Opinions vary on the safety of feeding bones to dogs and which type of bones to feed, but putting the debate aside, giving your dog marrow bones is generally not a good idea. Your dog surely loves them, but marrow bones and their fragments are a potential choking hazard, and they can cause intestinal ailments. At best, limit your dog to one marrow bone weekly, with veterinary approval.
Marrow bones contain the fatty substance that produce blood cells. Most marrow bone for dogs come from femurs, usually those of cattle. These round-cut bones typically range in breadth from 2 to 5 inches. Consuming or gnawing on marrow bones helps your dog clean his teeth naturally. Feed your dog raw, not cooked, marrow bones. He has to stick his teeth into the middle of the bone to get to the marrow, but most dogs only gnaw at the actual bone rather than eating it. Such bones can get hooked on a tooth, so don't leave your dog alone with them.
Because marrow bones contain a lot of fat, they can cause pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, in susceptible dogs. For such dogs, any high fat meal can trigger an attack. Symptoms include intense abdominal pain and vomiting. In a worst-case scenario, pancreatitis proves fatal. Even mildly affected dogs might require hospitalization. In general, eating bones will firm up a dog's feces. Marrow bones are an exception. The high fat content loosens stools, often resulting in diarrhea.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.