Does My Dog Need to Go to the Vet After Eating a Chicken Bone?
Dogs like to eat almost everything they find when out for a walk, and if your dog finds a chicken bone he is going to try to eat it.
Should you panic and jump in your car to get your dog to the vet?
I have seen many dogs eat chicken bones over the years with no problems. My own dogs eat chicken bones, raw, almost every day. They consume a diet that includes chicken necks, feet, carcasses, and wings, and eating the bones is the way in which they get their calcium.
Many dogs that live out on the street also eat cooked chicken bones. I would not recommend this as a healthy diet, and certainly would not feed my own dogs this way, but those dogs are not suffering from torn throats and obstructions.
They eat, chew the bones properly, and survive on other foods that make their stools bulky.
Preparing a Bulk Laxative
If your dog does eat some chicken bones, there is probably not going to be a problem. Feed something to make sure that she has extra stools for the next few days, and they will probably pass without harm.
- Cook some fresh pumpkin or open up a can of pumpkin, but not the pie filling that has added spices. My dogs only like this dish if I add fresh papaya, and since I have several trees in my yard I almost always have this available. Dried shrimp powder is also very palatable; you should know your dog and be familiar with what she likes to eat. (Hamburger grease, bacon bits or grease, or parmesan cheese—be creative and find something she enjoys and wants to eat, even when mixed with pumpkin!)
- Add some Metamucil (psyllium fiber)to the food so that it will draw more water to the stool and make it even bulkier. The dose is about one teaspoonful to each 10 kilos (about 22 pounds) of your dog´s weight.
- Lentils are another food that are bulk laxatives and will help your dog pass the chicken bones. Some dogs like the taste, others do not, so mix them in with the beans according to the dog´s preference. You can mix up half pumpkin and half lentils if your dog will eat this mixture.
After The Chicken Bone Incident
Let your dog eat as much of the pumpkin and lentil mixture as she wants. I have never seen a dog overeat when offered this mixture, but if your dog is prone to gastric bloating you will need to feed her a smaller meal every hour.
- Feed your dog the pumpkin/lentil mixture.
- Make sure water is available free choice.
- Take her for several long walks in the next 12 hours to encourage her to pass stool. If there is an area where she can run off leash she is much more likely to stop and pass stool.
- Do not worry if you are not able to see the chicken bones in the stool. Most dogs will chew the bones and they will be digested normally.
Is An Obstruction Possible?
Some dogs are so used to being yelled at having bones taken away from them that they will “wolf” them down without even swallowing. These are the dogs most likely to have problems with choking or the bones becoming stuck in the bowels (an obstruction) later.
You need to learn how to handle a choking dog so that if this happens when out on a walk you can save her life.
If your dog already swallowed all of the bones whole, and you are worried about your dog having an obstruction, these are the most common symptoms:
- Vomiting is the main sign, and almost all of the dogs I have seen over the years have this sign. It is hard to ignore, but some other dogs will just drool a lot, which may be kind of normal for the breed.
- A swollen abdomen, usually painful. (Some dogs do not want to lie down, others will turn around and look at their belly.)
- Diarrhea or black stools.
If it goes on for a while, some dogs will have:
- If the dog is not drinking, dehydration.
If your dog does have the symptoms of obstruction in the days following his chicken bone incident, I would recommend you take her in to see her regular veterinarian.
If you do not know the answer to this question, spend a few minutes today and find out!
My dog does not like and would never eat:
Ask your regular veterinarian how common this problem is in his clinic, and how many dogs have died in his clinic after eating chicken bones.
You might be surprised.
This is one method to teach your dog "leave it". This command is important if you come across chicken bones or other tasty and potentially dangerous edibles when out for your daily walk.
- How to Save a Choking Dog's Life
Take a few minutes out of your busy schedule and find out what to do if your dog does choke on a chicken bone. You might end up saving her life.
© 2016 Dr Mark