As hard as you try, at some point your dog will get his paws on human food. If he swiped some sweet potatoes or a piece of cheese, there’s not too much to worry about. But, as you know, some foods like chocolate and grapes are dangerous to your pup. So what do you do if your dog ate a chicken bone?
You might think there’s no harm because dogs can eat shredded chicken and other meats without much concern. Think again. Eating chicken bones is not recommended for your beloved pup.
What’s the Harm in a Chicken Bone?
If your dog ate a chicken bone… Well, a chicken bone isn’t the only concern. The recommendation is, don’t feed your dog any type of cooked bone. This might seem counterintuitive because veterinarians sometimes encourage us to give our sick pups plain chicken breast. But a bone is not the same thing as a cooked piece of meat.
Bones are not as easily digestible as shredded chicken. It’s not too difficult to snap or splinter the bone into smaller pieces and/or jagged edges. This makes for a choking hazard for your dog. The bone could get stuck in your dog’s throat or even damage the gastrointestinal tract. Not only is this very painful for your pup, but in a worst-case scenario, could lead to death.
Remember, it’s not just cooked bones that are harmful to your dog. Raw meat and uncooked bones contain bacteria (like salmonella and e. Coli) that are dangerous to humans and pets. The lesson is this: do as best as you can to keep your pup away from any type of bone.
Unfortunately, sometimes you aren’t quick enough to keep your dog from consuming a bone and then you are left wondering what to do next.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Ate a Chicken Bone?
Ignore your instinct to get stressed. If you panic, your dog will notice something is amiss. When you catch your dog eating the bone, stay calm. Some dogs may be territorial over their food, so do not try and snatch the bone away. If your dog knows the “drop it” command, give that a shot first. Be prepared for your dog to be enamored with the bone. If that’s the case, he might eat it quickly.
Stay as calm as you can and monitor your dog. If your dog does have trouble swallowing the bone and is choking, you can perform the Heimlich Maneuver. But that is a worst case scenario, so don’t immediately worry that your dog will choke. Once you’ve assessed the situation, it’s time to call your vet.
Not every chicken bone will crack or splinter, but once your dog consumes the bone, you won’t know what’s going on internally. Ask your vet to tell you the signs of distress to watch for. Here are some things to look out for: lethargy, constipation, straining for a bowel movement, or bloody stool, vomiting, bloat in the stomach, refusing to eat or acting uncomfortable. Call your vet if you notice any of these symptoms.
Protect Your Pup
Good news, you can train your dog to stop taking human food. If your dog knows how to “leave it” you’re on the right track. But you must also remove opportunities for your dog to eat what you’re eating – especially bones. The solution is simple: clean up after yourself. Wipe down the kitchen counters, toss out leftover bones when you’re done eating, wash your dishes, and secure your garbage. If your dog is tall enough or able to find a way to take food off the counters, dining tables, or coffee tables, wipe them down. Crumbs love to linger.
Supply your dog with healthy alternative treats. Try one of these long-lasting dog chews. These one-ingredient treats will keep your pup occupied and your purchase feeds shelter dogs waiting for a forever home. Win, win.
Bad to the Bone
As much as you may want to, you can’t keep an eye on your dog at every moment of the day. If your pup manages to eat a bone (and not one sold at the pet store), do not panic. This isn’t an ideal scenario, but don’t imagine the worst. First, call your vet or if it’s after hours, a local pet hospital to ask for their advice. Watch your dog and see how she reacts. You can also teach your dog some basic commands so in the future, you can instruct her to “drop it.”
The most important advice we can give you is to be in tune with your dog’s regular behaviors. If you notice any of the symptoms we mentioned, it’s time to call your vet again and most likely bring your pooch in for a check-up. Keep some other tasty snacks around to entice your dog away from those chicken bones. You can teach your pup to keep away from the bones. It just takes a little work.
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