Give a Dog a Bone

I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately about feeding bones to one’s dog. Most people want to know how to introduce raw, as a dental supplement and treat. Others want to transition to purely raw. Alarmingly, I found one of my puppy homes routinely is feeding the dog cooked chicken bones.

So, here’s a break down of feeding bones to dogs.

First of all, cooked bones are a hard line that should not be crossed. They can splinter, cause a blockage, or cause digestive upset due to grease, sauces, and such that may be on the cooked item. Keep cooked bones of any kind far out of reach of any pets, until they can be safely thrown away outside of the home. If your dog does manage to steal some, don’t panic. Keep a close eye on the animal for the next few days.

If you want to give your dog a raw bone as a treat, I highly suggest frozen beef marrow bones. They are sold at many grocery stores. The biggest risk with them is the dog getting his lower jaw stuck in the opening of the bone. This isn’t common, but keep it in mind and consider supervising chew time with these bones. They are otherwise very safe, and can also be stuffed with peanutbutter, like a kong can, once the dog eats all the marrow out of the bone.

If you’d like to introduce the dog to raw bones, like chicken leg quarters, I suggest going slowly.  Dogs that are not used to this diet can get an upset stomach. I usually start with a few spoonfuls of ground turkey in the food. If that goes over well, I might feed a drum stick. If your dog won’t eat it, try running hot water over it for a minute or two.

As a weekly treat, a leg quarter will be loved by your dog, and it does indeed help keep the teeth clean. Raw bones break as the dog eats them, but not in the same brittle, dry, sharp way that cooked ones do. They also aren’t covered in grease and other things we cook with.

Feeding an entirely raw diet is also something that works well for a lot of dogs, but it is an undertaking to feed a truly balanced diet this way. Some companies make pre-prepared, balanced raw diets, which work well if one is able to afford it.

Since I get asked a lot, my own dogs eat a variety of kibbles, from Purina to Taste of the Wild, depending on the day and the dog, and generally get raw meaty bones at least once a week. I also do feed safe table scraps, and I train with treats. If your dog is in fit, lean condition, and digesting his food well, there’s nothing wrong with a treat here and there!

I also wean/raise litters on both kibble and raw, so any dog I bred will be well adjusted to eating either or both when it goes to a new home.

Here is Rigby, pictured at 13 years of age. He remained fit and healthy, with clean teeth that needed no formal care, well into his teens, living to 16.5 with no major issues. I believe raw food given weekly or more is a lot of the reason why.



Goodbye Willow

It’s taken me a long time to post about Willow. Willow is and was and will always be one of the most special dogs I ever had the pleasure to breed, own, or train- never mind all three. I was both shocked and devastated when she came back from OFA as borderline in one hip (other one looks good; elbows rated normal, and she’s Embark clear for everything). After much agonizing, I made the heartbreaking, but responsible, choice to rehome her. Willow went to upstate New York, where she lives with lots of children, a stay at home mom, and a great dad, too. They love her to pieces and take amazing care of her. She didn’t do well without me for a time, but she’s adjusted beautifully.

In the mean time, so much has happened in my personal life. It’s been a lot of change, but all for the better. I’ll make another post or two or three about all the good and amazing things that have been happening, but in the meantime, fair well, sweet Willow.

Preliminaries Not Good Enough?

From the OFA website, for those concerned about OFA good results on a 17 month old 45 pound, fully grown dog:

“For normal hip conformations, the reliability was 89.6% at 3-6 months, 93.8% at 7-12 months, and 95.2% at 13-18 months. These results suggest that preliminary evaluations of hip joint status in dogs are generally reliable.”

In other words, the odds Fontana would suddenly be dysplastic in a few months are basically zero.

Most countries accept results at 12 months, which is five months younger than Fontana.


Willow Got X-Rayed Today

We had a big day. In addition to getting results for Andi and Fontana, who both passed OFA preliminary testing for hips and elbows, I decided to get Willow’s hips and elbows done for her prelims also. We won’t get official results for a week or more, but the vet and I both think they look decent. My tired puppy did amazing, of course! Here are the films, if anyone is curious.


Great News!

We are so happy to say that as expected, Fontana’s 17 month OFA pre-lim X-rays were scored as passing. I phoned OFA today. She is OFA GOOD hips and OFA NORMAL elbows. This is great news. Andi also passed with FAIR hips and NORMAL elbows. She is still being placed as a pet, as all in all, she is not what we want to produce. Fontana will carry on our breeding program. We look forward to her Embark results, and her eye and heart testing at OSU in a week or so!


Honesty is Bad! UPDATE

***EDIT to say we are thrilled that our phone call to OFA today revealed that Andi indeed was graded “fair” hips and normal elbows, which are both passing scores! She is still going to her pet home and will be spayed after her first heat cycle, but naturally we are pleased she passed her OFA prelims!****

I was amused today to find out that I’m being discussed in one of the many ignorant groups of self-proclaimed “dog snobs” online. They are young, silly, petty, and inexperienced in both life and dogs, but cause a lot of pain to many people. That said, I can mostly laugh it off any more. My reputation and my dogs speak for themselves, and my life is largely unaffected by the attempts they make at internet abuse.

When I first saw the latest screen-shots (that well-meaning friends send me when they see I am being trashed in one of those groups), I admit I laughed. However, the current thing I am being shit-talked for is health testing my dogs, and admitting one of them has hip X-rays that, while not awful, are not as good as I’d like to see. She has no issues whatsoever, and will lead a normal life. Any day now, I may find out she even actually passed her OFA hip pre-lim evaluation. Her hips are very close to being passing grade, if they are not actually good enough to pass. But, regardless, even if she had horrific hip dysplasia, I wouldn’t lie about it.

So, wait a minute. Let us review what is happening.

I’m being roasted because I health test my dogs, and I’m honest about the results. 

I’m being roasted for having such high standards for health and temperament that I placed a dog I had high hopes for in a pet home, as she’s just not quite what I think is ideal in a couple of areas.

And we wonder why breeders lie about and hide health and temperament issues?

Let that sink in. We want to hold each other accountable, sure. Does this mean when someone does the right thing that we should shame them and make them regret that noble act?

Do any of these Mean Girl bitches actually think the breeders of the show style animals they prefer have never once produced a dog with fair or borderline hips? Is there a point to their bullshit?

The advertisement I posted to find a home for Andi mentioned that she is only 35 pounds (a fact) and, I said, in quotes, that she was a “mini-golden” of sorts. This was merely light hearted honesty about the dog’s actual size. She was not bred with any intent of producing miniature goldens, so posting such in dog groups online is libel. It was stated that I breed dysplastic miniature Goldens. This is patently untrue.

That being said, I have no issue with purposely breeding small, beautiful, healthy, awesome companion or sport golden retrievers, and I may even attempt to do so in the future. It’s just that taking an honest, caring breeder’s post about making a mature and difficult and ethical choice for a loved animal, and shaming that person with misleading lies, is disgusting.

It’s fucking disgusting, and it’s why breeders hide health test results, justify awful temperaments, and generally feel like they have to lie.

The cycle of back stabbing and nothing actually changing just continues, while the breeders who simply brush things under the rug or lie remain exalted heroes. In the mean time, Andi is headed to a repeat client in California, where her name “I’ll Show You The Stars” couldn’t be more fitting for a former NASA employee.

I have integrity, and I’m never going to be sorry about that, however hard anyone may try to make me wish I didn’t.