Can You Give Your Dog Cow Rib Bones to Clean Their Teeth?

by Betty Lewis
    Dental chews are good options for Duke's good dental hygiene.

    Dental chews are good options for Duke's good dental hygiene.

    Kane Skennar/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Plaque buildup, tartar, gingivitis, cavities -- if this sounds like a nasty visit to the dentist, it could be your vet's assessment of Duke's teeth. Dogs are vulnerable to dental disease, though not as much as you. Proactive steps will put him on the road to good dental health.

    Strong Teeth and Bones

    Bones can help Duke channel his natural chewing behavior and help remove dental plaque. According to, beef or bison bones are great choices for providing Duke mental stimulation as well as keeping his teeth and gums healthy. The website notes a large, meaty femur bone with tissue and cartilage still attached is similar to a good brushing, breaking down tartar and helping fight off gum disease. Don't give him rib bones, which can splinter and present a choking or digestive hazard.


    Using raw beef bones comes with a caveat: uncooked meat can contain harmful bacteria, a small, but potential risk. Though cooking bones kills bacteria, cooked bones can splinter and harm Duke's teeth. If you're concerned about his dental health, yet wary of the hazards of uncooked bones, you can learn to brush his teeth for him or use one of the variety of commercially available dental chews.

    Photo Credits

    • Kane Skennar/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Betty Lewis has been writing professionally since 2000, specializing in animal care and issues, business analysis and homeland security. Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from West Virginia University as well as master’s degrees from Old Dominion University and Tulane University.