Can Dogs Eat Chicken Bones

Can Dogs Eat Chicken Bones?

Dr. Caitlin Connor

Sep 21, 2023

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Most dog owners do not know that some kinds of bones are bad for dogs to eat. In fact, vets recommend that dogs do not eat any kind of animal bone due to the risk of injury and illness that can be associated with these treats. Chicken bones are particularly dangerous to dogs because they are hollow. There are a lot of risks associated with a dog ingesting this kind of bone, and dog owners should be concerned if their dog has eaten a chicken bone.

Why Can’t Dogs Eat Chicken Bones?

Chicken bones are hollow, which means that when your dog chews them up, they usually break into a lot of small, sharp pieces. These pieces can then puncture the esophagus, stomach or the intestines. Large pieces of this kind of bone can also block the intestines, creating a different kind of medical emergency, known as an intestinal obstruction. 

If your dog has eaten chicken bones, and is vomiting frequently, they may need to have surgery to remove the bone or undergo hospitalized supportive care until the bone has passed. It is not safe to have the dog throw up the bone that they ate due to the risk of injury during vomiting.

Chicken bones are also associated with the risk of E.coli, which is not a good thing for a dog to be infected with and can cause severe, life threatening diarrhea. There are a lot of reasons to keep your dog away from the chicken that you ate for dinner, and pet owners need to be really careful about the chicken offal that they have in the house.

How to Prevent Dogs from Getting into Chicken Bones

If you have cooked a chicken or another kind of bird for dinner, do not let your dog in the kitchen, and don’t let them eat off of your plate. You should also be sure that you do not feed them pieces of the scraps of the carcass of the bird, as these may have chips of bone attached to them. It is a good rule of thumb to double-bag the chicken carcass and throw it away in the garbage outside the house so that your dog cannot access it by knocking over the garbage can.

If your dog has picked up a chicken bone, but they have not eaten it already, be calm. Ask your dog to drop the chicken bone patiently and calmly. Nothing makes a dog bolt food like the assumption that you are going to take it away from them. You might also try offering another treat to replace the chicken bone so that your dog will drop it. This is something that can be prevented by teaching your dog a cue that causes them to drop whatever is in their mouth. These kinds of training practices can save your dog’s life when they pick up items that they should not eat or play with.

If you did not know that your dog got into a chicken carcass or you did not see them eating chicken bones, you might end up taking them to the vet because they are vomiting or having digestive issues. Sometimes neighbors or people that you have over to your home can expose your dog to the risk of eating chicken bones. Be sure that your pet is not able to wander to other people’s property, and tell all your visitors that dogs cannot have chicken or turkey bones so that this risk is reduced.

What if my Dog is Choking?

In some cases, chicken bones can cause your dog to choke before they even swallow the bone down. If your dog is choking on something like a chicken bone, do not try to remove the bone yourself. Immediately take your pet to a veterinarian and call them while you are on the way so that they can be prepared. Choking can be a very time-sensitive medical emergency. Your dog might need to be sedated and have an emergency procedure to remove the bone that is lodged in its throat. Vets can also sometimes see the bone with a scope and remove it, or they can use specialized tools to pull the bone free without causing further injury.

Choking can be very scary for pet owners, but you should never try and resolve a choking situation at home. Letting trained veterinary professionals handle this kind of emergency is always best. Always try to remain calm as well and get your pet into the car without jostling them around so that you do not make the choke any worse.

Seek Veterinary Care if Your Dog Ate a Chicken Bone

Dogs really should not be given any kind of bones to eat. Chicken and other bird bones are very dangerous for your dog’s health, but other kinds of bones can also lead to infections, serious gut upsets, and conditions like pancreatitis. Your pet is allowed to have treats that are made for dogs and to play with toys that are created for this function. Avoiding the use of things like animal bones for your dog’s treats or playthings is important. Even the risk of choking alone should convince pet owners that animal bones are not a good thing to give to dogs.

Make sure that you get your dog to the vet right away if they have eaten a chicken bone and are showing signs of choking, vomiting or diarrhea. This can be a life-threatening situation and one that requires immediate attention from a vet. If surgery or other kinds of care are needed, your pet should get that attention as soon as possible to prevent extensive damage to its mouth and digestive tract. For more information or if you need to speak to an emergency vet, contact VEG by calling one of our locations. Our team cares about your dog’s wellbeing as much as you do, so we’re always here for you and your pet when you need us most.