Dogs devour cartilage, but is it safe for them? Dogs certainly can eat cartilage and anything else for that matter. But should they eat this juicy bone substance called cartilage?
You might have often fed cartilage along with meat to your furry friend. However, do you wonder whether or not dogs should consume cartilage? Have you assessed the risks and benefits of serving cartilage to your fido?
Do not worry if you are unclear about the relationship between cartilage and your dog’s diet. This article comes to your rescue for resolving all your queries.
What Are The Components Of Cartilage?
In simple terms, cartilage is the chewy substance found at the endpoints of bone pieces. It is composed of:
- 80% of collagen (a kind of protein that yields gelatin after boiling)
- Chondrocytes (helps in the maintenance and sustenance of cartilage)
- Proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans (keep the cartilage hydrated)
- Elastin (that gives cartilage its stretchy texture)
Is Cartilage Safe For Your Dog?
Yes. As long as you know the canine-friendly kinds of meat, cartilage is a safe treat for your four-legged furry friend. A powerhouse of several nutrients, cartilage is not only safe but also very healthy for your pooch.
However, you must serve bones to your furry pal with utmost caution and care. Bones could be too brittle for dogs and, thus, may be risky for them if not served properly.
TIP: As a precautionary measure, you should always consult your vet before adding cartilage into your dog’s daily diet.
What Are The Benefits Of Cartilage For Dogs?
You would observe the following benefits in your dog if he consumes a cartilage-rich diet:
- Cartilage is filled with large amounts of glucosamine, a very healthy supplement for dogs. Even medical research has proven that glucosamine is a wonder nutrient for dogs suffering from osteoarthritis.
- Moreover, being an abundant source of calcium and protein, cartilage is very beneficial for your dog’s bones and joints.
- When your dog chews the elastic cartilage, it naturally cleans his teeth, prevents gum-related diseases, and removes bacteria. Therefore, cartilage is very good for your pet doggo’s dental hygiene.
NOTE: As a sensible pet owner, you must buy fresh cartilage-rich products from your local butcher. Just stay cautious with the bones; feed them raw to prevent choking hazards.
What Are The Risks Of Feeding Cartilage To Dogs?
However, it would be best if you did not get carried away with the above-mentioned benefits of cartilage for dogs. There are certain risks attached to feeding cartilage to dogs:
- While serving cartilage, pieces of bone might scratch the inside of your dog’s mouth or break his tooth. The bone piece might also get stuck in your furry friend’s lower jaw, causing a hell lot of pain. And unfortunately, your dog would require oral surgery.
- Moreover, the bone fragments could also get deposited in your dog’s food pipe or windpipe. Do you know cooked bones are one of the most common culprits of choking in dogs?
- Apart from this, the sharp bone splinters can pierce your dog’s lower intestine or stomach, causing peritonitis. In this inflammatory condition, your dog’s stomach contents get spilled into his abdomen.
WARNING: In all of the above-mentioned problems, your dog might suffer from rectal bleeding. Therefore, you must rush to the vet if your furry friend shows symptoms of choking after eating cartilage.
Can You Feed Chicken Cartilage To Your Dog?
Yes. Chicken cartilage is a very rich source of protein for your four-legged canine companion. Cartilage primarily consists of soft and flexible tissues, making it easily digestible for your four-legged friend.
However, if meat is your dog’s main source of protein, you should not serve him excessive amounts of cartilage. Overindulgence in chicken cartilage by dogs is never a good idea.
Can You Feed Pork Cartilage To Your Dog?
Yes, you can. However, you must know that pork cartilage does not contain many nutrients like its meaty counterpart.
Just like the case with chicken cartilage, you should not overfeed your dog with pork cartilage if he already has a balanced diet.
Can You Feed Shark Cartilage To Your Dog?
Yes, dogs can absolutely consume shark cartilage. Do you know shark cartilage is considered one of the healthiest treats for dogs?
Shark cartilage contains chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, the very foundations of cartilage present in healthy joints. Thus, shark meat is particularly beneficial for treating arthritis in canines.
Moreover, shark cartilage has a very low-density level, making it safe for your dog’s teeth. Also, it does wonders for a canine’s dental health.
- How often should you feed cartilage to your dog?
You can feel free to give cartilage to your furry friend twice or thrice a week. Moreover, it would help if you didn’t let your dog enjoy his cartilage treat for above 20 minutes. Otherwise, he might start eating the bone.
- Can you give cartilage to your little puppy?
Yes. The moment your little puppy reaches 12 weeks of age, you can gradually incorporate a cartilage-based meal into his regular diet. However, it would be best to only serve raw bones to him as cooked ones are brittle and, thus, risky for puppies. Also, you must only give large pieces of bones to your puppy because he might swallow the smaller ones.
It is better if your dog chews on healthy cartilage instead of the bacteria-laden slippers, right?
We can easily come down to the conclusion: dogs can safely eat cartilage as long as it is served carefully. You must refrain from giving your furry friend commercially sold cartilage-based treats.
Dogs are funny creatures that have an uncommon chewing instinct. And cartilage served this purpose well. Chewing on cartilage is thus good for your dog’s dental, physical and mental health.
In this article, we have exhaustively gone through the risks and benefits of feeding cartilage to dogs. Do you wish to share your dog’s unusual eating experience? Do you wish to give any opinions or suggestions? Please feel free to interact with us in the comments!
Dr. Aram Baker has been with Santa Clarita Animal Hospital since 1995 and his special interests include behaviour medicine and dermatology. He graduated from the Cleveland Humanities Magnet Program in Reseda, CA and attended California State University at Northridge where he received a Bachelor’s degree in biology. He went on to pursue his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis. He also spent time in the zoological medicine department at U.C. Davis during his Junior and Senior years. He is dedicated to caring for all pets big or small, young or old with compassion, patience, kindness, and love.