Whether bones are safe to give to dogs is debated among veterinary professionals, but the general consensus is that both raw and cooked bones present hazards to dogs. Cooked bones are more likely to fall apart, increasing the risk of injury to the dog, and even raw bones may splinter and chip.
If the bone splinters or chips, it can cause various issues for dogs. Mouth injuries are possible if the splinters perforate or get stuck in the gums or tongue, and it's also possible for the dog to break a tooth. If the splinters make it into the digestive tract, they can cause problems, including trouble breathing, an intestinal blockage or even a bacterial infection from the bone shards, perforating the intestines.
An acceptable alternative to providing real bones that still fulfills the dog's desire to chew is high-quality dental bones, specifically designed for chewing. Dental bones are different than the plastic and nylon bones commonly sold in pet stores because they are designed to break down and be completely consumed by the dog. Even with these bones, it's important to ensure that the bone is the right size for the pet and that the dog is able to safely chew. Breeds like boxers and pugs may not have the right jaw structure to safely consume any bones at all.