I just gotta let you know– there’s a racket on dog bones.
And it’s bad to the bone.
Okay I’m done.
I spent more money on this plethora of toys that my dog had no interest in, until finally I came across something he likes. It didn’t come from a pet store, and it was extremely inexpensive. (This is like show and tell– I’ll make you wait to find out what it is.)
There are a hundred thousand ways to spend money on your dog. The doggie supply market is huge, and only getting huger (is that really a word?). Wondering which chew toys they will like, and buying them all in hopes that one will fit like Cinderella’s glass slipper, can now be a thing of the past.
When I first got Blue, everyone extolled the virtues of antlers. It was like suddenly having a baby and you have to start asking around about breast pumps– something you never imagined using or buying before in your life. Luckily, I’d already decided on formula because his teeth were like razors, and he had a tendency to nip. (So that was one less thing to worry about.)
Previously, I had not considered the idea of having to buy an antler; it was the kind of thing that just showed up in our house around hunting season. Admittedly, less and less the last few years, as my dad began to view hunting more as a way of platonic male bonding, listening to music, cooking over a fire and drinking (obviously drinking) than actually putting a bullet into a deer.
(He started going soft when my parents got a dog and she had a rather deer-like-appearance). I for one, was happy for this change. But it also meant I’d have to purchase an antler instead of having one handily procured for me.
So after a few weeks of hearing about how great they were, I found myself making a special trip to the doggie boutique in town.
I should note that while I was tempted to just go in my parent’s basement and grab a pair that were hanging from my dad’s hunting corner, I abstained from undertaking this risk– mostly because I had already incurred his wrath by bringing home the dog to one of his rental homes in the first place.
The last thing I needed was for him to see his new “grandkid” chewing on one of his prized pursuits. (With the sparsity of that antler collection, it’s a fair assumption all of them were prized.)
I was also vegan at that time, which made it ironic that after a month or so of hearing all different stories about what was the best natural chew-toy for your dog– people kept telling me either antlers, or raw bones– I went to the meat section and purchased two large (what I can only presume to be) cow’s leg bones.
Yes, it’s graphic. And all that talk of marrow made my stomach churn. But when someone told me “your dog will love you forever!” I knew this was just the in I needed to secure my place in his furry little heart. (And while I am pretty sure he refers to me in his head simply as “the bitch who takes me to the dog park”, I like to think it’s with a certain amount of affection.)
While the jury is still out on humans in an infinite debate over whether or not we are designed or “supposed” to eat meat, dogs are omnivores. They are meant to. And I wasn’t going to turn my philosophical values into my dog’s nutritional deficiency. Yes, I know there are people who have raised their dogs vegetarian and apparently, they thrived. That’s the story.
I believe animals are animals (my dog’s actually a person, but generally speaking) and my personal philosophy is to respect their natural diet as much as possible. To each their own. I think that’s great if you can find a way to safely and beneficially give your dog his and your own ideal diet. But since I’m not that crafty or skilled in the delicate balance of puppy nutrition… I bought these bones.
The package cost $4.24. (Okay, I threw away the package a couple weeks ago, but it was $4 and some change. I’m pretty sure it was 24 cents. I hope it doesn’t throw you off if I’m wrong.)
Every dog is different. Some people say their dog goes through one of these monsters every day– and maybe someday my dog will reach that distinctive group of canines. (I’m sure that’s his goal and I just can’t understand it every time he’s tried to convey it to me verbally.)
But for now, one bone lasts him a good two to three weeks. The bully sticks I used to buy (fun fact I learned at the dog park: they’re bull penis– and not coincidentally, also my dog’s hands-down favorite thing to chew. I’m so glad my son is growing up in such a liberal country) cost like $5 a week, at the rate he was going.
That’s not astronomical, but that’s $20 a month I could put towards his Christmas gift (a baby orangutan). Plus, he was kind of addicted to them, and they stunk up the entire room. In fact, I’m pretty sure my sister banned them from hers after one got particularly potent-smelling. In hindsight, I think it was because Blue chewed on something dead– and then used the bully stick to clean his teeth, but… It’s a moot point.
What I love about these bones is not only that they’re cost-effective, they’re also fresh, natural, and actually have some sort of nutritive value with the marrow. When he can’t get any further into the bone by licking it with his eyes closed (or as Camila says, “making love to the bone”, but in her baby voice, so it’s more like “makin louze to de bouwne”), I do what someone told me they do (which makes me slightly tingly in the legs as I write– I get phantom ghost pains when I think of it) and push the rest of the marrow through to either end with a knife. That reignites his interest, and I repeat until it’s gone.
These bones are his hands-down favorite thing to chew. I have a basket of much more expensive and colorful toys that he isn’t nearly as interested in. Oh right, they’re color blind…
As it stands, his polar bear stuffed animal that I stole from my sister and his real bone that are his favorite things in the world. (What a cheap date.) I bought a huge cooked bone from a tractor supply company and he basically just ate the coating and now doesn’t really care about it.
He’s also not that into the squeak toys I went out on a limb and bought because I was dying to see him chew on a rainbow fuzzy guy with glasses (when I brought it home, Camilla exclaimed that she had been eyeing that same toy for him for a month). And a crazy little Scottie came over and ate his entire dental hedgehog toy that’s supposed to last like, one year– in less than two minutes. Blue wasn’t that into it anyway. The more expensive evolved raw-hide type bones (not actual raw hide) I bought for him were gone in a day or two. And he refuses to work hard enough to get his food from the food puzzle I bought.
The antlers are a great idea, but so far my dog just doesn’t love them. I do like that they’re vegetarian, and the price is worth it if they last as long as I hear that they do. But if your dog won’t eat them, they’re kind of useless no matter how many other pro’s they boast. So for now, I’ve got $40 of bones (that’ll get you two of them) hanging out in my living room. Is that an invitation for a robbery?
So… I just wanted to put the word out there: there are $2 bones that your dog will really love (did I mention my parent’s 9 pound little diva of a dog loved licking this 2 pound bone?), will keep them busy, are totally natural and you can buy them on your regular grocery trip.
They keep well in the freezer. And I know this may sound gross, but I didn’t refrigerate mine once I brought it out. It didn’t stink and it didn’t make him sick.
It’s his go-to thing. It totally occupies him so I can hang out and write life-changing blog posts such as this (so really, it’s like the Mother Theresa of dog toys).
Sometimes I call it my babysitter. Just don’t tell the parents I’ve been sitting for all these years that they could have just gone to the meat isle…