You say, "But won't bones get caught in their throat?" And I say, "How did dogs and cats survive in the wild for eons?" They ate raw bones and meat exclusively. The dental disease we see in modern pets is virtually nonexistent in animals in the wild eating their natural, whole - and bony - prey.
Raw bones also provide important elements including minerals, protein, fats, proteoglycans, collagen, vitamins and enzymes in perfect proportions, exactly as nature intended. This is not to mention the exercise and entertainment pets enjoy from bone gnawing and chewing.
A Caution: Don't feed smaller cut bones such as from beef and pork which can be consumed too rapidly and may lodge in and around teeth. Moderation is the key. Excess bones (particularly if cooked) can cause severe constipation if suddenly introduced into the diet. The animals' natural craving can cause them to overdo it in eagerness. Once a regular part of the diet, however, raw bone consumption will be self-regulating. Begin slowly. Offer fresh raw bones regularly. Start kittens and puppies right out on them. They can yield big dental and overall health dividends and greatly add to your pet's enjoyment. They can also help prevent boredom... and might even save some furniture and woodwork.
- Wysong RL, "Rationale for Dentatreat™," 2002. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract, 1998; 28(5):1129-45. Veterinary Medicine, 1989:97-104.
- Hefferren JJ et al, Foods, Nutrition and Dental Health, Volume 1, 1981. Microbes Infect, 2000; 2(8):897-906. J Am Geriatr Soc, 2002; 50:430-433. J Periodontology, 2001; 72:50-56.