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Can Dogs Eat Chicken Bones?

March 19th, 2012 02:14:16 pm

Here’s a hot topic: Can dogs eat chicken bones? Like most good questions, the answer is it depends on how you look at it.


To help you decide, here are the facts.


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. Cooked chicken bones, on the other hand, are brittle and tend to splinter and break as they are chewed. This potentially leads to many dangerous problems:


Can Dogs Eat Chicken Bones


   •  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.


Does this mean that raw bones are safe? Not quite. Chicken thigh bones 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. Additionally, 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 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.


Can dogs eat chicken bones? Technically, yes. But only raw and very carefully. Many people don’t feel it’s worth the risk. If you do, please supervise your dog at all times and get immediate help if the worst-case scenario happens.


Now, for the next question,  Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?


If you liked this, you may also like:

  What Human Foods Can Dogs Eat? - Thirteen delicious dog treated, including a list of nutrients for a balanced diet.

  Dog Toys For Aggressive Chewers - Here are some alternatives to chicken bones.

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