I've decided to try giving Bailey a marrow bone to help with cleaning his teeth after reading some old posts on this forum. I read that I should only start out allowing him to chew it for about 10-20 minutes. My question is what I do with the bone after this period. Do you save them and freeze them even though they've already been chewed on, or do you just throw them away?
Anything else I should know before I try this out?
Depends if there's anything other than just the bone part left. If there is, I refreeze. If not (or if it is very little) then I just toss it. Or let her just keep it at that point. Piper has never had any trouble with them, so she just gets them until she feels like she's done with it. If it was a larger one, then it might get refrozen. She demolishes the little ones.
I usually only let Henry have his frozen for 10 minutes at a time... anything longer than that and he gets diarrhea from too much marrow. So, I just put it back into a Ziploc freezer bag and pop it back into the freezer until the next chew.
Champ and Buddy are allowed to keep their marrow bones. Once they are empty, I usually toss them. When the living room looks like a boneyard, I gather up those that still have marrow in them and put them in a bag. The reason they still have marrow is because they are too long for the boys to reach the center, so I am going to have an inch or so sawed off each end. Then I will give them the bones back, one at a time, and they will think they're getting new bones!
It is a good idea to limit the amount of time they are allowed to chew on them when feeding for the first time. The marrow is very rich so expect a loose poop or two afterwards. Gradually however, they will be able to handle the richness and you can work up to the point where they can chew the whole thing. Also, make sure you have a good 'LEAVE IT!' command -- Bailey may be reluctant to give up his prize!
When my guys get marrow bones I let them chew it for as long as they want. So, I don't refreeze. Then I toss them out into the backyard and they usually continue to gnaw on them for a week or so. After are done with them completely they get chucked in the trash.
We tried the marrow bones but they seemed too hard -- almost like iron pipes -- to interest Puff in gnawing on them so we've used beef knuckle bones for the last four or five years.
Our knuckle bones are frozen and I have our butcher shop saw them in two. Puff gets one of those halves once a week (defrosted, not cooked).
Perhaps your knuckle bones will be different but the ones we get have a lot of fat still around them. I trim off as much of that as I can.
Also, within the cartilage are some smaller, coin sized bones and, since these could be chewed and easily swallowed, I discard them to avoid possible choking or GI tract obstructions.
Some parts of the bone are soft enough that Puff can grind them down -- sort of like sandstone. She spends hours gnawing and grinding away. From time to time, she'll break off a small part and chew on that. When I find that's happened, I rescue the small piece and toss it away (to Puff's great disgust).
Puff swallows enough of the "bone dust" she creates ("bd" = as sawdust is to wood) that her stools are a pastel tan and almost rock hard for her next several poops.
Other parts of the knuckle bone are like iron, particularly one that looks like the ball of a car's trailer hitch, but a few other parts, too. Puff doesn't show any interest in those.
Since Labs differ quite a bit from one another, there'll be some Labs that love the harder leg or shin or marrow bone while others, like Puff, will prefer the knuckle bones.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]