Can Dogs Eat Chicken Bones? – A Common Treat That Comes With Hazards
YES, dogs can eat chicken bones. That being said, we have to be very careful about how we feed it to them.
If you feed your dog cooked chicken bones, they can die. Why you might ask?
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.
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
Some 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.
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.
Because of these risks, the FDA issued a consumer warning recommending that dog owners do not give their dogs bones. In addition to the reasons above, they also cited broken teeth, oral injuries, and the risk of the bone looping around your dog’s lower jaw as risks.
Some people recommend raw bones as a way to give your dog additional nutrients. If you choose to feed your dog chicken bones, please keep the following in mind. Supervise your dog anytime your dog eats chicken bones. That way, if anything bad happens, you can respond immediately. Keep bones out of reach when you’re not intending to give them to your dog. Once he’s developed a taste for them, he’ll think any bone he smells is fair game. Eliminate the potential for counter-surfing or trash digging if you can’t keep an eye on him. Know the signs of constipation: difficulty going to the bathroom, discomfort/pain, vomiting, abdominal swelling, bloody feces, and unusual behavior.
Alternatively, you can provide your dog a tasty treat to chew on with a Kong Genius, designed to be stuffed with shredded cooked chicken, dog biscuits, peanut butter, string cheese, and more. This is a safe alternative that gives your dog something to chew on without the risk bones present.
So in conclusion, yes, dogs can eat chicken bones if they are raw and if they are being monitored very closely. I would watch for the cuts to make sure that there is nothing sharp sticking out!
Of course, you will run into people who say that their dogs are eating cooked chicken with no problem. While that is believable, I am sure you do not think it is worth risking! As paw posse states, people argue each side pretty forcibly, but at the end of the day, you need to know the facts and make your own decision for your dog. I agree with them. I personally do not feel like it is worth the risk.
Problems Associated With Dogs Eating Chicken Bones
Since there isn’t much that you can do after the chicken bones have been ingested by your dog, you simply need to monitor him closely for the next few days.
Keep checking his stools to see if the bones pass. Watch for blood in the stool, or any signs that he’s straining to defecate. You should also keep an eye on your dog’s temperament. If he becomes moody or listless, take him to a vet immediately.
Perhaps the best thing you can do is try to “cushion” the tiny bones inside your dog’s tummy by overfeeding him a little more over the next couple of days. Cooked rice (that’s completely cooled first) is ideal, because it is gentle on a dog’s stomach and digestive tract. You could serve up a small helping of plain white rice alone, or mix some cooked rice in with your dog’s normal dog food.
Then, you just wait and see. Chances are, everything will come out fine in the end.
That said, a dog swallowing chicken bones is not something that should be taken lightly. In some cases, the bones can get caught in the stomach or intestines and wreak havoc on your dog’s insides. If your dog’s behavior changes in any way after eating chicken bones, it is important to contact your vet, because x-rays may be necessary.