Until this past weekend, I’d never given Teton raw meat. I think that the image I had in my mind of what it would be like was stopping me from ever even considering it.
It’s nothing like that photo, by the way.
So, what changed my mind? I’m pretty open to trying new things myself, and that translates into the types of food, treats, and toys that I buy for Teton. If I have an actual reason to buy something (rather than just buying a new pet product for fun or to review on the blog), I’m generally even more open to something that I don’t know anything about or that he’s never tried before.
A few months ago we noticed that The Little Blogger’s teeth were starting to look dingy and had more plaque on them than normal. He’s always had shiny, white teeth so it was a bit concerning to us. I haven’t been diligent about brushing his teeth, so I know that may have had something to do with it, but regardless, this concern prompted me to explore some additional oral hygiene options for him.
Any time I start to “explore options” for Teton, I head to Mud Bay. I love their assortment and trust their employees, so I knew they’d be able to provide some insight. While perusing the oral hygiene section, I was approached by an employee who asked me what I was looking for. When I told him about Teton’s teeth and my concerns, he immediately suggested raw bones.
I don’t know if it was what he said or the way he said it, but for the first time the whole idea of feeding raw bones just made sense to me. On top of that, one of the main benefits of feeding raw bones is that it cleans teeth, and that’s the reason I was there to begin with!
So, after learning the basics of feeding raw (and grabbing a few other items, of course), I selected a small bison bone from the freezer and happily paid a whopping $2.50 for it.
That’s right. $2.50. Boom.
I chose bison over beef because Teton has been eating bison meat since he was a puppy and I’ve heard that it’s easier to digest than beef. We’ve had a few instances involving the runny dunnies with beef before, so I like to play it safe with bison if I have the option. :-)
This particular bison bone was packaged by Nature’s Variety, a Nebraska-based company that specializes in raw dog food.
There’s nothing pretty about a raw bone. It’s slimy…
…and, well, raw.
That’s some bone marrow right there, folks.
Before feeding the bison bone to Teton, I read through the instructions that Mud Bay sent home with me.
There are some important basics such as refrigerating/freezing uneaten portions of raw bones and washing all surfaces that have come in contact with them, but all of those aside, one vital instruction stood out.
Observe! This is crucial with raw bones but also also an absolute must with any new treat, toy, or food. With this being Teton’s first raw bone, my plan was to watch him like a hawk while he ate it.
Before the bone – no idea what’s about to hit him. Hence, the tragically bored face.
Raw bones are definitely an outside treat in my book. Because they are often bloody and contain fragments of skin and bone marrow, they can create quite a mess. Teton is used to getting treats on a towel because when we feed him things with peanut butter in the house, I lay one down to protect the carpet.
Please note my disgusted face in the upper right corner of this photo. The things we’ll do for love.
The minute that bone hit the ground, Teton was in the zone. I’m pretty sure it was the best moment of his life.
What amazed me the most when observing Teton as he ate his first raw bone was how primal and “wild” he seemed. Not only was he totally in the zone as I said before, his entire posture reminded me of a wolf. His back was arched, his back legs separated, and his paws holding the bone in order to pull the skin off more efficiently.
I found this photograph of a wolf eating online and I think the comparison is pretty spot on.
Teton chewed on his bison bone for about an hour before I “traded” him the bone for two salmon treats and re-froze it. Not once during the hour that he worked away on the bone was I concerned. He was clearly in his element and it was easy to see that his teeth were being cleaned as he chewed.
He’s had his bone once more since the weekend and I monitored his chewing as I worked outside in the yard and enjoyed the sun. Again, no concerns whatsoever.
If you’ve never given your dog a raw bone, I get it. It’s not the most comfortable purchase and it does take a bit more effort and observation than a typical biscuit or chew. I’d encourage you to give it a try, though. Health benefits aside, I think that inside every domestic dog is a primal creature who, from time to time, needs to get in touch with their wild side, and this is a cheap and easy way to allow them that privilege.