Can dogs eat chicken bones? Well, yes, he can. Should a dog eat chicken bones? If the bones are cooked, the answer is absolutely not! Cooked bones are dangerous.
There are many people who feed raw chicken (including bones) to their dogs as part of a “bones and raw food” (BARF) diet. But there is more involved to feeding raw chicken safely than just handing your dog a raw wing or leg. For guidance on feeding raw bones as part of a BARF diet, see “Feeding Raw Bones.”
Why Chicken Bones Are Bad
Many veterinarians will say the dangers of eating chicken bones are a myth, adding that dogs have eaten them for centuries. But, in the next breath, the same veterinarian will likely tell you about a dog or two who choked or had to have emergency surgery for a perforated intestine, adding, so your dog shouldn’t eat chicken bones.
Once they reach the dog’s stomach, acids and enzymes normally dissolve chicken bones. But there’s always that one dog who chokes (from eating too quickly and not chewing sufficiently) or gets a bone fragment caught or a piece embedded somewhere in his digestive tract . . .
Treatment If Your Dog Ate Bones
What should you do if your dog ate some cooked chicken bones? First, stay calm—it will do neither of you any good to panic! If you catch him in the act, take the bone out of his mouth, if you can. If you have a hemostat in your first-aid kit, use that.
If you’re not quick enough to remove the bone before he swallows it, check for blood in his mouth or in his throat. If you see none—and your dog is acting normally—he’ll probably be OK. Note: Do not induce vomiting. There is more risk from the bone fragments coming back up.
Even so, though, it’s wise to give him soft food, like a little white bread and/or a tablespoon of plain canned pumpkin in his meals for a few days, to help move the bone pieces out. Encourage consumption of water, adding a little broth, if necessary, to keep him well-hydrated. (Always have a second bowl of plain water available, too.)
Check his poop for three days to see if there is any bone or blood and to monitor him for bloating, vomiting, bowel changes, or other discomfort like lethargy, lack of appetite, whining, and so on. Call your veterinarian immediately if you see these things.
To be sure your dog is fine, put chicken bones where he can’t reach them—even though he’s telling you that chicken and turkey taste great!