Despite popular belief, raw bones are an important component of the raw diet. not only do they contain important trace minerals, they are a valuable source of calcium and help to maintain good oral health. As long as you follow a few simply rules there is little concern in feeding raw bone.


Bones or Raw Meaty Bones (RMB) not only make up the remaining 10% of your companion’s meal or batch, but provides essential calcium that helps to balance out the phosphorus content of meat and organs. It also helps to keep bones and teeth healthy and strong and is nature's tooth brush, helping to keep your companion’s teeth pearly white and mouth smelling clean and fresh.


There are many concerns among non-raw feeders and veterinarians when it comes to including bone in companion pet diets, but that’s where knowledge of appropriate bone use comes in. First and foremost, supervision of your companion while eating bone is important especially when they are first trying it out. The following are general rules all raw feeders need to follow to ensure the safety of their companion.


1. No Cooked Bones

Cooked bones easily splinter no matter how big or small they are. This can easily cause tearing of the esophagus, stomach or intestinal lining often leading to internal bleeding or perforation. Many times this will require an expensive surgery of some sort.

2. No Bones too small

Bones that are too small or that can easily be swallowed whole can pose many of the same threats as splintered bones including blockages. You want to use bones that require chewing.

3. No Bones too large or weight bearing bones

Although there are some large bones you can use for recreation under careful supervision, large bones should not be used as RMBs. If they are you run the risk of broken teeth or fractured jaws.


RMB’s for Cats, Ferrets or Small Dogs: 

  • Rabbit Ribs

  • Chicken Ribs

  • Chicken Wings

  • Chicken Wing tips

  • Duck feet

  • Cornish Game Hen

  • Rabbit

  • Chicken Necks

  • Small Whole Prey (quail, chicks, mice, rats etc.)


RMB’s for Medium Breed Dogs:

  • Chicken Frames

  • Duck Neck

  • Turkey Neck

  • Chicken Feet

  • Lamb Ribs

  • Duck Wings

  • Chicken Leg Quarters

  • Small Whole Prey


RMB’s for Large or Giant Breed Dogs:

  • Duck Necks

  • Turkey Necks

  • Duck Frames

  • Chicken Leg Quarters


This list is only a generalized list. Some companions can handle or at least are willing to try some larger bone. For example, some small dogs could try a turkey neck. These bones also can come from various species and are not limited to those listed above.


Once in a while you may come across a companion who just down right refuses to consume any bone. Luckily there is an alternative! Eggshell powder is a great substitute for raw meaty bones. Powdered eggshell is the most ideal and natural source for calcium outside of raw bone. Bone meal should never be used as the bone is often cooked denaturing essential nutrients from the bone as well as containing contaminates like hard metals.  The general rule is 1/2 teaspoon per pound of meat and organ mix. Egg shell is very inexpensive and can easily be made at home by using a spice grinder to pulverize the shells after the egg is used. 

Keep in mind that each type of raw meaty bone not only within a single animal (chicken neck vs. chicken thigh) or among others (chicken neck vs. turkey neck) contain different ratios of meat and bone. This must be factored into the diet to ensure the properly bone for a balanced diet. The meat on the bone also needs to be factored into the meat portion of the diet. 

In order to determine the amount of bone in a RMB:

1. Find the ratio of meat to bone

2. Multiple the weight of the RMB by the percent of bone. This number determines the amount of bone in this piece, the remaining is meat.

One chicken necks is about 1.45 oz on average. Without skin it is about 31% bone.
1.45 oz * 0.31= 0.45 oz of bone 
1.45 oz of chicken neck - 0.45 oz of bone= 1 oz of the neck is meat.

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