Food Guidelines

Help! My Dog Ate a Chicken Bone, What Should I Do?


You were watching the big game on TV when you got distracted long enough for your dog, Buddy, to steal the bones of every yummy chicken wing sitting on your table. After a family fried chicken dinner, the kids scraped their plates into the trash can, but someone didn’t replace the lid tightly and Buddy couldn’t resist. Or, perhaps someone had a picnic earlier and left behind a chicken bone that Buddy sniffed out and scarfed down during your evening walk.

Yes, we’ve all been there. Aren’t dogs inherently built to eat and digest steak, chicken, ham or rib bones? Well, not exactly. But, before you rush Buddy off to the clinic, here are a few things to consider. Although dogs and bones have always gone together, it’s cooked bones – not raw – that can be dangerous.

Raw bones – yes, even raw chicken bones – are actually quite beneficial for dogs. In addition to providing calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals and nutrients, they stimulate the production of saliva enzymes that keep teeth and gums clean and healthy, and are an excellent way to provide both mental and physical stimulation, preventing boredom or bad behavior. Remember to always supervise your dog while he’s chewing.

Cooked bones, on the other hand, unless they have been labeled as safe for dogs, should be avoided. Yes, even that rib bone your dog’s been salivating over while you ate dinner should go safely into the trash or compost pile and not into your dog’s bowl. Cooked bones become dry and brittle. When chewed by your dog, cooked bones can crack and splinter leading to painful cuts to the mouth and gums, or, worse, can lead to choking, internal injuries, punctured organs, and death.

Still, despite your best efforts, your dog eats a cooked bone. What should you do?

1.When Buddy gets hold of the cooked bones. Because cooked bones can splinter in a dog’s mouth, throat, and digestive linings; thus, causing serious injury and even death, it is very important that you first make sure that right after your pooch has gotten hold of the bones, he is not choking on them.  You will know that the bones have been lodged in your dog’s throat if he starts to gag, wretch, vomit, drink excessively, lick his lips, suddenly shows an anxious pacing, or has difficulty sitting down comfortably.

2. When Buddy has already ingested the bones. If your dog has already eaten the forbidden food and does not appear to be choking or experiencing any kind of distress, it is likely that he will be fine. Nevertheless, it is essential that you remain vigilant about his condition over the next few days. Ensure that he is able to pass the bones through his stool. You can try giving your pooch something soft such as white bread to serve as a cushion in his stomach. This way, delicate digestive lining can be protected from being scratched by the bones’ jagged edges.

Because perforation of organs is a real threat whenever sharp objects are ingested by your pet, it is imperative that you pay attention to possible internal bleeding. For the next 12 to 72 hours, be alert for signs of bloody stool, difficulty defecating, stomach swelling, vomiting, nervous or anxious behavior, or any other form of abdominal discomfort. If you see your dog exhibiting any one of these symptoms, immediately seek out medical attention. If after 72 hours you still haven’t found any bone fragments in his stool, have your dog examined by a vet.

3. Learn from the experience. Prevention is always better than a cure. The best thing you can do after this frightening incident is to learn from it and ensure that it does not ever happen again. Take precautionary measures by keeping a better eye on Buddy, purchasing a more dog-safe trash can, and ensuring that table scraps are not in any accessible place to your pooch.



  1. Vlad Carlsson

    Mar 11, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    My dog almost choked on a cooked chicken bone from a fried chicken wing. I've NEVER, EVER been so scared in my entire life… she started to gag, wretch and she could barely stand up… so I started hitting her in the back of the neck with short palm hits and she finally puked the bone. I need to take her to a vet right away just to be sure, she's going to be 13 years old this summer (Labrador) and I don't know what I would do without her, I've had her since she was just 3 weeks old 🙁 I'm NEVER, EVER, IN MY ENTIRE LIFE letting her eat chicken bones (even tho, she ate lots before), I never knew until now that you're not supposed to give cooked bones to dogs, no one ever told me 🙁 Thankfully I found this post and now I know how to prevent it 🙁 Thanks!

  2. Tina

    Feb 26, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Thank you everyone for all the comments. Some scared me and others gave me hope. My kelpie stole entire cooked chicken carcass with the stuffing still in it.from indoor bin 5 days ago. It was 2 in the morning. I woke up cos My other kelpie was growling at her brother for getting in bin. She is always telling him off. I found that he had eaten EVERY bone from one chicken. Freaked out and gave him half a roll bread and stayed awake to see if ok. He seemed fine. Mext day ok too. Its been 72 hrs now and he has been fine. I am wondering if the stuffing cushioned the sharp bones on their way through. I will never know. I also prayed continually to archangel raphael to heal my dog NOW. Thank heavensy kelpie is ok now.

  3. Mary

    Oct 16, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    I had a dog that ate a cooked chicken bone. I called my vet and he told me to mash up a banana and give it to him, then monitor for bleeding, etc.

    The banana coated everything and the chicken bone remains slid smoothly out by late the next day!

  4. Wesley

    Feb 26, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    You guys have to relax! Dogs have eaten chicken bones since the dawn of chickens. My dog Puddles which is a Collie lived on nothing but chicken bones and puppy chow out in the country. My dad said if she didn’t eat chicken sometimes she wouldn’t eat nothing at all. Quit buying into this garbage. Dogs bodies are like ours. We use what we have to survive.

    • T

      Jun 11, 2016 at 11:47 pm

      It is cooked chicken bones that are bad. Splintering occurs and can cause perforation of the bowels and intestines. Also marrow does not dissolve on gastric acid and can sit in the stomach or intestines. Again this is cooked chicken bones.

  5. Anonymouse

    Feb 23, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    My dog ate a chicken wing bone with hot sauce on it I gave him bread hes not gaging or anything but I’m really scared he is just pup

  6. Jasmine

    Feb 23, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    My Toy Puddle ate about 20 chicken wing bones. She passed after 2 weeks in 2014. Had her since I was little.

  7. Alex

    Dec 31, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    My dog ate a chicken bone from dominoes and after two days she started gagging and vomiting and won’t stop I am very scared and can’t take her to a vet I need to do something ASAP at home plz

    • Bo allen

      Dec 31, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      hello my toy poodle did the same I live in middle of nowhere and can’t get to vet till next week.shes eating little and just acting a little different but throwing up slime with a little so scared,did u ever find out what to do for ur pup.please let me know asap

    • Mica

      Feb 18, 2017 at 2:27 pm

      Hi, how did everything turn out?

  8. Carter

    Aug 16, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    My Jack Russel Terrier, Apollo, just swallowed a kfc chicken bone what should I do???

  9. Connie Gradert

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    My dog Max chomped down some chicken breasts & thigh bones today. I didn’t see them near the cornfield. I fed him a few hours later and I gave him some bread. I know he chewed them and didn’t just swallow I worry if this makes it worse. Does anyone know if it’s worse the bones in small pieces?

  10. Lily

    May 4, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    My pup ate a wing he found on the ground and it looked spicy……i dont want to tell my mom becasue she will get mad. what can i do for my pup. he didnt choke on it but he has a sensitive tummy, HELP!

    • nonya

      Apr 18, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      My dog Bella ate a chicken bone and did nothing,but she is my little girl who I cry and cuddle with and I don’t want to lose her because my baby brother feed her a STUPID CHICKEN BONE!!!!!!!

  11. samantha

    Apr 17, 2015 at 12:58 am

    I have a 1 yr old he is acting strange we think he may have eat a chicken bone or something in the garbage he shouldnt have. My partner thinks he may just be going crazy for the female a couple doors down. But i am convinced thats not the case he wont move from my side and is whining alot acting like he has to go outside but when he dose he only goes pee. His tummy is a bit harder then normal but doesnt really seem to bother him when i rub or touch it. Does anyone have a comment or imput should i be this freaked out should i call a vet? Or am i just being over protective and way over reacting???

  12. lisa

    Feb 18, 2015 at 11:32 am

    My three year old got into chicken bones while I was at school. He started acting really weird last night. He won’t let anyone but me touch him, won’t let you touch his tail or stomach, keeps whining like he has to go out but when you take him out he won’t do anything, he’s pacing and didn’t eat as much as he usually does yesterday. I don’t know what to do other than call a vet, I’m scared that I’m gonna lose him. Has anyone had this happen or something and can give me advice? He looked so much worse this morning 🙁

  13. Sheila Goff

    Feb 7, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    My 6 1/2 lb poodle ate a chichen leg and back we think. Got in the trash when I was at the store. One hour and a half ago. Can’t find any part of bones. She is acting quiet and fairly normal. What do you think. I am watching her as you suggested..

  14. Sheila Borton

    Oct 16, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    My poor buddy Ginger is 12 years old,and accidentally swallowed a small turkey bone from Thanksgiving dinner.he has been gagging a lot and pacing a lot.He does eat and drink water okay,but I can feel the bone lodged in his throat.This worrys me.I am so scared for my little guy.He has been like this for a few days now.He does not yelp or cry when it is bothering him.But i do need some good advice on what should I do for him with out going to see an animal doctor.Because that can cost me a lot of money that I do not have to fix my little guy.So any good suggestions or home remedies that I can use to help him.

    • JR

      Dec 20, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      You need to contact a doctor who can help him instead of letting the poor helpless creature suffer. Look for local animal shelters who can help like SNAP (spay and neuter program) which are cheaper.

  15. Anon

    Oct 6, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    My 1 month old puppy ate a chicken bone. He first choking, then crying then he’s uneasy, walking like drunk. I don’t know what to do. Im trying to take it out, but it’s useless because he’s just resisting and crying. Then suddenly he stop and just sit. it’s like he’s back to normal. But i still want to make sure. Its 4am and no vet is open at this time. What should i do? He’s just a puppy 🙁

  16. Audrey Gilliam

    Aug 28, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    My dog, Murphy, just ate four chicken wing bones when I got back from the bathroom. I have no clue what to do. He isn’t doing anything different or choking.. WHAT DO I DO? Anyone?

    • Sarah

      Dec 4, 2014 at 7:52 am

      Well, if hes not choking or showing any odd behaviour, feed him white bread. It provides as a cusion for his stomache and intestines, so i reccommend you do this daily until he starts showing bones in his feces, until he stops.
      if at any ppint during this he has blood in his feces, or is pacing, a swollen stomach, or similar signs of something awful, take him to an animal hospital immediately.
      Also, if after 72 hours of swallowing the bones, if he hasn’t passed them yet, take him to a vet to be examined

  17. Scott

    Jun 3, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    It appears that my dog got ahold of 1 bone and it was small but he was drinking a little bit but was choking a little bit before but he is doing it a lot toe bit I do not know what to do

  18. Shaila morris

    May 19, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    My dog has eaten a cook chiking bone and we have no I dear
    What to do.she keeps drinking and were verry worried a bout
    Her it is verry difficult to tell if she’s all right or no we don’t know if she going
    To die or do we need to take her to the vets

  19. Jackie

    Apr 4, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    My 11 yr old coonhound at 5 cooked chicken legs. It happened on Wednesday, it is now Friday. He had a bowel movement Thursday morning and Thursday night, but nothing today yet.

  20. Nicolasa

    Mar 30, 2014 at 11:05 am

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