Can Dogs Eat Oxtail Bones? Are Cow Tails Safe For Dogs?

Cow tail, also known as beef tail or oxtail, can be found in various forms including raw, smoked, dried, or dehydrated.

Raw cow tail is often used in a raw diet for dogs and is generally safe if sourced from reputable suppliers and handled with proper hygiene.

Smoked or dried cow tails are also sold as chew treats for dogs and are typically safe, though it’s wise to check for added chemicals or preservatives. Cooked cow tail prepared for human consumption, with seasonings and other ingredients, is generally not suitable for dogs.

We feed our dog raw beef tail that we get from a local farmer. It’s prepared by a butcher and suitable for human consumption, but we don’t always get around to using it ourselves so it becomes a treat for Bingo!

Beef Tails For Dogs

can dogs have oxtail bones
Cow tail bones are a very special treat for dogs

When considering feeding cow tail to your dog, the form and preparation are key factors.

Raw or specially prepared treats designed for dogs are usually a safe option, but caution should be exercised with other processed forms or human food preparations.

The size of the dog and the portion size of the tail should also be considered to avoid choking hazards depending on the age and breed of dog.

Small breed dogs like French Bulldogs or chihuahuas should be watched closely. Large breed dogs like our Labrador Bingo or a Labradoodle can eat oxtail with fewer concerns.

Here are some of the different names and forms of oxtail:

1. Raw Cow Tail

This is simply the tail in its natural, uncooked state. It can be fed to dogs as part of a raw diet, provided it is sourced from a reputable supplier and handled with appropriate hygiene.

2. Smoked Cow Tail

Some pet stores offer smoked cow tails as chew treats for dogs. These are usually safe for dogs but can sometimes be processed with added flavors, preservatives, or salt, so checking the ingredient list is advisable.

3. Dried or Dehydrated Cow Tail

These are often sold as chew treats for dogs. They can be a good option, but it’s wise to check the sourcing and ensure there are no added chemicals or preservatives.

4. Cooked Cow Tail (for human consumption)

This includes dishes like oxtail soup or stew, where the tail has been cooked with various seasonings, vegetables, and possibly bones. These preparations are generally not suitable for dogs due to the seasonings, onions, garlic, or other ingredients that might be harmful to them.

5. Cow Tail Hair (switch)

This is the tuft of hair at the end of a cow’s tail. It’s not something that would typically be fed to a dog and doesn’t have nutritional value.

In general, raw cow tail or specially prepared cow tail treats designed for dogs are safe for dogs to consume, with proper handling and supervision. The size of the dog and the portion of tail offered should be appropriate to avoid choking hazards.

One way to feed ox-tail to small dogs is to make a dog-friendly bone broth. Simply boil the ox-tail in water for 4 – 6 hours and once cooled pull away the meat from the bones (if it hasn’t fallen away on its own).

You can feed the gelatinous, rich result to small dogs. It’s ideal food for dogs. You don’t need to add anything to it – no seasonings and no thickeners, that way the broth is gluten-free and best for dogs.

Oxtail Bones For Dogs

are oxtail bones safe for dogs
Bingo doesn’t have any trouble munching through beef tail

It’s understandable to be concerned about the safety of feeding oxtail bones to your dog.

Many dogs do enjoy chewing on and consuming raw bones, and a Labrador-German Shepherd cross like Bingo is a large breed that would typically be able to handle raw oxtail bones.

Smaller breed dogs can enjoy and benefit from chewing on bones, but there are more specific considerations to keep in mind due to their size and potential limitations in chewing ability.

Raw bones are generally softer and more pliable than cooked bones, and they usually don’t splinter in the same way. Oxtail bones are also relatively small and not as dense as some other types of bones, which can make them more digestible.

However, there are still some risks and considerations:

  1. Choking Hazard: If the segments are small, or if your dog tends to swallow things whole, there might be a risk of choking.
  2. Digestive Irritation: Some dogs may have difficulty digesting bones, leading to constipation or other digestive issues.
  3. Chewing Ability: Smaller dogs might not have the jaw strength to handle dense or hard bones, which could lead to dental issues like cracked teeth.
  4. Dental Damage: Although less likely with the softer bones of the oxtail, aggressive chewing can sometimes lead to cracked teeth or other dental problems.
  5. Fat Content: Oxtail can be fatty, and too much fat can lead to digestive upset or even pancreatitis in some dogs, though for the most part, it’s good for dogs.

Supervising your dog while he eats the oxtail, watching for any signs of distress, and knowing what is normal for his bowel movements can help you recognize if there are any problems.

If you notice any unusual behavior or symptoms after he consumes the oxtail, consulting a veterinarian would be wise. In general, feeding raw oxtail to a healthy dog can be safe, but it’s not entirely without risk.

Cow Tails For Dogs

Feeding cow tails, or oxtails, to dogs can offer several benefits, especially when provided in a raw and unprocessed form. Oxtails are rich in nutrients like protein and contain natural minerals that can contribute to a balanced diet.

The meaty and gelatinous texture provides mental stimulation as dogs work to chew and break it down. This chewing action can also help with dental hygiene by aiding in the removal of plaque and tartar.

However, it’s essential to consider the size and breed of the dog, as well as the quality and preparation of the oxtail. Large breeds like a Labrador-German Shepherd cross may handle oxtail bones well, but smaller breeds may require more careful consideration (or alternative treats like cow ears). Raw oxtail is generally preferred, as it’s softer and more pliable, reducing the risk of splintering.

While it’s essential to consider the size and breed of the dog, as well as the quality and preparation of the oxtail, with mindful selection and appropriate supervision, oxtail can be a nourishing and enjoyable treat that enhances both the physical well-being and mental engagement of your canine friend.

Our dog sure loves it!

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