Bones and cartilage are an essential part of all BARF-meals. They are the main source of calcium and are also rich in other minerals. In contrast to all other BARF-components, bones should never be fed cooked as they become porous and splintery. Coated with meat, skin or fur, raw bones are completely safe for dogs and cats.
Bones should account for up to 15 % of the animal content of BARF-meals. It is important to distinguish between hard and soft bones and ideally to feed both. As soft bones contain less calcium than hard ones, the proportion of bone must be increased to 20 % if your pet cannot tolerate or eat hard bones. As a general rule, the larger the prey animal, the harder the bones.
When starting to feed your dog raw meat, you should first feed him only soft bones and pay close attention to how thoroughly he chews them. If your dog is prone to gulp his food, it is advisable to feed him large bones so that he can learn to chew or use ground or minced bones. Puppies should also be fed soft bones at first.
To protect your dog's stomach, the bones should always be covered with enough meat. This will prevent sharp splinters that can cause damage later. Bones that are too hard should also be avoided. This includes all load-bearing bones of larger animals such as cattle, horses, sheep, goats, turkeys or geese. Pig bones should also not be fed due to the Aujeszky's disease virus.
Bones should only ever be fed in small quantities, otherwise constipation or bone excrements can occur. We therefore recommend dividing the weekly ration over at least two to three days. If your pet cannot tolerate bones and reacts to even the smallest amounts with bone excrement, you can alternatively feed bone meal.
Particularly in animals with skeletal disorders such as hip dysplasia, care should always be taken to ensure that the faeces are not too hard, otherwise they will have great pain when defecating. Natural supplements such as fleawort seed husks can help to digest bones better.