Whether or not Malteses should chew on bones is a hot topic among experts and dog owners worldwide. This is due to the varying reactions observed when different dogs eat different kinds of bones.
One thing is clear, though, chewing bones can be both beneficial and risky for Malteses. So can Malteses chew on bones? What bones are safe for them?
Just like any other dog, Malteses can chew on bones, but only certain types of bone should be given to them. Safe bones for your Maltese include raw beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and turkey bones. Cooked bones are unsafe for Malteses as they can easily break and splinter which can cause damage to your Maltese’s mouth, stomach, and intestines.
Many breeders and experts advise that Maltese dogs should be fed bone-shaped treats instead to counter the dangers of chewing actual bones.
Some experts argue that the health benefits of bones are not worth the risks they present. They suggest that rather than feeding dogs whole bones, bones should be grounded and sprinkled on food.
With that, your Maltese gets all the nutrients it requires from bones, but none of the dangers bones can present. However, bones provide more than just nutritional value.
Non-Nutritional Benefits of Bones
Beyond the nutritional importance of bones, there are other benefits of chewing bones. The process of chewing is fundamental to dogs and has the following benefits for your Maltese.
Dogs love chewing bones for the mental stimulation they get when they chew on them. You only need to see the reaction you get from your Maltese to see just how much a bone treat is appreciated.
The process of chewing is calming for dogs so that it can reduce anxiety and edginess. Chewing bones also give your Maltese a sense of productive work, thereby increasing its feeling of happiness.
Dogs exercise many muscles while chewing on bones. It’s a great way to use teeth and gum muscles.
The joy of seeing bones combined with the act of regular chewing can reduce high blood pressure and the possibility of heart disease.
Malteses are in their happy place when they chew on bones; it’s only so much fun for them. So it’s an excellent way to keep your Maltese occupied while you engage in other activities – not too far away, though.
The most notable benefit of chewing bones occurs in the mouth. Bones function like a brush by helping to floss and clean your Maltese’s teeth when chewed.
Eating bones is an excellent way to reduce the buildup of tartar and reduce the likelihood of gum disease. The process also stimulates the secretion of enzymes that prevent plaque.
Nutritional Benefits of Bones
Bones are a great source of calcium, which is necessary for healthy teeth and bone formation. They also provide other minerals such as phosphorus as well as amino acids, fiber, and antioxidants.
Despite both nutritional and non-nutritional benefits of chewing bones, bones are still one of the most dangerous dogs’ food items.
The consequences of chewing on bones gone wrong can be grave. Let us take a look at some of these disadvantages.
Negative Consequences of Chewing Bones in Malteses
Peritonitis is described as the inflammation of the peritoneum, which is a membrane that provides support and protection for the abdominal organs. This condition is usually caused by bacterial infection after the rupture of the stomach and intestine by bone fragments.
Peritonitis is very painful and difficult to treat, which can be fatal to your Maltese. Its severe nature requires an urgent trip to the vet and makes it the most dangerous consequence of dogs chewing bones.
Unsupervised and aggressive chewing of bones can cause painful mouth injuries for your Maltese. Bone fragments can cut your Maltese’s mouth, tongue, or tonsils and cause severe pain and bleeding.
It is also possible for your dog’s teeth to get fractured or broken while chewing a particularly hard bone. This might require an expensive trip to your vet dentist. Bones can also get looped around your Maltese’s lower jaw, causing severe pain.
There’s the possibility your dog will swallow a large chunk of bone – which is likely for a Maltese dog, and the bone doesn’t have to be too large.
If this happens, bones can get stuck in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines and cause a blockage. Bones can also get stuck in the windpipe if your Maltese mistakenly inhales a small fragment.
Any form of these blockages will require veterinary attention. Depending on the size of the bone and where it is lodged, it might also require surgery.
Your Maltese may also experience difficulty in passing out the bone fragments and, therefore, be constipated. This also requires a trip to the vet.
Any form of continuous pain and bleeding, if not attended to, might lead to more severe outcomes, eventually leading to death.
Cuts and bruises caused by sharp bone fragments can become infected and ultimately lead to death. When it comes to dog and bone, a timely response might be the difference between life and death.
Best Bone Feeding Practices
To curb the risks of feeding bones, you should adhere to the following precautionary measures when feeding bones to your Maltese.
- Never give cooked bones: Cooked bones are too brittle and easily splinter to cause internal injury. They are very unsafe for your Maltese. Cooked bones cause most of the negative consequences of chewing bones. Moreover, cooking tends to destroy most of the essential nutrients in the bone, making it unhealthy for them.
- Don’t allow uneaten bone fragments to lie around: Stressful as that may be for you, you should look out for any pieces of bones and take them out immediately. Bone fragments are sharp and can cause serious damage to your Maltese’s mouth, throat, or intestines.
- Plan your Maltese’s bone time: The ideal bone time you should allow for your Maltese is 10 – 15 minutes. Giving more than this time at once enables your Maltese to have time to be naughty with the bone.
- It would be best if you supervised your Maltese eating the bone: You need to be close by while your Maltese gnaws on any bone. This way, it’s easy to stop him if you notice any blood on the bone or if he breaks the bone into chunks he can swallow. By supervising your Maltese, you can see when he has chewed a bone down to the brittle part, which is likely to splinter and cause injury.
- Offer meaty bones: Meaty bones are the best types of bones to give your Maltese. With this, he is occupied for some time and still gets the protein and other nutrients it needs. If your Maltese is prone to aggressive chewing, some meat and cartilage on the body of the bone will help to cushion the effect of the bone on its teeth.
- Don’t offer bone in the presence of another dog: You should avoid offering your Maltese a bone if you run a multi-dog household or have friends over with their dogs. Malteses can be very territorial about their bones and could fight over it. Separate your dogs and give them bones individually in separate rooms.
- Give the bone after a meal: The best time to feed your Maltese a bone is after he has had a full meal, this way, he’s less likely to be aggressive while chewing on it. This also helps to reduce his eagerness to swallow it.
- Don’t give a bone to a Maltese with pancreatitis or stomach problems: Bone marrows are very rich and can cause diarrhea and lead to pancreatitis. In this case, you can scoop out the marrow or feed bones without marrow. For similar reasons, you should avoid offering bones to Malteses with stomach problems.
- Don’t give a bone to a Maltese that has had restorative dental work: If your Maltese has had a dental job or experience problems with his teeth, then you should avoid feeding him any bone. They are more at risk of breaking their teeth.
- Refrigerate bones when not in use and throw it out after three or four days: Low temperature helps to reduce the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms on the bones.
- Please avoid giving a recreational bone to any canine that can swallow it whole or bite it to smaller pieces and eat it in huge chunks.
It is stereotypical to imagine dogs chewing bones as promoted by various media, but in reality, bones can be hazardous to dogs.
Regardless of the breed and size, don’t feed all types of bones to dogs, and dogs should not be allowed to eat any bone without supervision.
It would help if you also considered grounding bones before feeding it to your Maltese as a less risky way of providing the same nutrients.