Are Milk Bones Bad for Dogs?

are milk bones bad for dogs

Are milk bones bad for dogs? If you are wondering about the ingredients in milk bones, then this guide is for you.

Milk bones are a controversial subject among vets. Many vets believe that these dog treats contain carcinogenic ingredients.

Moreover, many brands of milk bones also have real milk.

Some dogs could be lactose intolerant and milk-based treats could cause gastric upsets and skin issues, to say the least.

Let us find out in detail whether milk bones are bad for dogs and also discuss what you can give your pets as treats instead.

Just in case you are in a hurry, click on our short summary below to view our Top 5 reviewed products for the best milk bone treats for dogs as well as some great alternatives to them:

  1. Milk Bone Macro Dog Treats
  2. Milk Bone Farmer's Medley Grain Free Dog Treats
  3. Milk Bone Soft & Chewy Dog Treats
  4. Rachel Ray Nutrish Real Meat Dog Treats
  5. Stewart Freeze Dried Treats for Dogs
  6. Wholesome Pride Sweet Potato Vegan Gluten-Free Dog Treats

Are Milk Bones Bad for Dogs?

Many dogs go bananas for milk bones. They love them so much, possibly more than life itself!

This naturally makes their humans wonder: am I doing it right by my dog by feeding it milk bones?

Let us try and break it down for you:

1. Milk Bone and the BHA Scare

Recently, there were some reports and videos about milk bones containing BHA.

BHA is a preservative which prevents these treats from turning rancid and developing a stale odor.

In lab animals, BHA is known to have caused cancer.

As a result, many vets caution against feeding too many milk bones to pets.

Having said this, the brand (F.H Bennet which has been making milk bones since the 1900s) reassures us that they use the BHA preservative in minuscule quantities.

Bottom-line: milk bone treats, in small quantities, should not really cause an issue in your pet.

(We have discussed later exactly how many milk bones per day are okay for your pet).

2. They contain sugar

Milk bones sometimes contain sugar to enhance their taste and flavors.

If you are giving your pet a bones to clean their teeth, then you need to step back a bit.

Sugar is not good for your pet’s teeth. It could even inflict damage on your pet’s pancreas.

Granted that the texture and hardness of the bones can help remove accumulated plaque and tartar on your pet’s teeth but the sugar content in the bones negates all that.

Again, we reiterate doing things in moderation.

Small number of milk bone treats should be okay for your pet.

They won’t cause a spike in their blood sugar nor will they harm your pet’s teeth.

3. They can cause weight gain in your pet

Too much of anything is harmful: this applies to humans and pets as well.

If you keep giving your pet too many milk bone treats, its sugar and oils can quickly add up to cause obesity in your pet.

If your vet has asked you to place your pet on a diet, then one of the first things you might want to consider is cutting back on all kinds of treats, especially milk bones.

4. They contain some unfavorable and questionable ingredients

Some varieties and brans of milk bones are known to contain embalming fluids.

We already mentioned BHA – a harmful carcinogenic preservative.

Then there are milk bones that contain wheat, corn, milk, and soy.

Some also contain bone meals and byproducts which can be difficult to digest for sensitive dogs.

Although not all dogs are sensitive to the said ingredients, some are known to suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, and skin allergies from eating too many milk bones.

If your pet has a known food allergy or is lactose intolerant, then it is best to steer clear of certain dog treats and milk bones are one of them.

So, is everything bad when it comes to milk bones?

Not necessarily.

Milk bones might be healthier than most things your dog could be eating!

Young dogs often pick up objectionable stuff from outside and these could include horrible things like sticks, stones, other dogs’ poop, cooked bones from the trash cans, etc.

When a puppy is teething, it might even eat your furniture, your slippers, and even your walls!

A milk bone is definitely a better and far healthier compared to all these things.

Gnawing on milk bone treats can satisfy your pet’s need to chew when its gums are sore and sensitive during the teething phase.

Again, as a pet parent, you must control the number of treats you offer.

They can quickly lead to weight gain and many sensitive pets could have allergic reactions to the wheat in the milk bone.

Moreover, they could cause your pet to feel full and it might ignore its main meals, which is never a good thing for a developing dog.

So keep things in moderation and when in doubt consult a vet whether milk bones are good for your pet.

Also Read: Best Toys for Teething Kittens

How many Milk Bones per Day are Too many?

As stated before, everything in moderation is the best for your pets.

The same goes for milk bones.

Depending on your dog’s age and activity levels, you can safely give one milk bone treat per day – this quantity also depends on the size of the treat.

Milk bones come in small, medium, and large sizes.

You can choose the size based on your pet’s breed. In general, smaller treats for small dogs and larger ones for the larger dogs.

Milk bone treats are especially handy while training puppies.

In such cases, we recommend breaking them into smaller pieces otherwise your pet will be too full to eat its main meals.

Some clever dog parents break larger milk bones in halves or quarters and hide them in their pet’s Kong toys.

This helps satisfy their pet’s cravings while also keeping it mentally stimulated as they try to open the toys.

Do Milk Bones Clean Dogs Teeth?

Milk bones in the form of brushing type chew treat like Milk-Bone Original Dental Dog Treats can clean your pet’s teeth. They contain minerals and vitamins and their special texture helps reduce tartar and plaque.

Are milk bones bad for dogs

Their unique shape of these milk bones reaches the back of your pet’s mouth to clean the gum line and teeth behind.

The nubs and ridges present on these treats eliminate accumulated food bits and bacteria.

This gives your pets a fresh breath and clean, shiny teeth.

Many pet parents believe that these ‘brushing’ milk-bone treats can be an alternative to daily teeth brushing.

However, we strongly urge you to consult your vet whether this is the right way to go about things.

No treats can be alternative to good weekly (or daily!) brushing with enzymatic toothpaste such as Petrodex Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste and dog-toothbrushes.

Besides, you need to be aware of the sugar content in the said treats. Sugar can be harmful to your pet in more than one way.

Some dogs can also be allergic to the ingredients in the treats, so exercise caution and use them in moderation.

Best Milk Bone Treats – 2022 Top Picks

Are milk bones bad for dogs

Our main reasons for selecting these milk-bone dog treats as our number one choice:

One: They are perfectly sized for all dog breeds and contain only 10 calories per treat!

So you need not worry about weight gain in your pets.

Two: They are wholesome and tasty, which means your dog will love its flavor and you will feel good about giving them to your pet. There is real bone marrow meat on the inside which your pet will love!

Three: You can break them up into smaller treats while training.

Four: Their classic crunchy texture helps remove plaque and also fulfills your pet’s natural biting and chewing instinct.

Five: Milk-Bone Macro Dog Treats’ high-calcium content is good for your pet’s bones and teeth.

Milk-Bone MaroSnacks Dog Treats, Beef, 40 Ounce with Real Bone Marrow and Calcium
  • Contains one (1) 40 ounce package of small dog treats with real bone marrow
  • The dog biscuit shell encases a real bone marrow center
  • Crunchy on the outside and meaty on the inside, our MaroSnacks dog snacks are a satisfying combo of texture and mouthwatering flavor
  • Savory treats with calcium, perfect for dogs of all sizes
  • Baked with love in Buffalo, New York, USA, with colors from natural ingredients only
Are milk bones bad for dogs

Milk bone Farmer’s Medley treats are grain-free in case your pet is allergic to grains or you want to keep your pet’s grain-intake minimal.

These delicious treats contain real scoured lamb with freshly-sourced veggies.

There are just 26 calories per piece and they are also free from corn, soy, wheat, fillers, etc. which some pets are allergic to.

Milk-Bone Farmer’s Medley treats are oven-baked so you can easily break them into smaller pieces to use during training.

Milk-Bone Farmer's Medley Dog Treats, Lamb & Spring Vegetables, 12 Ounces (Pack of 4), Grain Free
  • Contains (4) 12 Ounce Bags Of Grain Free Dog Treats
  • Made with real USA-sourced lamb as the #1 ingredient
  • No fillers, No Wheat, No corn, No artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Baked Biscuits With Lamb & Spring Vegetables
  • Resealable packaging to preserve freshness
Are milk bones bad for dogs

In case your pet does not have strong teeth to gnaw on the harder Milk-Bones, this can be a great option for you.

These milk bones are soft and many young pups that are teething as well as older dogs with dental issues are known to love them.

You can also break them into smaller pieces while training your pup.

They contain real meat and each piece has just 24 calories.

Milk-Bone Soft & Chewy Dog Treats, Chicken Recipe, 25 Ounce
  • Contains (1) 25-ounce containers of Milk-Bone Soft and Chewy Chicken Recipe With Chicken Breast dog treats
  • Soft and chewy dog treats made with real chicken breast
  • Fortified with 12 vitamins and minerals
  • Great for dogs of all sizes
  • Loved since 1908

Healthy Alternatives to Milk Bones – 2022 Top Picks

Are milk bones bad for dogs

Rachel Ray Nutrish is tasty real meatball with chicken, beef, and bacon.

You can easily break these soft treats into smaller pieces.

All ingredients are sourced from USA farms and there is real US-farm raised beef in these delicious morsels.

No grains, fillers, and preservatives make it an excellent choice for sensitive dogs.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Meatball Morsels Real Meat Dog Treats, Beef, Chicken & Bacon Recipe, 3 Ounces (Pack of 8), Grain Free
  • Contains (8) 3 Ounce Bags of Dog Treats (packaging may vary)
  • Tasty real meat treats for dogs
  • Soft treats are easy to break into smaller pieces
  • Grain-free recipe with no artificial flavors or meat by-products
  • Safely cooked in the USA with no ingredients from China
Are milk bones bad for dogs

Steward Freeze dried dog treats are made with human-grade, certified organic, farm-raised meats like chicken liver which dogs crave.

They use a special freeze-drying process that preserves nutrition in each piece.

Stewart dog treats will provide your pet with protein, vitamin B12, and taurine which dogs require for optimal health and well-being.

You will love the fact that these delicious and wholesome dog treats are free from soy, corn, gluten, and fillers.

You can use them not just for treating and training your pet, but also as meal toppers to entice picky eaters to eat.

Stewart Freeze Dried Treats, 1.5 oz. (401702)
  • Single Ingredient Treats: Made from one simple ingredient: 100% pure chicken liver; these freeze-dried dog treats are gluten-free, grain-free and are packed with protein, vitamin D, and well-balanced amino acids to support strong muscle​s
  • A healthier option: Freeze-drying preserves the natural nutrients in the treats, making for lightweight, easily-stored treats
  • Nutrient-rich: Rich in Vitamins A and B, ensuring your best friend has healthy eyes
  • Versatile use: These multi use dog training treats can also serve as a meal topper - just sprinkle the leftover morsels onto their food once you reach the end of the tub
  • Perfect for training: Healthy dog products for small, medium, and large dogs; a lightweight, easy dog treat to break into small pieces for all types of dog training or enrichment activities, conveniently packaged in a resealable tub
Are milk bones bad for dogs

Sweet potatoes are nutritious, packed with antioxidants, are an excellent sources of fiber, and one of the healthiest vegan foods for dogs.

Wholesome Pride healthy vegan dog treats only contain sweet potatoes and that is all – no preservatives or flavors! There are just 39 calories per treat.

Being gluten-free, grain-free, and also free from corn, wheat, soy, and fillers, you can feed these delicious treats to dogs with sensitive tummies.

Your pet will love the delicious taste and chewy texture of these healthy dog treats.

Wholesome Pride Sweet Potato Chews 100% All-Natural Single Ingredient Dog Treats, 8 oz
  • All-natural, single-ingredient dog treats made with sweet potatoes and that’s it; minimally processed, so they vary in size, shape, and firmness
  • Part of a sustainability initiative to source and make treats out of aesthetically imperfect sweet potatoes
  • 100% natural, vegan, gluten-free, and grain-free treats have no artificial ingredients, fillers, or artificial preservatives, making them a great choice for pups with food allergies or sensitive bellies
  • Sweet potatoes with skins are a natural source of fiber and vegetable-based nutrients, making these natural dog treats as healthy as they are tasty
  • Multiple flavors and nutritious options to support your dog's health and wellbeing

What Dog Treats are Bad for Dogs?

Every dog deserves delicious tidbits and treats once in a while.

That is why, the market is flooded with dog treats in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Here are some treats you must steer clear from:

1. Treats with allergens

Do read the product label to find out what ingredients the treats contain.

Avoid treats with ingredients your pet may be allergic to: wheat, corn, soy, gluten, are some common allergens.

2. Wrong size for your pet

Always choose treats based on your pet’s size.

Most dogs like bone-shaped treats but problems can arise if your pet with powerful jaws tries to swallow the pieces whole.

Large soggy pieces can get wedged into the throat or cause intestinal blockages.

If your pet shows signs of breathing issues or discomfort after eating the treats, see your vet right away.

3. Rawhide chews

Rawhide chews also pose a risk of getting lodged into your pet’s throat or intestines.

While they are good to remove plaque and tartar, they have issues like being swallowed whole.

Also, rawhide comes from an animal. So you must find out what preservative is used to preserve the treat.

Some manufacturers use BHA and arsenic to preserve rawhide which can be dangerous and possible carcinogens as well.

4. Toxic ingredients

Avoid treats with avocados, citrus fruits, chocolate, dairy, onion, garlic, raisins, currants, salt, and sugar, etc. These are toxic to dogs although they make treats taste better.


Are milk bones bad for dogs – not always. As long as you feed them in moderation, there’s no reason why your pet shouldn’t enjoy them every now and then.

Look for healthy options in milk bones and other healthy treats: free from dairy, grains, wheat, BHA, arsenic, and other preservatives which are found in low-quality dog treats.

We recommend the Milk Bone Macro dog treats that contain calcium in the form of real bone marrow.

Each of these treats only contains 10 calories making it ideal for training without worrying about weight gain.

Their crunchy texture is also great for cleaning your pet’s teeth.

We hope our other recommendations help you as well.

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