Can Dogs Eat Chicken Bones? – What you must know!

Showing 1 of 2

Cooked chicken bones can kill your dog!

Cooked chicken bones are brittle and tend to splinter and break as they are chewed. This potentially leads to many dangerous problems. Your dog may choke on the bone fragments. A splinter may become lodged in your dog’s mouth, throat, esophagus, or internal organs. Your dog may get peritonitis, a bacterial infection caused when the stomach or intestines are punctured. Your dog may become constipated due to bones lodged in the stomach or intestines.

All of these issues could require a costly vet visit to cure. Even constipation, which when mild can be treated at home, may become severe enough to require medical intervention to remove the blockage.

All together, this is a mess that might cost your dog it’s life so I would recommend making sure your dog gets no where near cooked chicken bones. You can ensure this by making sure they are as far away from people who are eating chicken and discarding bones as possible. You will also have to make sure that all cooked chicken, since a lot of them will have bones, are as far away from your dog as possible.

Gigantic chicken bone

So, if you’ve got large dogs in your home (or maybe even small or medium sized dogs who just happen to be good jumpers!), you’ll want to remember to push plates, dishes, and leftovers up high enough and back far enough out of the reach of your dog.

And maybe your dog won’t poke his head in the trash can when you’re around, but the minute you’re not within sight, chances are, he’ll sniff out anything smells good & tasty in there. So, be sure to keep your garbage pail behind a door or cabinet that latches securely shut. Or, purchase a heavy-duty, stable garbage can for the kitchen that has a lid your dog couldn’t possibly open.

So even though dogs can eat chicken bones, I would not recommend it unless it is raw. We need to take precautions when we are feeding raw bones to our dogs.

The Difference Between Raw and Cooked Chicken Bones for Your Dog

Chicken bonesSome people believe that raw chicken bones are a completely different matter to cooked chicken bones. The three dog blog says with anything a dog eats there is a small chance of it being dangerous but dogs have been eating raw bones safely, for the most part, for as long as wolves have existed. While now far removed from their ancestral heritage, dogs can safely eat all manner of raw meat and bones in safety.

Let’s also consider what the vets told Paw Posse. “Generally, veterinarians say raw bones are safer for dogs than cooked chicken bones, which should never be fed. The reason is raw bones are typically more flexible, so they’ll bend rather than break as your dog chews it,” says Paw Posse.

The Three Dog Blog also says, “If your dog ate raw chicken bones I would not be concerned. Raw bones, especially that of the chicken, are very soft and digested easily by most dogs. As well as helping to clean dogs teeth they will also help guard against problems with your Dogs anal glands which is very important.”

It is believed that the bones of a chicken are ideal for dogs. They can easily be chewed, are soft, easily digested by most dogs, and good for their health. Obviously if you see any adverse side effects call your vet, but most healthy dogs do nothing but thrive on raw meaty bones. Some owners feed nothing but raw food.

I am not a strong believer of feeding bones to small dogs. This is because they are so small that I wonder what pieces of bones can do to their system if swallowed.

The three-dog blog also shares, for healthy dogs that have no adverse effects to eating raw bones in general there is only one problem with the raw bones of chickens.

Can dogs eat chicken bones?Chicken thighbones have a skinny, needle-like bone (fibula) connected to the larger main bone (tibia). This sharp bone has all the same hazards as a cooked bone splinter. If you feed your dog a raw chicken thigh, be sure to remove this bone. It “could” cause a problem if it pierces your dogs’ mouth so remove it. If you remove this sharp needle like bone then the rest of the chicken is safe.

The three-dog blog also says, raw chicken necks or chicken wings make a great snack for dogs. They love it and will be more than happy with their little treat. I would avoid them again for smaller dogs however.

Paw Posse believes there’s more harm that can be done by raw chicken bones. When asked does this mean that raw bones are safe, their answer is “Not quite!”. They say just because they’re more flexible than cooked bones doesn’t mean they can’t break. Further, the combination of a large dog and small bone is just as risky for choking.

Showing 1 of 2


  1. Stephan Gibson, DVM on

    Don’t forget that raw chicken, is a risk for salmonella, campylobacter, and other causes of nasty diarrhea.

  2. What if the cooked chicken bones were processed through a blender so they aren’t really bones but ground up bone meal?

  3. For years I heard this theory of sharp bones being dangerous and as our dogs seemed to manage them we often fed them on chicken bones. I later asked a vet why dogs should not eat chicken bones and was told these bones are indigestible to dogs and form a large ball in the intestines which cannot be passed out of their system and may kill them eventually. I have never heard this before – is it some kind of Vet secret? I don’t know but it is something I am aware of now.

    • I’ve never heard that before. I do feed my small dachshund raw bones (but now only smaller parts like chicken wings ). He has no problem digesting it. When it comes out it kinda looks like whitish powder. Teeth is much cleaner and he loves it. What to watch out for though is for me he had a problem before with larger bones where he either swallowed too quickly or didn’t break down the bones enough before swallowing and had problems with the bones causing some bleeding in the intestinal tract. Very scary. So if you want to avoid that, I’d recommend you stay away from it totally. Or just feed raw chicken meat (dogs can process salmonella just fine). Just make sure you cut up the skin as they can choke on that too.

      Commercial Dry Dog food has it’s own risks like everything, but I do what I can to give my dog a healthy diet. If you look at what goes into most dog food, you’d be wary of feeding it to them. Your dog will absorb most of the ingredients in a raw diet as well. You’ll notice the stools are much smaller. Makes you wonder what the other stuff is in the dry dog food.


  5. Hi,
    I completely understand and respect this article. Makes perfect sense. What some owners fail to realize is that domesticated dogs are, well, domesticated dogs, not wolves, foxes, or coyotes. They’ve been domesticated for the last couple thousand years by man, thus changing their physiology a bit (digestive system). They are less apt to eating bones everyday for survival, typically they get dog food, not wild prey. This would make them less ‘domestic’ and unsafe around kids. While i understand the logic of some people when they say ‘dogs have been eating bones for hundreds and thousands of years’, this is flawed logic. That’d be like saying that all humans must be excellent warriors and fighters (and never die in battle) since we’ve been fighting throughout history. People die in conflicts all the time. I’m sure many a wolf has died in the wild from a bone puncturing something, or from an infection from one. Just because something hasn’t necessarily happened to you or your pet, doesn’t mean it won’t ……. safety precautions ….like a seat belt !

    • People fighting in battle is not a logical comparison to the evoloution of the digestive tract. The biology of animals doesn’t change over a few hundred years and dogs have been getting very little food from the human table historically, they got a rabbit or a bird as reward for helping to hunt, or the humbles (the digestive tract and other bits of offal from a deer) which is where the saying to eat humble pie comes from. Dogs have been eating whole animals and are able to digest bones easily because the pH of their stomach is much more acidic than a human stomach in order to deal with bones. Cooked chicken bones splinter and can cause injuries in the oesophagus and stomach, it’s a known fact. Bones can however be cooked in a pressure cooker until they basically dissolve, which is what the Queen’s corgi dogs get along with liver and some vegetables mashed into a paste. Grinding up whole animals with skin and bones, or the BARF diet (Bones and Raw Food) is ideal nutrition for cats and dogs.

      • Yeah, that’s basically it. Some people however can’t get over their dog eat food that’s not cooked. Looks crazy and bloody and they think it will make them more aggressive (which I think the last poster was getting at talking about dogs and kids). That’s just not true. Dogs like good food, and feeding them seasoned cooked human food is worse for them than raw food is, or even regular dog food for that matter. Just because you think you are treating your dog humanely doesn’t mean you are right. Dogs are not human (though we love them like our own).

    • Jimmy Buffet on

      What? As far as I know, dogs have been eating raw meat scraps until the 1930’s where raw horse meat was packaged for dog food. The last 80 years is not enough time to change their digestive tracks.

  6. Myrna Gullette on

    I agree that commercial dog food is not good but every time I try to switch her to home made food, she gets constipated and I get scared.

    • Jimmy Buffet on

      You will have to give your dog time to get used to it. I gradually introduced the raw food to my dog. Try to do it over a 2 to 3 week period. Gradually give less kibble and more raw. I have an 85 pound golden that eats 2 chicken backs in the evening and a cup of frozen peas with yogurt in the morning. I also give her chicken livers, steak, and chicken wings. You’ll figure our the quantity. The only caution that I would provide is that your dog will need to learn how to chew again. Most dogs inhale kibble. Raw food needs to be chewed. In the beginning, I made sure that I cut the meat in small pieces or I held the chicken backs while she chewed on them. She no longer needs me to take that extra effort and it has paid off in a healthier dog.

      • That’s such a good diet! I love it I’m thinking of doing that now! Or i could make homemade dog food cuz nobody ever knows what the people who make dog food puts in dog food. (Kibble)

  7. My dog is 20lbs. I’ve read that raw meaty bones are really good for dogs, but she chokes on everything. What should I do? Is bone meal just as beneficial?

  8. Regards to feeding Raw meaty bones. Not just bones, this is bad. The key element is MEATY. Not a scrap of meat. Chicken carcass is good, as well as necks. Weight baring bones are recreational not as a meal.
    Rabbit is very good, lamb breast.
    But research Raw feeding so that you understand fully.
    Start with chicken wing tips.
    As for chocking, never seen it, dogs regurgitate is a natural process, but watch your dog, meat should be torn with front teeth, meat and bone is then angled side on towards back teeth, either held by paws so can break down and chew. Those dogs who naturally pick up on raw will know how to swap side to side of their mouth crunching down. I know once finished ours leave any splinter bits.
    Include organs/ofal, tripe few times a week.
    A healthy stomach will dissolve everything and no Salmonella, Camplobacter should be able to compromise both intestines unless already dogs immune has already been compromised. Some holistic vets will run full blood screening to see if lacking in nutrients along with hygiene practice. Seperate prep areas, canine cleaning spray.
    So build up slowely if starting and seek out reputable Raw author and educate yourself before starting.
    I am a Tamaskan hybrid (1 of a pack northern breeds 5) 48kg, 34″withers , my owner found me roadside 20kg and fed on tinned rotten fats and pancreas ruined. That was 10yrs ago.
    Healthy like my pack mate who is 2.
    Good luck

  9. Oh no! I have a border collie mix who just turned two. I’ve been feeding her cooked chicken bones maybe 1-3 times a week with no problem so far. Can she have a blockage I may not be aware of? Also, are the bones really THAT dangerous? I’ve fed them to other dogs in the past and nothing ever happened.

    • I would talk to your vet if you are that concerned. I know a lot of people gives their dog bones, but I have heard way too many horror stories to give them to Bunk. I think cooked pork bones are the worst, however. The problem is that they can splinter when they are cooked, which is an obvious threat to your dog.

    • Mary… you should NEVER feed a dog cooked bones. Only raw bones are soft enough to not be dangerous. Cooked bones are much more brittle and may break off into very sharp pieces in your dog’s gut.

      Chicken bones may be too small for a border collie… perhaps some raw beef bones would be more suitable.

      Whatever bones you give your dog, you should be there while he or she is eating the bone, to make sure they don’t choke.

Leave A Reply