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Recommended Raw Meaty Bones for Puppies

Estimated reading time: 9 min

Raw meaty bones are a key ingredient in raw diets for puppies. Edible raw meaty bones will provide calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals that are essential for healthy development. Puppies should receive their requirements for all essential nutrients daily including calcium and phosphorus. This can be achieved by feeding appropriate raw meaty bones in the diet.

Puppies have a higher edible bone recommendation than adult dogs to ensure that the diet provides sufficient calcium and phosphorus for growth and development. There are several variables to consider when feeding a puppy a homemade diet. It is important to ensure that there is adequate amounts of essential nutrients to support optimal growth.

Edible Bone Ration Guideline

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

Size & Age Considerations

Very young or small puppies may struggle to crush and consume certain raw meaty bones while jaw strength develops. Larger meaty bones can be fed once all puppy teeth have been replaced with adult teeth.

Calcium Content of Meaty Bones

The calcium content of different raw meaty bones will vary. Not all raw meaty bones will provide the necessary calcium without overdoing calories.

Bone Meal Supplement Alternatives

Bone meal powder and calcium-phosphorous supplements are suitable alternatives if meaty bones are not fed.

These variables are important to consider when formulating a balanced homemade diet for puppies. The amount of edible bone decreases once a puppy reaches adulthood. Supplements that provide only calcium can be used instead of bone meal for adult dogs because physical development is complete.

Edible Bone Ratio Guideline

Puppies have a higher calcium and phosphorus requirement than adult dogs. Therefore, the puppy PMR or BARF ratios have a higher edible bone percentage. The raw edible bone ratio guideline starts at 17% of the overall daily intake.

It is important to note that this ratio refers to the amount of bone alone, and does not include the meat on the bone. Since various raw meaty bones will differ in their bone content, some calculations will be required to know how much of each raw meaty bone to feed.

The amount of raw meaty bones a puppy may need to maintain firm and consistent stool will vary. The 17% edible bone ratio is a starting guideline. Many puppies do well on 15% to 20% raw edible bone content. Always adjust according to the puppy’s individual needs.

Size and Age Considerations

In order to gain essential calcium and phosphorus from raw meaty bones a puppy must be able to fully and safely consume the item. Edible raw meaty bones for puppies should be chosen based on the size and age of the puppy. Very young or small puppies may struggle to crush and consume certain raw meaty bones while jaw strength develops. Meaty bones that are larger and more dense can be fed once all puppy teeth have been replaced with adult teeth.

Small Breed Puppies; Puppies 8 weeks – 6 Months

Chicken Feet, Necks, Heads
Duck Feet
Ground Bones
Rabbit Ribs
Cornish Hen*
Quail*

Medium Breed Puppies

Chicken Feet, Necks, Heads
Chicken Backs or Frames
Chicken or Duck Wings*
Duck Feet, Necks
Rabbit*
Cornish Hen*

Large & Giant Breed Puppies

Chicken Feet, Ribcages (Frames), Backs
Chicken Wings, Thighs or Leg Quarters*
Duck Feet, Necks, Frames, Heads, Wings*
Turkey Necks
Pork Ribs*
Rabbit*

Calcium & Calorie Considerations

Not all raw meaty bones will provide the necessary calcium without overdoing calories. It is important to consider the calcium content of raw meaty bones. This is due to the amount of meat and fat on the bone. These raw meaty bones will often need to be paired with “bonier” options or bone meal powder.

Calcium Content of Meaty Bones

The USDA Food Database provides nutritional data on the muscle meat, skin, and fat of raw meaty bones. It does not provide the nutritional data on the vitamin and mineral content found within the actual bones. The nutritional data on the mineral content of some raw meaty bones can be found in Monica Segal’s K9 Kitchen.

Dressed Quail

Quail is a small bird in the pheasant family 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. However, it does not provide the nutritional data on the vitamin and mineral content found within quail bones. According to the USDA quail are 10% bone. This 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. Therefore, they should be used in conjunction with an alternative calcium source to complete calcium requirements.

Cornish Hen

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

cornishhen

The USDA Food Database provides nutritional data on cornish hen muscle meat, skin, and fat. It does not provide the nutritional data on the vitamin and mineral content found within cornish hen bones. However, according to the USDA cornish game hens are 39% bone. This 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 used as a guide to calculating an estimate on the mineral content within cornish hen bones.

Raw Chicken Necks

Raw chicken necks are a great raw meaty bone option to use in raw diets for growing puppies. Skinless chicken necks provide a soft edible bone gentle enough for young puppies to crush and consume.

rawchickennecks

The USDA Food Database provides nutritional data on chicken neck muscle meat and fat. It does not provide the nutritional data on the vitamin and mineral content found within chicken neck bones. However, according to the 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. While the USDA data does not include the nutrient content found in chicken neck bones, the 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

Duck necks are another raw meaty bone that is comparable to raw chicken necks. Duck necks are also appropriate for young large breed puppies. The nutritional content will vary between these different raw meaty bones.

Bone Variety

It is not recommended to rely on raw necks as the only raw meaty bone source. 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 can provide essential calcium and phosphorus to developing puppies when whole bones are not fed.

rawgroundchickenbones

The USDA Food Database provides nutritional data on chicken back muscle meat, skin, and fat. It does not provide the nutritional data on the vitamin and mineral content found within chicken back bones. However, according to the 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. While the USDA data does not include the nutrient content found in chicken back bones, the 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.

Ground Raw Meaty Bone Options

Ground bones are a suitable replacement for feeding whole bones. Ground raw meaty bones can provide essential calcium and phosphorus to developing puppies when whole bones are not fed. Additionally, ground bones can provide a wider variety of larger meaty bones such as turkey necks to very small and young puppies who would not physically be able to consume the intact bone. Ground meaty bones can be sourced from many online raw food suppliers or ground at home using a heavy duty meat grinder.

Bone Meal Supplement Alternatives

A supplement that provides both calcium and phosphorus is required if whole or ground raw meaty bones are not fed in a puppy’s homemade diet. Bone meal powder provides the essential calcium and phosphorus puppies need for optimal growth. The amount of calcium and phosphorus available in bone meal will depend on the individual brand – always review the label for the nutritional analysis. Some recommended bone meal options include:

Four Leaf Rover Better Bones

Dicalcium Phosphate

Tricalcium Phosphate

It is important to select a bone meal supplement over a calcium only supplement for puppies. This is due to their higher need for phosphorus in addition to their higher need for calcium. Calcium carbonate supplements and egg shell powder will only provide calcium and nothing more. Therefore, these calcium sources are not an appropriate choice for puppies.

CLOSING COMMENTS

It is recommended to feed 17% 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 their jaw strength develops. 

Once jaw strength is developed, meaty bones from chicken or duck are good 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 meaty bones can be fed.

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