Chicken is undeniably the most loved food item among most meat lovers. It is easily one of the cheapest, most delicious, and widely available options out there. It is also a common ingredient in various dog foods. But do you ever sit down and wonder, ‘can dogs eat chicken bones?’ 

Well, yes, but we recommend that you avoid them. Chicken bones undoubtedly provide some benefits, just like most natural bones, but their disadvantages are far more than their benefits.

Let us find out why that is the case. 

Are Chicken Bones Safe For Dogs?

There is a reason why bones are used as symbols for dogs or representations of dogs. 

Bones are actually filled with nutrients that can nourish your dog in several ways. Raw or uncooked chicken bones are a natural source of nutrients for dogs. They contain healthy components such as phosphorous and calcium for your dog and plenty of oral health benefits.

Furthermore, raw chicken bones can easily dissolve in a dog’s stomach, which prevents blockages.

However, cooked or raw, chicken bones can still break apart easily while chewing, which can injure your pup severely. Some dogs, especially small dogs, and quick eaters, can also choke on them.

What Type of Chicken Bones Are Good For Dogs?

You might be wondering what type of chicken bones are suitable for dogs, can you give them bones from your leftover food, or not?

1. Raw chicken bones

Raw chicken bones are a great choice for light chewers, as they can strengthen their jaw muscles and stimulate their gums. Chicken bones with meat left over provide plenty of nutrients as well. But you need to make sure you only give them pieces that are big enough for your pup, or else they might end up choking on them.

2. Cooked chicken bones

Now cooked chicken bones are literally a health hazard. These bones, first of all, lack nutrients that were lost due to heat; secondly, cooked bones break and splinter way too easily. They can severely injure your pup’s mouth and throat. So, cooked bones must be avoided at all costs.

And you should also avoid feeding your dog bones from your leftover food. Because human food is highly seasoned. And seasoning is toxic for dogs as your pup’s tummy is extremely sensitive.

Health Risks of Feeding Your Dog Chicken Bones

Apart from the benefits, feeding chicken bones to dogs can have severe consequences on their health . 

1. Internal injuries

Chicken bones, especially cooked bones, splinter very easily. The splintered shards are sharp enough to induce internal injuries to their throat and stomach.

2. Dental issues

Chicken bones, if too hard to chew, may fracture your pup’s teefies or cause them to wear down. Moreover, leftover chicken meat might get stuck in the gaps of your pup’s teeth, which can further lead to gum infections, etc.

3. Pancreatitis

High fat content in chicken bone marrow contributes to pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, which can be fatal in the long run. This condition usually requires surgical intervention.

4. Gastrointestinal blockages

Some broken chicken bone pieces shards can get stuck in your pup’s stomach and intestines. These can cause digestive problems and can be an excruciatingly painful experience.

5. Choking hazards

One of the most common threats no matter what you feed your dog. Small dogs or sometimes even bigger dogs might try to swallow large pieces of bones. Those might get stuck in their throat, causing dogs to choke on them.  

a dog with juicy chicken bones in front of him

Can Dogs Eat Leftover Chicken Bones From Your Food?

If you were feeling like you can just feed your pooch the leftover chicken bones from your food so that you don’t have to throw them away, we suggest you reconsider. 

Your food was heavily seasoned and cooked. First of all, cooked bones are brittle and can easily injure your dog’s throat, stomach, and intestines and cause other issues in the middle. 

Additionally, the spices and seasoning in your food are toxic for dogs to handle. The spices might induce gastric issues such as diarrhea or constipation. 

Those might even contain poisonous (to dogs) ingredients such as onions or garlic. Intake of these ingredients can even be fatal if not treated immediately. 

What Should You Do if Your Dog Has Eaten Some Chicken Bones?

Natural bones provide plenty of benefits when consumed. So, if there are no visible anomalies or signs of discomfort, then you might not have to worry much. 

Portion control and checking how long they get to consume bones is a great way to ensure they do not catch food-borne diseases from accumulated bacteria. 

However, before giving anything to your pooch, you must always consult your veterinarian for medical advice and how to proceed. They might be able to help you if your dog consumes some of your leftover chicken bones unbeknownst to you. 

The immediate steps that you should take are:

1. Keep them hydrated

Fill their water bowls, and refill them frequently, as they might feel excessively thirsty.

2. Check if they are choking on any bones

You first need to check whether the chicken bone is stuck in your pup’s throat. If they are choking, they won’t be able to make any sound, so you need to look for certain signs. They may act like they are trying to cough something out. They may also move back and forth, roll on the ground, or paw their mouth.

If you can find a piece lodged in their throat, try to take it out gently. If that does not work out, you must try the Heimlich maneuver (article), where you put your arms around them so your hands join at their abdomen. Then, make a fist with your hands and firmly and swiftly push up and forward five times in a thrusting motion.

DO NOT try to induce vomiting physically, as it may risk the pieces to get stuck in their esophagus. 

3. Monitor them for a few days

If they did swallow some bones, you must be alert and look out for symptoms such as a loss of appetite, excessive drooling, vomiting, abdominal pain, etc. 

4. Offer them some bread

If possible, give your dog a soft piece of bread, it can keep the chicken bone fragments from puncturing their stomach. Moreover, it will protect the lining of your dog’s digestive system and stimulate the digestive juices to help break down the bone faster.

And do not forget to consult a vet then and there. Even if there are no life-threatening symptoms, it is better not to take any chances.

What Alternatives to Chicken Bones Can You Go For?

Going for natural products is mostly always beneficial, but there can be exceptions, such as this one. The natural chicken bones are not long-lasting enough. Neither are they fully safe. So, here are a few alternatives.

1. Commercial Dog chews

Made from durable material, sometimes these can even be flavored in a dog-safe manner. Your pooch will get to enjoy gnawing on them for a longer period of time

2. Nylon rubber toys

Toys made from materials such as nylon or rubber are great alternatives to bones. They are soft but do not break apart. Pet paw-rents can even stuff these toys with treats and keep their fur babies busy for hours.

3. Soft toys

Soft plushies with no small parts are excellent for providing comfort and light chewing. However, plushies may start tearing up, revealing bits of the wool inside. If consumed, it can be hazardous for dogs. 

Final Thoughts

If you were planning to feed some chicken bones to your pooch, they might not be the very best option for them. Still, if you wish to feed them any sort of bone, always monitor them while they chew on their bones. 

Do not let them have bones more than three times a week. Excessive chewing can make your pup’s jaw muscles tight. Ensure the bone is the right size for your dog and not too small or large to swallow, or else they might choke on them or not chew them properly.

Consult your veterinarian if you notice any negative reactions. Never let them drag their bones through dirt for hours, as those can accumulate bacteria in them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs eat chicken bones raw?

Raw chicken bones are actually quite healthy for dogs. They provide some nutritional value as well. But chicken bones are also very brittle and can splinter easily, leading to internal injuries and other issues.

What to do if a small chicken bone is swallowed? 

Dogs can choke on chicken bones very easily. And they might break into shards as well. If you notice any symptoms such as lethargy, blood in their stool or from their mouths, excessive drooling, thirst, etc., you should go to a doctor immediately. 

Which chicken bones are safe for dogs?

While chicken bones of all kinds, especially cooked ones, pose certain threats to dogs when consumed, dogs might still enjoy chewing chicken necks and bigger bone pieces.

Share the Post: