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Feeding RMB's (Raw Meaty Bones)

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Raw Meaty Bones (RMBs) are bones surrounded in meat to cushion the bone as it's swallowed.

 

 

The added benefit of feeding bones are:

  1. Providing the correct ratio of Calcium and phosphorus to maintain healthy, strong bones.

  2. Clean the teeth by brushing plaque off the teeth.

  3. Mental stimulation as they work on it.

This article will include:

  1. Precautions to take.

  2. What are Edible bones. With some examples of size appropriate RMBs

  3. How to calculate how bone you get from an RMB easily.

  4. Safe use of recreational bones.

  5. Why eggshell and bone meal are not bone substitutes.

There are many concerns among non-raw feeders and veterinarians when it comes to including bone in our pet's raw diet, but that’s where knowledge of appropriate bone use comes in. First and most importantly, supervise your pet while eating RMBs. When first introducing RMB's we suggest hand feeding to create positive association with your presence around bones, avoid gulping & encourage chewing. If your dog is prone to guarding, see our file on Resource Guarding for further information.

 

 

The following are general rules all raw feeders need to follow to ensure the safety of their pet.

Precautions

  1. No Cooked/Dried/Dehydrated Bones

Cooked bones splinter no matter how large or small they are. Once the moisture has been removed through cooking, drying, or dehydration, the structure of the bone is weakened making it easy to splinter. This can cause tearing or perforation of the oesophagus, stomach or intestinal lining leading to internal bleeding and expensive surgery .

  2. No Bones Too Small or Too Large

Bones that are too small or easily swallowed whole pose the same threats as splintered bones plus choking and blockages. You want to choose bones that require chewing. Although there are some large bones you can use for recreation under careful supervision, large bones should not be used as RMBs—especially with aggressive chewers. If they are, you run the risk of broken teeth or fractured jaws.

  3. No Weight-Bearing Bones, No Beef Bone

Ground or whole, AVOID BEEF BONE. This includes the ground beef bone in some commercial premades/completes. Grinding does not change bone density, only particle size. It is an impaction risk as it is too dense to easily digest and can build up in the digestive tract. It also offers poor nutrient availability compared to softer bones that we consider edible. The whole bones of large mammals can also fracture teeth. It only takes ONCE to potentially injure a pet or worse, plus the large vet bills that would follow. 

  4. No Mixing With Kibble

Mixing any of the raw diet with kibble will raise the stomach pH inhibiting proper and safe digestion of RMB's. Not only that but mixing with kibble can also inhibit the stomach pH to kill off pathogens.

  5. No Machine-Sawn Bones

Bones with machine-sawn edges can splinter and create chards that can lodge between teeth and in gums.

Example RMB’s:

 For Weaning very young puppies or kittens as well as ferrets:

  • Chicken necks, backs, wings, feet, thighs

  • Duck feet, necks

  • Rabbit, cut

  • Turkey necks

  • Cornish Game Birds, whole or cut into big pieces

  • Quail, whole or cut in half

  • Goat ribs

  • Lamb breast  

 

Tiny – Small Dogs , Adult Cats , Ferrets (some dogs may be smaller than adult cats and need bones cut down to size):

  • Chicken necks, backswings, feet, thighs

  • Duck feet, necks

  • Duck, whole cut into pieces

  • Rabbit, cut

  • Turkey necks

  • Cornish Game Birds, whole or cut into big pieces

  • Quail, whole or cut in half

  • Goat bones, cut

  • Lamb breast, cut

 

Medium – Large Dogs:

  • Chicken necksbreast, backs, wingsfeet, carcass. etc

  • Chicken, split or quartered

  • Duck neckscarcass, feet

  • Duck, whole

  • Rabbit, whole or cut in half

  • Pork neckstails , feet/ trotters, ribs

  • Turkey necks, carcass bones

  • Turkey, split or quartered

  • Cornish Game Birds, whole

  • Quail, whole

  • Goat bones

  • Lamb shoulder

  • Lamb necks, cut

  • Lamb breast, cut

 

Giant Dogs:

  • Chicken necks, breast, backs, wings, feet, carcass, etc

  • Chicken, whole, split or quartered

  • Duck necks, carcass, feet

  • Duck, whole

  • Rabbit, whole

  • Pork necks, tails, ribs, feet / trotters

  • Turkey necks, carcass bones

  • Turkey, split

  • Cornish Game Birds, whole

  • Quail, whole

  • Goat bones (cut 6-way or 6-8” pieces)

  • Lamb shoulder

  • Lamb neck, whole

The bone makes up 10% of your companion’s raw diet, that provides calcium and phosphorus (Ratio of Ca:P 1-2:1).

 

Calculating Bone %

First, find the RMB you want to feed on the chart below. Weigh the RMB and use our calculator to determine the amount you'll need to feed.

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Other methods of calcultaing bone are either dividing or counting each RMB serving as 50/50 and poop watch.

To divide simply take the required amount and divide it by the % of the RMB. For example, say you need 120g of bone and you are feeding chicken quarters (30% bone). Using a standard calculator key in 120 divided by 30% which equals 400g. This means you would feed 400g of chicken quarters to get 120g of bone. The remainder will go towards the meat portion.

What to do if your dog chokes. It is a scary thought but it can happen. Always supervise and feed size appropriate bones! Here's a graphic that we highly recommend saving. 

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