Raw/Cooked Bones Splinter Test
  • JasonWJasonW
    Posts: 13
    So when I first started feeding raw to Kyubi, my biggest concerns were:
    1. Bacteria e.g. salmonella or e.coli,
    2. His ability to digest bones that were partially chewed in his less acidic kibble-accustomed stomach.
    3. He inhales food as if it's his last meal on earth and,
    4. His baby teeth wouldn't be able to crunch through any bones tougher than chicken ribs.

    I sometimes gave him oxtail bones to chew on for teeth-cleaning (which he loved) but even with a watchful eye, he gulped a half-eaten, meat-covered bone faster than I could take it away! To my horror, he didn't poo for 24hrs, his poo was very dark brown in colour (which I thought was milena from internal bleeding, but later discovered it was probably due to liver I gave him, the darkness only lasted for a poo or two), and the bone only got passed out after a very concerning THREE days later - COMPLETELY intact about 1.5 inches long x 1/4 inch width!! His poor bum and intestines...

    Since then, I've only been comfortable handfeeding chicken necks for him, but I still don't dare to give him chicken thighs or wings to crunch on. I knew he had to have his bone intake so I invested in an STX-3000 Megaforce meatgrinder and ground up some chicken carcasses for him to go with his boneless meals. Any one with experiences of feeding raw chicken LEG bones to offer any wisdom here?

    ANYWAY, after taking care of the bone intake issue, the one lingering issue was the potential food disease (I sometimes question the freshness of Singapore produce since most poultry is imported from Malaysia). So I thought one solution was to sous-vide his meats at 65C (99.99% of salmonella and e.coli are eradicated at temperatures above 64C for 3 minutes or longer) which would maintain the majority of nutrition yet kill any pathogens. BUT....while I was eliminating any potential disease from his boneless portions, his ground-up bone meal was still completely uncooked (we all know what happens to cooked bones). So out of interest, I decided to put my sous vide to a scientific experiment and see what temperature bone actually begins to become brittle and splinter. Here are the test results with the accompanying image below:

    Chicken ribs were used in the test -
    CONTROL: completely raw, bone was crushable with my finger nails/flat side of the knife and was mushy/moist. A human could easily crunch this up with their own molars.
    At 65C, 5 mins: bone still crushable with fingernails but less moist than CONTROL results. Cleaved edges still rounded and crumbly. Acceptable for consumption.
    at 65C, 10 mins: only cleavable with a knife edge using light pressure, and shards' edges are sharper. This would puncture gums or rupture any dogs' tracts with a less than optimal stomach acidity to dissolve the bones.
    at 65C, 15 mins: bone moisture has completely drained out, making the bones completely dangerous for eating.
    at 70C, 5 mins: bones were dried out with edges that were hard and sharp - notably harder than the 65C/15 min result.
    at 75C, 5 mins: just look at the photo. Stay clear of any cooked bones!!

    If you need to see a magnified photo of the above results or of the bones WHOLE without being cut, please visit: https://www.instagram.com/kyubi333/, or PM me.

    Hope this helps anyone who is concerned about raw vs cooked hygiene!! I know this sounds insane, but I'd rather have my precious furball experience a bout of food poisoning than have those shards irreparably damage his digestive tract!!!

  • omgtainomgtain
    Posts: 240
    Hello there. My GSD ate raw for about 5 years and my Kai ate raw for 2 years (had to stop because i moved and don't have the space or a cheap supplier like i did).

    All (raw) chicken bones are easily digested. This is because they aren't as dense as cow / ox bones, they do not carry as much weight so they are more thin and easier to break down.

    in addition to that, bones should always be consumed with meat. the meat tends to cushion around bones so when going thru the digestive tract they can't poke any of their insides. i've never been a fan of chicken/turkey necks because they have so much bone in them. might be similar to ox tails (never fed those).

    beef bones shouldn't be consumed. they are thick and dense (from having to carry a cow around all day). they can also break teeth. pig bones are softer and can be eaten, but with supervision of course. lamb bones are also soft and tend to break. for this reason i dont give lamb femurs or marrow bones. in terms of dog treats/chews i never feed smoked anything.

    most of my bone content came from whole birds / rabbits and chicken quarters. if bone content is too high then the poo will be yellowy / crumbly. if it is too low it will be soft/diarrhea (but too much bone can give the runs too).

    one of my cats ate a sewing needle and passed it. i don't know how.. or why.. but i've never had an issue with raw.
  • JasonWJasonW
    Posts: 13
    Thanks omgtain - I am going to attempt to handfeed him a chicken thigh later this week and perhaps some bone-in breasts too. I was just concerned that for a smallish 4.5mth old pup, he wouldn't be able to crunch through the leg bones.The chicken necks I give to Kyubi are usually as a complement to his main meals/snack and I handfeed it so I make sure he crunches it up bit by bit. So far so good with that.

    On a side note, I envy you guys in the US. The cheapest I can get hormone-free, antibiotic-free whole chicken in Singapore is about $0.80/100g in the supermarkets or $0.60/100g if I order direct from the farm. I have to carve up the chicken myself....if I order the pre-cut parts, it'd be much closer to $1.00/100g. Urgh.....

    A sewing needle though....OMG....how on earth.....?!! 0_o LOL!
    Post edited by JasonW at 2017-01-12 00:51:00
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3977
    Cool experiment!! Next experiment should be how long it takes to cook chicken bone in water to dissolve it. I made some turkey broth and bone broth with a left over carcass in the crock pot, 2-3 days cooking on high caused the bones to become mushy and I could break a leg bone bare handed (took a video too, lol).
  • The bone in chicken necks is a lot softer than a thigh bone. My Akita ken has no problem eating either. He will eat chicken necks like chips (as a snack) and a whole thigh as a meal along with tripe, gizzards etc.

    I never feed my dog pork bones, raw or cooked. These are not safe for your dog as they do splinter.

    I'm not worried about salmonella as the quality control here in my county is pretty good. But at the same time you can't compare our digestive system to theirs. My dog licks pee and will eat wild animal poo if he finds any.
    Post edited by MapleTwinkie at 2017-01-12 04:43:51
  • JasonWJasonW
    Posts: 13
    @MapleTwinkie...so true what you say abt their resilience to bacteria. LOL. Well, as I surmised in my little experiment, I have stopped the sous viding altogether and the little guy is on the rawest of raw now. I only ever cook some fish that I buy him whether it's salmon, mackerel, sardines or sanma.

    @Calia - I cook a lot (for us, humans) as a hobby and actually, I could achieve the mushy bones in a few hours with a pressure cooker on high pressure. However, the aim of my experiment was for dog owners who want to 'sterilise' their potentially 'dirty' meats in the most time-efficient and nutritive way possible. If the bones and meat are boiled to mush, all the proteins and minerals would be denatured beyond usefulness for the dog and I might as well be feeding the soup itself...LOL!

    Fingers crossed he takes well to raw chicken quarters this week!
  • AjaxAjax
    Posts: 123
    JasonW: Thanks for sharing! That was a interesting test.

    As for my boy we mostly feed kibble, but will sometimes feed raw in the evening. We started by offering him whole raw chicken wings. You might have better luck with those than chicken quarters. Those can be quite large for a small dog though they probably have a more favorable percentage of meat and bone.

    Other than that, we feed him whole chicken thighs, frames, and assorted organs, really anything chicken. Turkey necks and gibblets were a holiday treat. He happily crunches his way through pig feet, meaty pork neck bones, and raw, un-smoked pig ears. I don't think pork bones splinter more than other bone. What I avoid are the large weight bearing bones of anything but poultry mostly to save his teeth. I'll occasionally give him small raw fish. I typically add in a spoonful of pumpkin. To kill parasites (but not bacteria) I'll freeze everything for 2 weeks first.

    I don't think feeding raw is any sort of panacea, but I do think one of the unquestionable benefits is dental if it is given with whole bones. I do think we condition we condition our dogs to have sensitive stomachs on kibble. Street dogs don't die if they get into a bucket of fried chicken and nor did my friends sheltie who lived 17 years off table scraps and cooked bones to include chicken. That doesn't mean that I would give my dog any of those things.

    I think the threats of perforation and bacterial illness are overstated for young healthy dogs by opponents of raw while proponents of raw overstate the benefits and omit the possible risks of transitioning older dogs to raw. My unscientific observations of whenever raw is being blamed on killing a dog, its usually the 8,9,10 year old dog who recently transitioned.

    With the one exception of a jagged piece of a chicken wing that Ajax expelled whole when he first started eating them, all other bones he's eaten have been reduced to unrecognizable crumbs by his digestive track, even the whole pork rib he swallowed as just a puppy.
  • JasonWJasonW
    Posts: 13
    Hi Ajax - glad you liked the test. It seemed that the internet was lacking such information so I decided to add some value to society and DIY...LOL
    Thanks for the info. I gave Kyubi a bone-in pork knuckle yesterday but that bone was clearly too hard for him. He did enjoy a good teeth-cleaning gnaw at the flesh clinging on to the bone, but I had to take it away from him at the end after scooping out the marrow. You can see his teeth marks in this photo:


    I haven't tried chicken wings yet for fear the tips could be a bit pokey for him, but i'll try handfeeding it first, I guess. I was keen to get him started on chicken thighs because of the more favourable meat-bone ratio but once again, I didn't know if the weight-bearing bone would present a problem. It's impossible to get hold of any other off-parts of pork or turkey at the butcher's here in Singapore, and beef bones are generally a no-no. So I guess I'm restricted to chicken for now.....*sob*. Anyway, I'll keep looking for different bones - my general rule of thumb is if I can't crush the bone with the back of my meat cleaver, it ain't for consumption! I think for the benefit of all dog owners, I'll next endeavour to do a 'hardness' test for all types of chicken, pork, beef and turkey bones, and construct a quantifiable hardness scale for all of them. I'm a very sad person, I know. :-B

    I share your view about the raw and anti-raw camps - what you say definitely sounds very sensible. It's also reassuring that Ajax is on kibble mostly, yet he has no problems digesting the chicken bones you give him. I still have paranoia after Kyubi passed out that oxtail bone completely intact....but I suppose not all bones are created equally.

    You mentioned freezing kills bacteria, but I've read that this only puts them in a dormant state. Once the meat temperature goes above 4C, bacteria can once again multiply, even after being frozen for weeks. Hence, I would cook all my fish, bar sardines, which are 'cooked' during the canning process anyway.
  • omgtainomgtain
    Posts: 240
    generally pork ribs and knuckles are softer than center cut femurs.

    I usually give beef / pork for teeth cleaning. there is no worry to use chicken wings for your 10% bone and then use brisket or ground beef or a cut of pork for your 80% meat.

    dunno about others but i never fed things 100% balanced everyday. they usually had certain days with bones (these usually aligned with organ days). and some days only meat.
  • JasonWJasonW
    Posts: 13
    @omgtain - yes, I think chicken wings might be a good starting point. Am excited yet a bit apprehensive at the same time - will be watching the little guy like a hawk!
    I usually prepare his meals for the week ahead and put it all in the freezer; and put it into the fridge the day before I need it, to defrost. Here's what one of my production lines look like, hehehe:


    I find it quite therapeutic - takes about 20-30 minutes to prepare for the week ahead. I love changing up the ingredients from week to week. As for the bone-in meals, I guess I'll handfeed them as snacks or supplements to his main meals to ensure he doesn't scarf it down with the rest of his meal!
  • Do you have tripe/offal where you live?
    Tripe is an essential part of the meal, it's the main reason why we feed raw. We include it in every meal and its' about 20% of the portion.
    Post edited by MapleTwinkie at 2017-01-16 18:48:56
  • JasonWJasonW
    Posts: 13
    Well we don't have the fresh, unbleached, green tripe from the butcher's, but I buy it out of a can. I don't feed tripe to Kyubi everyday but I alternate it with other offal such as heart, sweetbread, pancreas. Here's what I buy from the pet shop - it's the closest I can get to the natural good stuff:

    I only feed 5% other offal as part of his diet as I fear 20% might be too rich for him. Am following the 80/10/10 prey model mix.
  • It is also better to remove the marrow. Bone marrows are primarily fat so it is not recommended if your pet has poor digestion. It can cause diarrhea.
  • TRDmomTRDmom
    Posts: 77
    Proper hygiene is generally all that is necessary (hand washing and cleaning surfaces with a good disinfectant). I have been feeding raw meat for years with various dogs. In most "undeveloped" nations, that's what the majority of dogs eat (and remember the U.S. didn't have a strong dog food industry until around the 1940s). Personally, I like to raise and slaughter my own meat (for pets and my human family) so I know what the animals have consumed and how the meat was handled after slaughter.

    There are many raw feeding resources available online. Please do your own research and do what works for you guys. Also, dig deep enough to understand the "why" rather than "because someone said..." You'll do fine.

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