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Recommended Raw Meaty Bones for Puppies

Estimated reading time: 6 min

Raw meaty bones are an essential ingredient in raw diets to provide calcium, phosphorous, and other minerals important to healthy development. Puppies should receive their requirements for calcium and phosphorous daily. This can be achieved by feeding appropriate raw meaty bones in the diet.

Puppies have a higher edible bone recommendation in raw diets to ensure the diet provides recommended allowances for essential calcium and phosphorous. There are a few variables to consider when feeding a puppy a raw diet and ensuring there is adequate amounts of nutrients to support optimal growth.

17% Edible Bone Average

It is recommended to include 17% edible bone in raw diets for puppies.

Provide Soft Bones to Young Puppies

Very young puppies may struggle to crush and consume raw meaty bones while jaw strength develops.

Feed Larger Bones After Teething

Feed larger bones suitable for adult dogs once all puppy teeth have been replaced with adult teeth.

Ground Raw Meaty Bones Are Acceptable

Ground bones are a suitable replacement for feeding whole bones.

Bone Meal Supplementation

Bone meal is a suitable calcium and phosphorous supplement if bones are not fed.

These variables are important to consider when formulating a balanced raw diet for puppies. As the puppy grows and matures into an adult, the amount of edible bone decreases and calcium supplements can be used over bone meal because physical development is completed.

Dressed Quail

Quail is in the pheasant family and is a small bird that provides very small bones suitable for young and small breed puppies. Quail helps develop jaw strength in very young puppies because of the low bone content and because the bones are soft. All bones from quail can be fed to puppies in portion size pieces.

rawquail

USDA Food Database provides nutritional data on quail muscle meat and skin; but does not provide the nutritional data on the vitamin and mineral content found within quail bones. However, according to USDA, quail are 10% bone which can be used as a guide when formulating a diet for puppies.

Nutritional Breakdown

The nutritional information available on quail reflects the entire bird without feathers, internal organs, head, feet, or bones. Individual parts from quail will have varying nutrients.

Ingredient Ratios
The ratios of meat, bone, skin, and fat are based on 3.5oz (100g).

Meat 76%
Bone 10%
Skin 14%
Fat 0%

Data Source

Macro Nutrients
The amount of calories, protein, fat, and carbs are based on 1oz (28g).

Calories 54kcal
Protein 19.6%
Fat 12%
Carbs 0%

Data Source

Top Nutrients
The top nutrients are based on 3.5oz (100g) and NRC recommended allowances for a 1000kcal diet for puppies 14 weeks to 12 months old.

Niacin (B3) 7.5 mg = 175% RA
Pyridoxine (B6) 0.6 mg = 158% RA
Thiamin (B1) 0.24 mg = 70% RA
Magnesium 23 mg = 22% RA

Data Source

Nutritional Data

The nutritional data on the amount of minerals found within quail bones is unavailable. However, quail are very low in bone content and should be used with alternative calcium sources to complete calcium requirements.

Cornish Hen

Raw cornish game hens are a smaller species of chicken and provides smaller bones suitable for young puppies. All bones from cornish hen can be fed to puppies in portion size pieces.

cornishhen

USDA Food Database provides nutritional data on cornish hen muscle meat, skin, and fat; but does not provide the nutritional data on the vitamin and mineral content found within cornish hen bones. However, according to USDA, cornish game hens are 39% bone which can be used as a guide when formulating a diet for puppies.

Nutritional Breakdown

The nutritional information available on cornish hen reflects the entire bird without feathers, internal organs, head, feet, or bones. Individual parts from cornish hen will have varying nutrients.

Ingredient Ratios
The ratios of meat, bone, skin, and fat are based on 3.5oz (100g).

Meat 43%
Bone 39%
Skin 13%
Fat 5%

Data Source

Macro Nutrients
The amount of calories, protein, fat, and carbs are based on 1oz (28g).

Calories 57kcal
Protein 17%
Fat 14%
Carbs 0%

Data Source

Top Nutrients
The top nutrients are based on 3.5oz (100g) and NRC recommended allowances for a 1000kcal diet for puppies 14 weeks to 12 months old.

Niacin (B3) 5.7 mg = 132% RA
Pyridoxine (B6) 0.29 mg = 77% RA
Potassium 236 mg = 21% RA
Magnesium 18 mg = 17% RA

Data Source

Nutritional Data

The primary reason for feeding cornish hen is for the mineral content in the bone. Although the nutritional data on the amount of calcium and phosphorous within cornish hen bones is unavailable, the data on chicken bones can be uses as a guide to calculating an estimate on the mineral content within cornish hen bones.

Raw Chicken Necks

Once jaw strength has developed, raw chicken necks are a great raw meaty bone option to use in raw diets for growing puppies. Skinless chicken necks provide the soft edible bone gentle enough for young puppies to crush and consume.

rawchickennecks

USDA Food Database provides nutritional data on chicken neck muscle meat and fat; but does not provide the nutritional data on the vitamin and mineral content found within chicken neck bones. However, according to USDA, chicken necks are 36% bone which can be used as a guide when formulating a diet for puppies.

Nutritional Breakdown

The USDA provides nutritional information on chicken necks with and without the skin; but the data does no include the nutrient content found in chicken neck bones. However, nutritional data on the bone’s mineral content can be found in Monica Segal’s K9 Kitchen book.

Ingredient Ratios
The ratios of meat, bone, skin, and fat are based on 3.5oz (100g).

Meat 25%
Bone 39%
Skin 36%
Fat 0%

Data Source

Macro Nutrients
The amount of calories, protein, fat, and carbs are based on 1oz (28g).

Calories 43kcal
Protein 17.5%
Fat 8.8%
Carbs 0%

Data Source

Top Nutrients
The top nutrients are based on 3.5oz (100g) and NRC recommended allowances for a 1000kcal diet for puppies 14 weeks to 12 months old.

Niacin (B3) 4.1 mg = 95% RA
Pyridoxine (B6) 0.3 mg = 76% RA
Magnesium 17 mg = 39% RA
Calcium 1.2 g = 37% RA

Data Source 1, Data Source 2

Other raw meaty bones comparable to raw chicken necks include duck necks. Duck necks are also appropriate for young large breed puppies. The nutritional content will vary between different these raw meaty bones.

Bone Variety

It is important not to rely solely on raw necks as the raw meaty bone source in a raw diet. Residual thyroid hormones may still be present in the neck muscle tissue, gullet, or trachea. Over feeding thyroid hormones can result in dietary hypothyroidism. Therefore rotating different raw meaty bones is ideal.

Raw Chicken Backs

Chicken backs provide soft bone that is suitable for grinding or being fed whole to dogs of all ages. Ground raw meaty bones provides essential calcium and phosphorus to developing puppies when whole bones are not fed.

rawgroundchickenbones

USDA Food Database provides nutritional data on chicken back muscle meat, skin, and fat; but does not provide the nutritional data on the vitamin and mineral content found within chicken back bones. However, according to USDA, chicken backs are 44% bone which can be used as a guide when formulating a diet for puppies.

Nutritional Breakdown

The USDA provides nutritional information on whole chicken backs with and without the skin; but the data does no include the nutrient content found in chicken back bones. However, nutritional data on the bone’s mineral content can be found in Monica Segal’s K9 Kitchen book.

Ingredient Ratios
The ratios of meat, bone, skin, and fat are based on 3.5oz (100g).

Meat 29%
Bone 44%
Skin 10%
Fat 17%

Data Source

Macro Nutrients
The amount of calories, protein, fat, and carbs are based on 1oz (28g).

Calories 90kcal
Protein 14%
Fat 28.7%
Carbs 0%

Data Source

Top Nutrients
The top nutrients are based on 3.5oz (100g) and NRC recommended allowances for a 1000kcal diet for puppies 14 weeks to 12 months old.

Niacin (B3) 4.8 mg = 112% RA
Pyridoxine (B6) 0.2 mg = 50% RA
Calcium 1.3 g = 44% RA
Phosphorus 0.8 g = 33% RA

Data Source 1, Data Source 2

Chicken backs are a great raw meaty bone to use as a staple in raw diets. Raw chicken backs can be fed daily and are a suitable option for grinding. Other raw meaty bones comparable to raw chicken backs include duck and turkey backs. However their nutritional and bone content will vary between these raw meaty bones.

Bone Meal Supplement

If whole or ground raw meaty bones are not fed to a puppy in a raw diet, a calcium and phosphorous supplement is needed. Bone meal powder provides essential calcium and phosphorus puppies need for optimal growth. The amount of calcium and phosphorous available in the bone meal will depend on the individual brand – always review the label for nutritional analysis.

It is important to select a bone meal supplement over a calcium supplement for puppies because of their higher need for phosphorus in addition to their higher need for calcium. Calcium carbonate supplements and egg shell powder only provides concentrated levels of calcium and nothing more. Whereas a bone meal supplement provides calcium and phosphorous, and proves to be beneficial to include in raw diets for puppies.

CLOSING COMMENTS

It is recommended to feed 17% of edible bone found within raw meaty bones to growing puppies. Overall, young puppies around the age of 8 to 12 weeks should have soft bones, ground bones, or bone meal powder while jaw strength develops. Raw meaty bones to consider are quail, cornish hen, rabbit, or smaller bones from chicken such as necks.

Once jaw strength is developed, bones from chicken or duck are recommended options until all puppy teeth are replaced by adult teeth. At six months old, a puppy should have nearly all of its adult teeth and larger bones suitable for adult dogs can be fed.

Ground raw meaty bones or bone meal powder can be used if whole or ground raw meaty bones are not fed. It is important to use bone meal for growing puppies as a calcium supplement does not provide enough phosphorus for a puppy’s nutritional requirements.