15 July 2013

My Dog Has Swallowed A Chicken Bone, Is This A Problem?

Are chicken bones dangerous for dogs, what should I do if my dog swallows a chicken bone? Should I give my dog chicken bones? What symptoms would you expect if a dog swallows a chicken bone? Should I take my dog to the vet or are there home remedies in this sort of situation?

chicken bone dog
Labradors are notorious dumpster divers!
I guess you are on this page reading this article because your dog has swallowed a chicken bone, well relax, most dogs come through this without any great problem but read on for the full facts ...
Dogs and bones : The first thing to say is that bones of any sort are not good to give to dogs because there is always the possibility of them { rarely } causing some problem or other. If you give bones to your dog on purpose then stop doing it, why take the risk? Small bones can splinter and penetrate the intestinal tract thus causing peritonitis which is a very dangerous and sometimes fatal condition. With larger bones the dog will gnaw them down to powder and the resultant bone meal can sometimes set in the dog's intestinal tract like cement and can cause constipation or an intestinal tract obstruction.

Of course, I know that many dogs get access to chicken bones by accident. Given half a chance most dogs will take on the role of dumpster divers and swallow all kinds of things, often this does little harm but you have to be wary if this involves chicken bones or any other small bone which could splinter and cause your dog problems.

What to do about it? : If you suspect your dog has swallowed chicken bones and your dog appears normal { as is most likely } then the best thing to do here is to just sit it out. Actually, that is about all you can do as it is not recommended to induce vomiting to recover solid objects like chicken bones as these sorts of sharp objects can potentially cause problems on the way back up.

Basically just monitor your dog, feed your dog as normal and see what happens, in my experience most dogs will get way with this type of thing particularly larger breeds. If the dog has just swallowed these chicken bones within the last hour or so then some vets suggest that you should then feed your dog some mashed potato or a few slices of bread at once. You see as this will serve to form round and cushion the sharp bone fragments as they pass along your dog's intestinal tract, this is logical and can be very effective. Another factor which helps in this situation is that some digestion and softening of chicken bone is very possible because of the gastric juices.

When you think about it wild dogs and feral dogs will be doing this on a daily basis and this is the way they are adapted to feed as opportunistic feeders and scavengers. and this applies to domestic dogs as well.

What to look out for? : Of course there are no guarantees and occasionally over the years I have seen problems related to intestinal obstruction and other intestinal tract damage following dogs eating chicken bones. So where a dog has swallowed chicken bones you would be wise to monitor your dog for any odd symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, not eating, straining or abdominal pain and of course, have your dog examined by a vet without delay if you have the slightest concern.

The bottom line? : As I have said most dogs will somehow get away with eating chicken bones but there are problems in a minority of cases so keep a good eye on your dog. 

I hope this article has been of interest to you,

Dr Scott