Will My Dog Be Okay if He Ate Chicken Bones?

Most of us have grown up hearing that we should never feed our dogs chicken bones. They’re not good for them, they can choke on them, etc.

However, many owners are wondering about the safety of feeding their dogs chicken bones, as a bone-rich diet is proven to help maintain strong teeth and healthy gums.

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Dongs love bones – that’s no secret, but are all bones good for them? It’s important to remember that just because your dog light love something doesn’t mean it’s good for them.

The most obvious example is chocolate, and you know just how dangerous that is to your furry friend.

Here, we will be taking a look at dogs and bones. Specifically chicken bones. Should your dog eat them? If your dog already has eaten them, will they be okay? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know.

Why Chicken Bones Shouldn’t be Given to Your Dog

The reason most people don’t give their dog chicken bones isn’t due to health reasons, but rather from fear of choking or choking hazards. While some argue that dogs shouldn’t have anything in their mouth other than toys or their food, others believe that bones aren’t harmful.

Many owners will also argue that there is nothing wrong with giving their dog chicken bones, especially since it provides him with extra calcium.

While most people use chicken bones for other purposes (like making fertilizer), it turns out that the nutritional value of these bones isn’t very high. As such, it makes sense that they should only be given to dogs that are lacking in nutrition.

When this happens, it can lead to problems like brittle nails and poor dental hygiene. This is certainly true, but chicken bones shouldn’t be given to dogs that already take care of themselves. 

For instance, dogs that live inside houses tend to get enough calcium through milk products and supplements. In addition, some breeds are more prone to having brittle nails. So, while these dogs may benefit from additional calcium, the risk of developing brittle nails is higher overall.

The bones of chickens often shatter, especially when cooked. This makes them more of a health risk than those found in a raw state. That being said, chicken bones contain roughly 1% phosphorus, compared to 2%-3% phosphorus in beef bones.

Additionally, there is less protein content in chicken bones than beef. Most importantly, though, the amount of calcium contained in chicken bones is considerably lower than that of beef ones. You could say this is probably the biggest argument against using chicken bones for your dog.

Are Chicken Bones Beneficial?

When it comes to dogs eating chicken bones, the big argument is that they aren’t safe. These bones will shatter as they get chewed, which means your dog could end up hurting itself.

This is especially the case with cooked bones. Although dogs don’t chew on their own bones, they do bite into them quite frequently. This causes them to lose pieces of their teeth over time, and might lead to tooth sensitivity and pain.

With that being said, bones can be good for dogs. The key is for your pets to not have them all the time. In reality, bones will help clean your dog’s teeth. They’re also great for keeping his gums healthy so that he doesn’t suffer from periodontal diseases.

However, keep in mind that your dog will be consuming more calories when chewing on bones instead of food. This means that it is important to make sure that he gets plenty of exercise throughout the day.

Potential Safety Risks of Feeding Your Dog Chicken Bones

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Chewing Safety

Some dogs chew their food very well, while others do not. There are dogs out there who will carefully chew chicken bones if you gave them some, but the majority of them will not. You should watch how your dog reacts to other kinds of food that is safer before contemplating giving them chicken bones.

If they seem like they will chew the bones, you can always try to give them some. Only do this if you are confident in your dog and are there to supervise. Otherwise, giving your dogs a chicken bone is not recommended.

Because of the way a lot of dogs eat their food, choking is a very real problem. Choking can happen when small objects become lodged in your pet’s throat. It has been reported in dogs that were fed chicken bones.

Because of the size of many of the bones, it is possible that they could end up lodging somewhere in your dog’s esophagus. They could choke or even die without immediate medical attention.

Dogs that do not properly chew their food are likely to have issues with choking on their food. If your dog is one of the few who takes their time to eat, choking is likely to be a concern. However, it should be noted that dogs will only usually chow their food so that it is small enough to swallow.

Their teeth and mouths are not the same as humans, and swallowing is their method of eating food. Because of this, people often refer to dogs eating food as them “wolfing it down”. 

GI Tract Tearing

Because chicken bones splinter, these splinters can cause damage to your furry friend. From puncturing their esophagus to puncturing their intestinal tract, bones can be a danger. Dogs that take long periods to eat may be at risk for tearing their intestines on the sharp edges of the bones.

Once again, because of their anatomy, it is common for dogs to take bites out of their food. Be mindful of your dog’s health history and any medications they are taking. Anytime they take prescription medication, consult with your vet about what foods they should avoid.

Oral Health

The splinter-like shards can cut through the soft tissues inside your dog’s mouth. These shards can then travel through their digestive system. They can also get stuck in the esophagus, causing blockages or infections. A blocked esophagus is painful for your dog and risks perforation (rupture) of the esophageal wall.

Perforated walls are extremely risky for your dog. Depending on where the shard got lodged, they can also tear through the lining of the stomach or intestines. If left untreated, these tears can lead to life-threatening conditions such as peritonitis (infection of the abdomen).

Obstruction

As briefly mentioned, obstruction is another potentially dangerous risk of your dog eating chicken bones. The shards can get caught up in the intestines and obstruct its flow. When a dog eats too much of something, they may need to defecate right away.

This could possibly push the fragments further into the intestine and make matters worse.

Serious obstruction can result in surgery to remove the fragments. Even though surgeries are successful, they are expensive, invasive, and stressful for your dog. Serious obstruction can also cause a dog to lose weight or experience vomiting.

How Can I Prevent My Dog from Eating Chicken Bones?

There are two methods that work really well when trying to prevent your dog from eating chicken bones. First, you can use training methods that teach your dog to associate eating bones with bad things.

For example, you could give him a treat after he finishes chewing his bone instead of letting him continue until he finishes everything. You could also try making sure that he does not have access to any bones by keeping them locked up.

Second, you could make sure that your dog gets plenty of exercise. Exercise helps to burn calories, which means that your dog has less incentive to overeat. As an added bonus, exercise keeps your dog’s mind alert and active, which reduces boredom and aggression.

If you are worried about how your dog will react to the chicken bones, you can always ask your veterinarian for help. Veterinarians are experts in assessing all aspects of your dog’s health, including their dietary needs. Your vet can advise you on the best way to keep your dog safe.

The best thing you can do is train your dog not to eat anything that you don’t give them, and keep bones away. This will not only help you in the house, but it could also help when you take your pet out for walks.

If they have been trained not to eat or chew on anything that you haven’t given them personally, they will be all the better for it. This can help them stay healthy and not eat anything that could be a danger to them, including things like dead animals and pine cones.

Of course, this takes a lot of works and time. In the meantime, keeping dangerous bones away from your pet is the safest option.

So Your Dog Ate Chicken Bones…

If your dog has already eaten chicken bones, and you aren’t sure what to do, you probably have a lot of questions. Will they be okay? Should you be doing anything? Well, the answer to those questions is determined by your dog’s behavior.

Your dog might have safely eaten the chicken bones. If you are not noticing any unusual symptoms after your dog got their paws on the bones, there should be nothing to worry about. The dog might be going about their daily life and being their usual selves, so there’s a good chance that they are absolutely fine.

However, if your pet’s behavior changes after consuming the bones, there is cause for concern. You may notice symptoms such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Retching/gagging

If any of these signs become present in your dog, you should take them to the vet immediately. You will need the help of a professional to get your pet back to health.

Choking

Choking is the single biggest worry with chicken bones. Your dog might choke on these bones, which can easily block their airway and obstruct breathing. Even if your dog seems fine afterwards, they still might have damaged their throat muscles due to their condition.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much that you can do at home to fix this problem. In most cases, you will need to visit your local animal hospital. They can perform emergency surgery on your dog to open up their blocked airways and get them back to normal.

If you think your dog is choking on a bone, you will need to quickly assess the situation. You might be able to get the bone yourself if it is visible in your dog’s mouth or throat.

If this is the case, you will need to be very careful so that you do not accidentally harm your dog or cause any more distress. Being bitten is also a very real risk, but that is a call you need to make since you know your dog best. 

If the bone your dog is choking is not visible, you will need to take them to a vet or similar practice. Some vets can use endoscopes to check over your dog’s neck and chest before sedating them, allowing them to see exactly where the bones are located.

By using an endoscope, they can remove the object without risking injury to your dog. Your vet will know exactly what to do, and your job is simply to get your pet to them. 

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that if your dog eats something harmful, they are likely to experience some kind of negative effect. It doesn’t matter whether it is chicken or cow bones; dogs are just as susceptible to being harmed by eating foreign objects.

As long as you keep an eye out for any strange behaviors, you should be ok. If your dog starts showing any severe symptoms, though, you will want to seek medical advice.

To be on the safe side, it’s better not to feed your dog chicken bones. The risks outweigh the benefits, and the best thing you can do for your dog is keep them safe.

Allow them to chew on larger raw bones that they cannot swallow. Just by doing this, you are significantly reducing the risk of your dog choking or the bone shattering and harming them.

Megan Turner
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