The Nutritional Aspects of Bone Composition
An Educated Look at the Nutritional Benefits of Bones
Marrow is not bone. In fact, the marrow cavity of any bone is composed mainly of fat and blood components -- high quality nutrients, to be sure, but the minimal reward for scraping out a bit of fatty marrow hardly warrants the status of it being declared a daily requirement for a dog.
Bone marrow, according to the Official Publication of American Feed Control Officials, 1997,"...is the soft material coming from the center of large bones, such as leg bones. This material, which is predominantly fat, is separated from the bone material by mechanical separation."
Cartilage, meanwhile, is 50 percent collagen (a poorly digestible fibrous connective tissue) and mucopolysaccharides which are chains of glucose molecules in combination with mucous.
Are Whole Raw Bones a Requirement for Health in the Canine?
As a veterinarian with over thirty years of hands-on experience dealing with healthy and sick dogs and cats, and as a veterinarian with a keen interest in nutritional consequences affecting dogs and cats and as a member of a national veterinary nutrition association, I must ask two questions of those who so staunchly believe that RAW BONE consumption is an absolute requirement for dogs:
1. Could it be that the nutritional benefits seemingly derived from feeding RAW BONES is mostly derived from the meat, fat and connective tissues attached to those raw bones more so than from the actual bone itself? In other words, "Is the benefit really coming from bone ... or from the attached muscle, fat, and connective tissue?"
2. How can it be explained that I have seen many very healthy, old dogs in the course of practice that have never eaten a single RAW BONE? (Of course these old, healthy and very fortunate pets have owners who are feeding these dogs meat, fruit and other "table scraps". That may be precisely why they are old and healthy!)