Dogs love a good bone and Akitas are no exception. They would gladly chew and gnaw on a bone for hours if they had their way. Bone chewing keeps dogs occupied, helps them release stress, and is a better alternative for household items they may try to chew up, such as your slippers or the TV remote.
The answer is, yes, it is safe for Akitas to chew on bones, but there are some things to consider before you do. Cooked bones should never be given to dogs. They are too dry and can splinter and harm the inside of their mouths, esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Packaged bone treats, which are highly processed should be avoided as well. The better alternative are natural raw bones, but never unsupervised.
It is important to understand the health risks involved with giving your Akita a bone to chew on. If you educate yourself on those dangers by reading this article, your dog will be happy as a dog with a bone.
Is It Safe for an Akita to Chew on Bones?
The short answer is: it depends. It can be safe, yes, but there are risks involved as well. The American Kennel Club offers some good advice on the do’s and don’ts of giving dogs bones to chew on. Essentially, the rule of thumb is to make sure you give your Akita the right kind of bone. This means a bone that is the right size, is not cooked, isn’t too old or brittle, and does not contain additives.
Akitas are a larger breed of dog, so they should be offered a larger bone than you would give to a chihuahua or a Yorkshire terrier. Never give your Akita a cooked bone to gnaw. Cooked bones are dry bones and dry bones can break and splinter easily. If these small pieces of bone get lodged in the dog’s mouth or throat they can cause cuts and puncture wounds. If swallowed they can cause stomach and intestinal damage. Eventually, cooked bones will get gnawed down into smaller and smaller pieces which poses a choking hazard to your Akita. These small bone pieces should be taken away from your dog before they can be swallowed.
You should avoid giving your dog a bone to chew on if they have stomach issues and when another dog is visiting. This could cause conflict between the two as that bone will be highly prized by both.
If you do give your dog raw bones, they would especially love it if a little raw meat was left on the bone. When keeping raw bones on hand for your Akita, it’s important that you keep them refrigerated between uses to keep them from drying out. Limit your dog’s time with the bone to 10 to 15 minutes and throw away any bone that is more than four days old.
Health Benefits of Bones for Your Akita
There are several health benefits to giving your Akita raw bones to gnaw. Bones are a great source for minerals and nutrients which they may not be getting from their kibble or other food sources.
When dogs chew on bones they produce more saliva and the enzymes in this saliva help destroy the bacteria that cause plaque. A buildup of plaque can eventually lead to gum disease.
Chewing on bones is also mentally stimulating for your dog and it helps them release stress.
Dangers of Giving Your Akita Bones
There are health benefits to giving your Akita bones to chew, but there are risks as well. The risks are the same as for other breeds. Bones can splinter and break and present choking problems and can be harmful internally if swallowed by your Akita.
Processed bone treats contain additives and even chemicals that could be harmful to your dog’s health. Always observe your Akita while they are chewing on a bone and follow best practices for storing and disposing of bones when they are too small, too dry, or more than four days old.
Best Practices for Bones If You Decided on Them
If you do decide to give your Akita bones to chew, there are some do’s and don’ts for doing so safely.
Be Observant — Always supervise your dog whenever they are chewing on bones and limit their time to 10 to 15 minutes. Giving them a bone after they have been fed is a good idea. When they aren’t as hungry they may chew slower and less aggressively.
Throw Out Old Bones — Get rid of bones that have become too small as this is a choking hazard. When bones start to splinter they can also pose risks of internal injury if swallowed. Throw these bones away.
Refrigerate Bones — Bones should be kept refrigerated when not in use. This will keep them from becoming too dry and brittle, which leads to splintering.
Give Bones to Dogs with Dental Issues — Never give bones to a dog that has had restorative dental work as more problems can develop.
Give a Dog Too Big of a Bone — Your dog should be given a bone that is longer than the length of its muzzle. This will prevent your dog from swallowing the entire bone.
Give Your Dog Processed Bone Treats — Natural foods are better for dogs the same as humans. Don’t give your dog rawhides or bone treats that contain chemicals, bleach, or additives and preservatives. Fresh, raw bones are best.
The Different Types of Bones
You want to give your Akita bones that are uncooked, but still soft enough for them to chew without damaging their teeth. Chicken, turkey, lamb, and beef bones are fine for Akitas. Fresh raw bones are better than commercially made bone treats or rawhides.
Bones to Completely Avoid
We mentioned that you should never give your Akita cooked bones, but there are other types that should be avoided as well. Bones that are referred to as bone treats have been highly processed and may contain additives that could be harmful to your dog. They can also pose similar risks of choking and gastrointestinal issues.
Rawhide chews should also be avoided for similar reasons to bone treats. The manufacturing process for rawhide chews can leave traces of chemicals in them which could be harmful to your dog. Some rawhide chews also contain preservatives, additives, sweeteners, and gelatins which pose their own health risks. It’s better to opt for natural raw bones than these processed alternatives.
Watch Over Your Dog While Chewing
Any bone you give your dog will eventually be gnawed down into smaller and smaller sizes. Once they are small enough to fit in the dog’s mouth there is a danger that they may swallow these pieces and choke on them. You should always observe your Akita when you give them a bone. Make sure the bone hasn’t splintered into sharp pieces that could damage their mouths or be dangerous if swallowed. Limit the time your dog spends with the bone to about 10 to 15 minutes.
Don’t Give a Bone to a Dog with Dental Problems
Hard bones can wear down teeth and cause them to fracture. If your Akita has a history of dental problems or has had restorative dental work, do not give them bones. A soft chew toy would be the better alternative.
The Age You Should Wait Until Giving Your Akita Bones
When your Akita puppy has reached the age of four to six months, their full-size adult teeth will begin to appear. Once you see these fast-growing teeth, it is OK to start giving the dog fresh bones to chew on. You may have noticed by this point that your puppy has become an obsessive chewer so giving them raw bones will help channel that behavior in less destructive ways.
Safety Guidelines for Giving Your Dog a Bone
As has been mentioned throughout this article, if you decide to give your Akita bones to chew on there are some safety guidelines you should follow. Never give your dog bones to chew when you can not supervise them directly. Even raw bones can break and splinter and cause choking hazards or can puncture the inside of their mouths. If swallowed, these pieces can also cause internal issues or rectal bleeding. Don’t give your dogs small bones or cooked bones that are dry and can break easily.
Avoid overly-processed bone treats that contain bleaching agents and preservatives. Raw natural bones with fresh meat on them is the best option.
How to Know Which Bones are Safe for My Akita?
Raw natural bones are best. Make sure they are not too old and dried out. Don’t give your Akita a bone that is smaller than the length of their muzzle. Avoid store-bought bone treats. Chicken and turkey bones are fine for growing Akitas, as long as they aren’t too small. Lamb and beef bones are great for bigger dogs. Always supervise your Akita when they are chewing their bone and limit chewing times to between 10 and 15 minutes.