Food Guidelines

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

chickenbones

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.

34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. arayah

    Jun 6, 2017 at 1:21 am

    My one year old English bulldog swallowed a cooked chicken bone about 2 inches long, he seems to be fine with no harmful symptoms. If it doesn't hurt him I know it probably will coming out!! I saw I should give him a banana..does this work?

    • Brandy Arnold

      Brandy Arnold

      Jun 6, 2017 at 9:27 am

      I've never heard the suggestion to give banana, but it certainly wouldn't hurt. Also, bread is recommended to help "cushion" the stomach and intestines. How long ago did he eat the bone? You'll want to watch closely for at least the next 72 hours for any unusual behavior – lethargy, pacing, licking or biting his back end, drinking or eating more or less than usual, etc. If everything seems normal (and, while cooked chicken bones are very risky, most often they're passed without issue) after a few days, you're probably in the clear.

  2. Mario

    May 13, 2017 at 8:37 am

    ALL YOU PEOPLE ARE PARANOID! MY DOG EATS BONES ALL THE TIME, THEY ARE DOGS PEOPLE! PEOPLE WHO TAKE A DOG TO THE VET FOR EVERYTHING ARE FOOLISH.. JUST CALM DOWN AND SMOKE A DAMN BLUE THE OR SOMMIN. DOGS EAT ANYTHING DAMN NEAR. UNLESS THE BONES HAD POISON ON IT THE DOG WILL BE FINE! SOME OF THESE COMMENTS KILL ME MAN. RELAX!

    • William

      May 23, 2017 at 1:48 am

      I was in the garage working Sunday afternoon around 12pm and came inside to find my 15 lb Havenese X Chihuahua had gotten into the garbage bag and ate my Costco deep friend chicken wing bones. He must had had 3-4 wing bones. My first reaction was to try to make him gag to throw it up but it didn't work. So I thought nothing of it. A few hours later he puked once. No biggie I thought. Fed him his dinner around 6. He ate it all no issues. Around 11pm he puked all his dinner up. In his puke was also the chicken wing bone fragments. Small tiny pieces. Most fragments were 1/2 cm or smaller. He also pooped at the same time. As well in his poop were fragments of the bones. Same sizing. Puked again around 2am and again and 4am, and pooped once more at 4am and same fragments of bone in the poop and puke.

      Being that today is Victoria Day holiday Monday, my usual vet was closed. Only thing open was Emergency Vets and he seemed to be in no pain or had any issues. From reading online, I went and bought some white bread, and fed him a slice of it to which he gobbled down around 9am. Also gave him a tiny bowl of cooked white rice and a bit of boiled carrots. Gave him some more soggy bread around 11am. He didnt puke at all today and has kept the food in. I took him for a walk around 4pm and he seems to be his normal self, even running and sprinting on our walk. So I don't believe hes in any pain. Gave him his dinner at 6pm and he ate it all as like his normal self so his appetite hasn't gone. Still having regular bowel movements of which, all contain the bones. Its a small amount of poop, not like his usual bigger dumps but they all contain the bones which means its passing through him and no visual sign of blood from his stool or his vomit so thank god.

      Gonna call the vet first thing Tuesday morning to get his opinion but I think hes fine. Hes probably puked and pooped most of the bones out. And some of the bones were soft, I assume from the stomach acids breaking it down. But let me tell you, reading the stories online freaked me out even more than if I didnt read them.

      • William

        May 23, 2017 at 1:50 am

        But let me tell you, I didn't sleep a wink Sunday when he kept puking. I hope hes fine and nothing is wrong with him internally and if we get through this, never again will be gain access to a garbage bag anymore. A big tall steel garbage can was bought. The stress of going through this wasn't fun.

  3. Ayla

    May 8, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    my dog is 6yrs old,i went to drop the kids at school and left the bin out with last nights chicken carcus in it. She has eaten the whole thing. Do I wait 72hrs or just take her to vets. She seems fine although I was not here when she ate it. help please x

    • john ricciardi

      May 10, 2017 at 8:10 pm

      yesterday my 80 pound fox hound mix ate what was left of a small cooked chicken carcus. .the big bones were gone, mostly cartilage and small rib bones. I have not seen any bones yet, it's been about 30 hours since she ate it. what do you think,i
      am closely watching her.

      • Brandy Arnold

        Brandy Arnold

        May 10, 2017 at 10:34 pm

        Keep monitoring her closely and, if possible, check her stool for any signs of blood or bone fragments. Monitor her behavior for any unusual changes for at least 72 hours following ingestion. If anything seems out of the ordinary, call your vet. After 30 hours without issue, I'd feel fairly comfortable that everything was ok, but do keep watching for a couple more days to be sure.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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
    HELP

    • 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 blood.im 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?

  11. Carter

    Aug 16, 2015 at 10:08 pm

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

  12. 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?

  13. 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!!!!!!!

  14. 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???

  15. 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 🙁

  16. 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..
    Help!

  17. 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.

  18. 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 🙁

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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.

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    Mar 30, 2014 at 11:05 am

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