If you and your pup are city dwellers, you may have a bone to pick with the hazards the two of you face just walking down the street.
One thing many urban pup parents will tell you they encounter regularly is chicken bones. All those chicken wings and fried chicken joints have overflowing trash cans, and the bones magically seem to make it to the street. Some say that squirrels help move these bones from the trash to the street and others will tell you it’s careless humans who are dropping them on the ground. With their delicious and tempting meaty bits and fun shapes, they are like magnets for little puppy teeth.
So, what do you do if your pup does manage to get one of these into their mouth? First, stay calm and don’t panic.
What to Do If Your Dog Eats a Chicken Bone
1. Ask your pup to “drop it”
If your dog knows the cue drop it, this is a good time to use it. If you have a new puppy and they are still working on cues like sit and down, you might need something else. Carrying some delicious treats on your walks like pieces of deli meat or cheese can come in handy. Ask your pup to “trade you” the chicken bone for another (safer) tasty morsel. This trick can also come in handy if your pup has found the chicken bone in your kitchen like at a dinner party or just fried chicken night for the family.
2. Check for injuries
One of the reasons that chicken bones can be dangerous is that they can splinter and cause injuries. Your pup could cut or scrape its mouth, esophagus, or anywhere along the digestive tract. If your pup did get a bone, look for any (obvious) signs of injury like bleeding in their mouths, whimpering, trouble breathing, etc. If the incident just took place you might not be able to see signs of internal injuries yet.
3. Watch for signs of choking
Another potential danger is choking. It is a good idea to learn some basic dog first aid and the Heimlich maneuver for pups (and yes, this is a real thing).
4. Call your vet for further instructions
While chances are that your pup will pass the chicken bone on their own, if you know your pup has swallowed one, give your vet a call for further instructions.
What should I watch for if my dog ate a chicken bone?
According to Urgent Pet Care of Omaha, the doctor might tell you to monitor your dog’s stool for blood, and keep an eye if your pooch has problems defecating. Other signs to look out for are swelling of the stomach, vomiting, and abnormal behavior. If you have not seen any chicken bones in your dog’s feces after 72 hours, then it is recommended to take your dog to the vet for examination.
Your dog’s vet may recommend X-rays to determine if the bone is stuck somewhere in their digestive system. The images will tell the vet exactly where the bone is stuck and will help determine the course of treatment. In some cases, the bone may need to be surgically removed. Should your pup need surgery, remember to follow your vet’s instructions for post-op care and make a plan to prevent your dog from eating additional chicken bones.
Can dogs digest chicken bones?
Yes, dogs can digest chicken bones but cooked bones are not safe for pets. This is because they become brittle and can splinter as well as get stuck in your dog’s digestive system. Some people who feed their dogs a raw food diet offer chicken meat on the bone. These bones are softer and more pliable and therefore can be digested more easily. If you have questions about feeding your pup bone, chat with your vet for the best advice about how to safely add bones to your dog's diet.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.