Have you ever wondered what to do if your dog ate chicken bones? Many don’t know that there is much more than just a stomach upset to worry about. Most vets will advise against giving dogs chicken bones for safety.
My dog ate chicken bones what do I do?
Most of the time, dogs can eat chicken bones and be completely fine. The bone will be broken down by the digestive acids and passed via the bowels without causing any internal damage.
If your dog ate a chicken bone and it has lodged in the upper airway, this will obstruct your dog’s ability to breathe. This will show as the following symptoms:
- Coughing or gagging
- Jagged breaths
Check inside your dog’s mouth to see how far down the throat it has gotten stuck. If you can see the bone and can get a grip on it without pushing it further down, you can attempt to pull the bone out. Take your dog to the vet immediately if you cannot see the bone or if it is too far down to get hold of.
The chicken bone may become lodged in the esophagus, in which case you will not be able to see it. You should look for:
- Gagging or retching
- Lack of appetite
A blocked esophagus will be very uncomfortable and your dog will not be able to eat. They may appear lethargic or agitated. You should get your dog checked by a vet as soon as possible.
How long after eating chicken bones would a dog get sick?
If your dog has eaten chicken bones and is showing signs of illness, be aware that it can take as long as 36 hours for the symptoms to appear. If you notice any signs of illness in your dog after eating chicken, such as vomiting or diarrhea, take your dog to the vet immediately.
My dog ate chicken bones and has diarrhea
If your dog ate chicken bones, watch him closely for signs of blood in his diarrhea. If you see blood, or if his diarrhea isn’t improving on its own over the next few days, take him to the vet for an examination.
Without treatment, he could get a blockage in his intestinal tract. If that happens, he’ll need emergency surgery to remove the obstruction.
Chicken bones are relatively brittle and splinter easily when chewed. Small pieces can easily get lodged in your dog’s digestive tract, either causing an obstruction or perforating his intestines.
Look out for these symptoms:
- Diarrhea that doesn’t improve within 72 hours
- Blood in his stool
- Excessive vomiting or lethargy
Can dogs digest cooked chicken bones?
The general rule has always been “never feed your dog chicken bones”.
When the bone is exposed to high temperatures, it dries out and will easily splinter. If your dog were to eat a cooked chicken bone, those tiny, sharp pieces of bone could cause serious internal injury or lodge in your dog’s throat.
This puts his entire digestive tract at risk of cuts and internal bleeding, from his throat right through to his bowels. Swallowing splintered chicken bone can be fatal for your dog if they do not receive medical treatment quickly.
The only option to fix internal bleeding is an invasive surgery, which no dog owner wants to put their dog through. So is there a way of feeding your dog chicken bones safely?
What happens if a dog eats raw chicken bones?
Dogs are omnivores, which means they need both meat and vegetation to be healthy. Before dogs were domesticated, they would hunt prey animals, eating all parts including the bones and cartilage.
Raw chicken bones have a different texture and consistency to cooked bones. They are less likely to splinter into small pieces, however, they do still pose a choking hazard.
As a guide, you should not feed a dog a chicken bone that is just small enough to swallow. Larger bones must be crunched so they are far less likely to get stuck in the dog’s esophagus. Puppies are most at risk of obstructions or blocked airways due to their small size.
To be safe, you should always supervise your dog while they eat raw chicken bone so you can react quickly if there is a problem. Puppies can safely chew on large raw meaty bones as a treat or when they are teething, but again you should supervise them.
Raw chicken bones can carry bacteria such as salmonella, so it is important that you thoroughly wash all bones and only feed fresh chicken bones to your dog.