Dog bones on a pink background

Can My Labrador Eat Bones? Exploring the pros and Cons

Bones have been a part of dogs’ natural diet for thousands of years, but are they safe and beneficial for your Labrador? 

The answer is not so simple, as there are different types of bones and different risks and benefits associated with them. 

I’d like to preface this post by outlining that I am a dog owner and not a vet, so if you are unsure it could be helpful to visit your local vet or pet nutritionist.  In the meantime, I’ll provide some tips on how to choose and prepare bones for your dog.

The Benefits of Bones for Labradors

Bones can provide some health benefits for your Labrador, such as:

– Providing calcium and phosphorus, which are essential minerals for strong bones and teeth.

– Cleaning their teeth and gums by scraping off plaque and tartar.

– Satisfying their natural chewing instinct and reducing boredom and anxiety.

However, these benefits depend on the type, size, and preparation of the bones you give your dog. Not all bones are created equal, and some can be more harmful than helpful.

The Risks of Bones for Labradors

Bones can also pose some serious risks for your Labrador, such as:

– Choking or obstructing their airway or digestive tract if they swallow large pieces or splinters of bone.

– Damaging their teeth or gums if they chew on hard or sharp bones.

– Causing infections or diseases if they ingest bacteria or parasites from contaminated bones.

– Causing nutritional imbalances if they consume too much bone and not enough other nutrients. 

Therefore, it is important to be careful and cautious when giving your Labrador bones. You should always supervise your dog when they are chewing on bones and remove any pieces that are too small or too sharp. You should also avoid giving them bones that are cooked or smoked, as they are more likely to splinter and break.

Which Bones Can My Labrador Eat?

The best bones for your Labrador are raw bones that are large enough for them to chew on without swallowing whole. These include:

– Lamb neck bones, which are meaty and easy to digest.

– Turkey neck bones, which are similar to lamb neck bones but larger.

You should avoid giving your Labrador bones that are small, hard, or brittle. These include:

– Pork bones, which can also splinter and contain parasites.

– Weight-bearing bones, such as leg bones, which are too hard and can damage teeth.

How to Prepare Bones for My Labrador?

Before giving your Labrador a bone, you should follow these steps:

– Choose a raw bone that is appropriate for your dog’s size and chewing style.

– Thaw the bone in the refrigerator before giving it to your dog.

– Give the bone to your dog in a designated area that is easy to clean.

– Monitor your dog closely while they are chewing on the bone and remove any pieces that are too small or too sharp.

– Discard the bone after one or two days or if it starts to smell bad.


Bones can be a healthy and enjoyable treat for your Labrador if you choose them wisely and prepare them properly.

However, they can also be dangerous if you give them the wrong type of bone or if you don’t supervise your dog while they are chewing on it.

Therefore, you should always consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any bones and follow their advice on how to do it safely. Do you give your lab bones? Let us know in the comments below!

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. These are super helpful tips as I know our dog still loves to chew on old bones but worry that they can split off easily as they become brittle. Do you have a type of bone you recommend for your labs that are safer alternatives to butcher shop bones?

    1. I felt exactly the same when we started offering our lab fresh bones. We generally wouldn’t let her have bones after a couple of days and we stick to non-weight-bearing bones like turkey & chicken necks, lamb necks and kangaroo tails.

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