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What is bake bone?

Bake bone refers to bones that have been processed and cooked for the purpose of making them safe, palatable and digestible for dogs. It involves baking fresh, raw bones at high temperatures which kills any bacteria, making them sterile. Baked bones provide a hard, crunchy texture that helps clean teeth and satisfy a dog’s natural urge to chew, while being safe to digest.

Why Bake Bones for Dogs?

There are several benefits to giving dogs baked bones as opposed to raw bones or cooked bones:

  • Kills bacteria – Raw bones may contain salmonella, e.coli and other pathogens. Baking eliminates disease-causing organisms.
  • Digestible – The high heat makes bones brittle and easy to break into small pieces that can be passed safely through the digestive tract.
  • Reduces fractures – Raw bones are tough and can fracture teeth. Baking makes the bones crunchable but not hard enough to break teeth.
  • Satisfies chewing instinct – Dogs love to chew and baked bones provide a healthy outlet. Chewing relieves boredom and anxiety.
  • Cleans teeth – The crunchy texture scrapes away plaque and tartar as the dog chews.

Raw bones are also dangerous because they can splinter and pierce the throat, stomach or intestines. Cooked bones tend to splinter easily whereas baked bones are hard on the outside but brittle on the inside.

Choosing Bake Bones

When selecting baked bones for dogs, it’s important to pick appropriate sizes and shapes. The bone must be large enough that the dog cannot swallow it whole and potentially choke. Bones should also not have any sharp edges.

Some good choices include:

  • Femur or hip bones from large animals like cattle.
  • Scapula bones from pork shoulders.
  • Lamb shanks.
  • Hearts from beef or lamb.

Avoid bones from smaller animals like chickens or ducks, which may splinter. Also do not give rib bones, as they can break into sharp pieces.

Safety Tips

It’s important to supervise your dog when giving baked bones to prevent choking. Follow these tips:

  • Select bones appropriate for your dog’s size.
  • Never leave the dog alone with a bone.
  • Take away the bone after it gets small enough to swallow.
  • Watch for signs of choking like gagging or distress.
  • Avoid bones if your dog is an aggressive chewer.

Additionally, baked bones should always be given in moderation, as too much can lead to an upset stomach or constipation.

How to Bake Bones for Dogs

Baking bones at home ensures you can control ingredients and proper cooking. Here is a step-by-step guide:


  • Beef, pork or lamb bones
  • Water
  • Vegetables like carrots, sweet potato or squash (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Wash bones thoroughly in warm water and scrub off any debris.
  3. Place bones in a casserole dish and add enough water to cover. Adding vegetables provides extra flavor and nutrients.
  4. Cover dish and bake for 30 minutes. Then uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes to dry them out.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before giving to your dog.
  6. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to a week.

The bones should be golden brown, with a hardened exterior and porous interior. Be sure they are cool before feeding to prevent mouth burns.


Always store baked bones in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent bacterial growth. They can be frozen for several months.

Let frozen bones thaw gradually in the refrigerator before feeding. Do not microwave bones or reheat them, as this can alter their consistency and make them more likely to splinter.

Popular Bake Bone Recipes

Here are some tasty baked bone recipes to satisfy your dog’s chewing urges:

Peanut Butter and Banana Bones

  • Ingredients: Large knuckle or femur bones, peanut butter, mashed banana, flour
  • Directions: Spread peanut butter over bones, then dip in banana. Roll in flour and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes until hardened.

Pumpkin Spice Bones

  • Ingredients: Pork bones, canned pumpkin, cinnamon, allspice, brown sugar
  • Directions: Mix pumpkin, spices and brown sugar. Spread mixture over bones and bake at 375°F for 60 minutes.

Birthday Cake Bones

  • Ingredients: Beef shank bones, cream cheese, peanut butter, honey, vanilla, sprinkles
  • Directions: Frost bones with a blend of cream cheese, peanut butter, honey and vanilla. Top with sprinkles before baking.

Feel free to get creative with coatings and flavors. Just avoid ingredients that may be toxic to dogs like chocolate, raisins, macadamia nuts or onion.

Are Bake Bones Safe for Puppies?

Baked bones can be safe for puppies, but special precautions should be taken. Puppies have smaller jaws and developing teeth, so they require bones that are appropriately sized.

Follow these puppy bake bone tips:

  • Give large breed puppies bones from chicken, duck or turkey.
  • Small breed puppies can handle chicken wing sections or duck feet.
  • Avoid weight bearing bones from cows or pigs which are too hard.
  • Supervise constantly to prevent choking or swallowing bone shards.
  • Bake for less time to keep bones softer.

Additionally, puppies should not have bones until they are done weaning, around 3-6 months old. Until then, provide safe chew toys instead.

If you notice coughing, gagging or signs of distress, take the bone away immediately. Seek veterinary care if you suspect blockage from swallowing fragments. Monitor stool for several days after to ensure proper digestion.

Potential Risks of Baked Bones

While less hazardous than raw bones, baked bones can still pose dangers if dogs are not monitored:

  • Choking hazard – Dogs may swallow large chunks that get lodged in the throat.
  • Tooth fractures – Weight bearing bones from large animals may still crack teeth if chewed too hard.
  • Bone splinters – Cooked bones tend to shatter easier than raw bones.
  • Intestinal injury or blockage – Swallowed sharp shards can perforate the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Broken teeth – Bones may break teeth, especially if pitted by tartar buildup.

Always inspect bones for cracks before giving them. Discard small bone pieces that could be swallowed. Never let a dog chew bones unsupervised, and take away bones once they become small.

Dogs with a history of pancreatitis or gastrointestinal issues may be especially at risk. Consult your veterinarian about appropriate chew options if your dog has any underlying health conditions.

Alternatives to Baked Bones

If you are concerned about potential hazards of baked bones, some safer alternatives include:

Commerical Chews

  • Nylon or rubber chew toys – Can provide long-lasting chewing satisfaction without breaking teeth.
  • Edible chews like rawhides, tendons or bully sticks – Digestible natural products.
  • Dental chew sticks – Help clean teeth and freshen breath.

Recreational Bones

  • Raw meaty bones like lamb neck bones or oxtails.
  • Recreational raw bones – Usually non-weightbearing bones of birds, pigs or rabbits.
  • Expanded pork skin rolls – Provide chewing exercise without splintering.

When in doubt, consult your veterinarian for the safest chew products for your dog. Proper dental care is also important to help avoid excessive tartar buildup that can lead to chewing issues.


Bake bones can provide healthy chewing activity for dogs when given properly. The high heat of baking kills bacteria, while preserving the natural bone texture dogs love. However, precautions must be taken to avoid choking, damage to teeth or internal injury. Providing appropriate size bones under supervision minimizes risks. Alternatives like commercial chew products are also available if you have concerns over bone safety. Discussing options with your veterinarian can help determine the best chew solutions for your pet’s dental and behavioral needs.