted by * are offal meats and should always be fed in moderation. In excess, they can cause diarrhoea and an excess of vitamins, in particular hypervitaminosis A. We recommend offal makes up no more than 5-10% of the total diet and is offered as a treat no more than once or twice a week
  • As an owner, it is your responsibility to ensure safe practice when feeding meaty bones, meaty chunks or chews

  


Alternatively, you can view the whole range of natural snacks, treats, bones and chews here, as well as buy online.