Tuesday Topics #34 - Birthday Bone

cabana sitting in big green field with an open mouthed smileLittle Miss Cabana is 2-years old today! Almost a year ago, when Cabana was career changed, and we were trying to decide whether to keep her or have her placed by Guide Dogs with another family, I was SO unsure about what to do. I KNEW Cabana would be a great dog when she matured. But since most people say Labs don't outgrow their puppyhood until about 4 years of age, I thought, wow, can I deal with Cabana being "too much dog" for the next THREE years?

close up of cabana in a field, she is looking a bit to the side, looking very poised and regalBut at 2, Cabana has already matured into a GREAT dog. I really can't imagine having a better dog or loving her any more than we do. She still has some dog distraction, but we can now walk her in a flat collar 99% of the time (I still use a training collar at puppy meetings). Sure, she likes to eat some nasty things (i.e. dog vomit, cat poop, goose poop), but is there a dog out there that doesn't? At the dog park, Cabana is known by humans and dogs alike as one of the friendliest, happiest dogs around. She can charm the grumpiest old dogs and embody a chew toy for exuberant puppies. She is always calm and considerate in the house, but she has plenty of effervescence and spunky personality outdoors.

So how do we celebrate this special dog today? I thought about baking her a cake, giving extra kibble, going on a special outing. But then, I wondered if those things were too humanizing. I tried to think like a dog--what would Cabana the Dog most like? Probably the best birthday present I can think of for Cabana is a big meaty bone. Since all of my human family members are vegetarian, Cabana has NEVER had a big hunk of real meat--no meat table scraps, no pieces that fall off the barbecue, no chicken morsel from a chicken salad sandwich. And the only bones she's ever had are clean, sterilized bones (not even with any filling).

But what kind of bone do I buy her that will be totally safe? I looked for a long time at the smoked bones in the pet store, but I worried they might not be safe. Everything I've read says that cooked bones are dangerous. Isn't smoked the same as cooked? So do I just buy a big raw bone from the butcher at the supermarket? I have no idea how much to buy, what kind to buy, and how long it's okay to let Cabana chew on it. Or should I just give up on the meaty bone idea and give her some cooked hamburger meat?

Hound Girl  – (October 5, 2010 at 7:31 AM)  

Happy Birthday to Cabana!!!
Im still waiting for haylie to calm all the way down - January she will be 4 and im hoping she will fully settle down :)

im with you on the bown dilema as I call it. Im too nervous for the raw and then nervous about smoked cause they say its the same as cooked!

What I do is make a meatloaf typr of thing for mine on their birthday and they get a slice every meal till its gone and I add cheese on it cause that is like crack to them :)

Lacey  – (October 5, 2010 at 7:34 AM)  

Raw bones are very safe. I've heard that weight bearing bones are more likely to break a dogs teeth. I give them to my dogs anyways because they are the biggest bones and there is no danger of them chewing it down to small pieces and choking when I leave them with it unsupervised for hours- which it is safe to do. I use beef. You can do venision too. Just make sure to put her on a hard surface floor or put something over the carpet to keep it clean.

There's nothing wrong with the hamburger either though, though I would give it to my dogs raw.

Happy Birthday Cabana! What a fun milestone!

Katrin  – (October 5, 2010 at 7:36 AM)  

Ok in terms of bones, any weight bearing bone from a cow is going to be too hard for her to chew without risking cracking a tooth. You can just get a raw marrow soup bone from the butcher department at the supermarket, but again those are weight bearing bones from the cow so be careful about her teeth. For dogs that are not allergic to chicken, I would just toss her a raw chicken wing or leg or quarter and let her go to town on that. Chicken bones, when not cooked, are very soft so little risk to your dog's teeth other than just helping clean them and make them nice and shiny! :-) Happy birthday to Cabana!

Becky  – (October 5, 2010 at 8:28 AM)  

Happy Birthday, Cabana. What a wonderful dog you are and so loved. Your humanizing comment struck a cord! With Pantera I used to spend quite a bit of time baking sugar cookies to take to the office to celebrate her birthday. While it did lend to some education about guide dogs (worked at a large clinic at the time), it wasn't necessarily what Pantera would of liked for her special day. Cricket loves time and cuddles and an extra simple treat. How fun that you and Cabana celebrate your birthdays close!

GDB Puppy Sitter :)  – (October 5, 2010 at 8:41 AM)  

I have no suggestions in the bone department but want to wish Cabana a VERY Happy 2nd Birthday!! :)

OSU 98  – (October 5, 2010 at 9:48 AM)  

Happy birthday Cabana!

Why is she such a great dog? Um, hello, cuz she has a great dog mom and family! What a girl.

Ace is into his elk antlers. We will have to get a new one at one of our next agility trials. For convenience purposes, I am sure some hamburger mixed in with her food might do the trick. Or..my puppies always love empty ice cream cones. :)

Lauren, Spike and Clyde  – (October 5, 2010 at 12:56 PM)  

Happy birthday Cabana!

I really don't know much about bones for dogs, so not much help there. :)

JackDaddy  – (October 5, 2010 at 1:20 PM)  

Happy Two Birthday and many many more!!

Alison  – (October 5, 2010 at 3:05 PM)  

I've been reading your blog since Cabana was a puppy but I don't think I've ever commented -- maybe that classifies me as a lurker? Anyway, I am American but I have lived in New Zealand for six years and I raise guide dog puppies here. While the training and end goal is very similar to GDB (I raised for them when I was a teenager), a major difference here is that we can "free run" our dogs off lead anywhere we want to -- dog park, beach, you name it. We can also let them play with any toy they want -- soft toys, nylabones, squeaky toys, kongs, etc. AND, we are ENCOURAGED to give them bones. As in RAW bones. I had never done that until I moved here. I often get cannon bones for my dogs (and the buther can cut them down of you don't want a huge dinosaur sized bone in your yard for all of enternity). I also give my dogs raw veal bones because they are small and they can eat them in one go which cuts down on flies, etc. The dogs love their raw bones and but I would recommend that if you give one to Cabana, you only let her chew on it for about 30 minutes at a time and then monitor her "output" to make sure she's not getting diarrhoea (it's common since the marrow is so rich). You can wrap the bone up and store it in the freezer.

Good luck!

Kari in WeHo  – (October 5, 2010 at 4:24 PM)  



Maddie and Jorinda  – (October 5, 2010 at 4:44 PM)  

Happy Birthday Cabana!

Sorry, I don't have an bone suggestions! But I can't believe Cabana has been CC'd for almost a year! Have you thought any more about raising another puppy? I'm sure you know that GDB really needs raisers right now!:)

Carrie and Waffle  – (October 5, 2010 at 8:06 PM)  

Happy birthday to you
happy birthday to you
happy birthday dear dear Cabana
happy birthday to YOU!

what a big girl, funny how all the 'problems' that they are cc'd for seem to disappear with age.

As for the bones, we used to give our pet beef knuckle bones that we boiled. We never gave her chicken bones because we were worried about them splitting and getting stuck in her throat.

We've skipped the whole meat thing too. Except for those sausage things from Natural Balance. Maybe some cooked liver, Waffle thinks her liver treats are food of the goods.

Lauren and Don  – (October 5, 2010 at 11:22 PM)  

Happy Birthday Cabana!! Enjoy your special treat!

lavender girl  – (October 7, 2010 at 4:11 PM)  

I gave Bella a cooked bone and she was sick for two days...really sick...no more bones for her...she is happy with a milk bone

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