What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Chicken Bones?
Help! My dog ate chicken bones!
It can happen at any time. You're eating chicken when you get up a second and come back to find Rover gulping down the remains of your dinner. Or maybe you find your dog scavenging the trash bin in search of some delicacy.
The chicken bones are not necessarily a problem, if your dog chews them carefully and swallows them uneventfully. Indeed, dogs are equipped with great carnassial teeth that should be able to grind those bones well.
However, problems start when Rover decides to swallow them whole either because he has a Hoover for a mouth or because he is afraid of being caught and must quickly hide all traces of evidence.
Even though most dogs make it through just fine, there is some reason for concern if you think your dog has eaten chicken bones. Here's what to do.
What to Do If Your Dog Eats a Chicken Bone
If your dog did not choke on the bone, there are two main problems: The bone may scrape and puncture your dog on its way down, or it may lodge itself inside your dog and cause an intestinal blockage. Both problems are not very good news, as they can both be life-threatening if left untreated.
- Do not induce vomiting, since the bones may further cause damage as they are brought back up. The esophagus is more fragile and prone to laceration than the intestinal tract.
- Feed the dog to make a protective "pillow" of food (read suggestions below).
- Watch for delayed signs of distress (see list below)/
What to Feed Your Dog to Help It Pass the Bone
Experts suggest feeding 5 - 20 pound dogs something that wraps up around the bones to make "a pillow," hopefully preventing damage as they make their way out. Try using 1/2 to one slice of high fiber bread or 1/2 cup canned plain pumpkin, the type without spices (not the pie filling version.) You could also feed your dog 1/4 to 1/2 cup of brown rice.
How to Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of a Problem
If a bone made its way through the intestinal tract uneventfully, is the dog out of the woods? Not yet, since there is still a chance for blockage to occur.
Once ingested, the chicken bone may lodge anywhere in the stomach or the small intestine. While obstructions may occur in the colon too, dogs are more likely to expel the foreign object without much difficulty from this tract.
A wait-and-see approach will help determine if the bones are causing problems. That said, it is best to consult with a vet immediately and see if there is anything that can be done in the meantime.
Potential Signs of Problems:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble defecating
Which Types of Bones Are Bad for Dogs?
Several steak bones, rib bones, and turkey carcasses are known trouble makers. It is best to see the vet in this case and be safe rather than sorry.
Disclaimer: If your dog ate chicken bones or any other bones, see your veterinarian for advice. While home remedies may help prevent scraping in some cases, they may not work all the time.
You should not induce vomiting, since the bones may further cause damage as they are brought back up.
Why Dogs and Wolves Can Eat Bones but Domestic Dogs Can't
In nature, wolves and wild canines eat bones all the time, however, raw bones are less likely to splinter. Furthermore, wolves and canines ingest fur along with the bones. The fur "cocoons" around them, making them easier to pass uneventfully. Raw bones are digested on their way through, causing white stools.
Do Cotton Balls Work?
There have been reports of owners feeding cotton balls soaked in olive oil or milk to help dogs pass small sharp items such as fish hooks and needles, however, there are also cases of dogs becoming obstructed from ingesting the cotton! For this reason, it is not recommended to give cotton balls to dogs who ate bones.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
I’m not sure if my dog ate a bone or not; I’m really worried because she ate the rest of my Kentucky Fried Chicken breast. My dog is my best friend, I don't want to lose her. Do you have any advice?
You have two options: see your vet and get some abdominal x-rays done just for peace of mind, or monitor her closely for signs of trouble. The main problem with a dog eating chicken bones is if she swallowed it in larger pieces. If she chewed up the bone, those pieces may pass with no problems. However, there are also chances with cooked chicken splintering which can puncture the digestive tract. Swallowing a large piece of bone can cause a gastrointestinal obstruction. If you see your vet and get those x-rays done early, there may be chances that, if there is a bone that is large and looks troublesome and is still in the stomach, the vet can remove it with endoscopy before it becomes a bigger problem in the intestinal tract requiring surgery. Of course, seeing the vet is the best choice considering the implications of surgery should there really be a blockage.Helpful 35
© 2012 Adrienne Farricelli