What to Do if Your Dog Eats a Chicken Bone

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Despite our best efforts, accidents happen, and our dogs are likely to eat something they shouldn’t at some point in their lives. Usually, our dogs will steal a yummy piece of people food off the counter or off of the plate of an unsuspecting guest, even if we’re doing the best we can to prevent it. Many people foods are particularly dangerous for dogs, however. This includes cooked chicken bones, which is something that’s within reach of our pups on a somewhat regular basis. Cooked chicken bones can break and splinter, which can cause your dog to choke and can also puncture the gastrointestinal tract, or get caught in his throat. This is extremely painful to your dog and can potentially lead to death. So what exactly should you do if you find your dog has eaten chicken bones?

 

Stay Calm

Remember, panicking isn’t going to help our dogs in any way. If you catch your dog in the act, try to calmly take the rest of the bones from him. Dogs can be possessive over food, so even if your pup isn’t aggressive, he’s likely to try and gobble everything down before you take it away. If your dog has already ingested all of the bones, panicking will only confuse him and possibly lead you to take drastic, unnecessary, and potentially dangerous action. Simply make sure your dog isn’t choking, and give your veterinarian a call to help you figure out how to handle the situation. Your veterinarian may offer a simple solution, like giving your dog some pieces of white bread to help cushion the bone fragments, but every veterinarian and situation can be different, so make sure to get in touch with yours.

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Watch Carefully

Although chicken bones can splinter and puncture internal organs, it doesn’t mean that they will do so every time. It’s certainly a risk we’d like to avoid at all costs, but if your dog has already ingested the bones, all you can do now is watch him carefully. Ask your veterinarian about the signs and symptoms of internal bleeding or blockages. If you notice your dog is lethargic, constipated, straining to defecate, or has bloody stool, is vomiting, appears bloated in the abdomen, is not eating or is generally uncomfortable, you’re going to want to seek veterinary attention right away. Check your dog’s stool daily to see if you can see the bone fragments passing through. If you do not see them within 72 hours after ingestion (or whatever time frame is recommended by your veterinarian), it’s a good idea to visit the vet to make sure the bones aren’t stuck in your dog’s intestine, esophagus or throat.

 

Learn From the Experience

Prevention is always the best medicine, but we’re all human, and we make mistakes. Try to find out how your dog got ahold of the chicken bones and be sure to take extra precautions to avoid this circumstance in the future. Keep food out of reach, trash lids securely closed, and train your dog not to steal food from the counter or dining table. Although chicken bones might not be the absolute worst thing your dog could ingest, it’s certainly not considered safe, by any means. Take note of your dog’s habits, keep a close eye on where your family and guests leave their food, and make sure to prevent the incident from being repeated.

Emergency First Aid for Dogs

Even the most responsible pet owner can't always protect their pet from a sudden accident or illness. Getting your pet immediate medical attention can be the difference between life and death. Download this e-book to learn more about what to do in an emergency situation.

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