All dog owners know that dogs can become sneaky about getting food they are not supposed to eat and that some dogs tend to steal food if they can get access to it. At home, they might steal leftover food from the trash can, the worktop, and even from plates. While taking your dog for a walk, they may also have access to leftover or discarded food if you pass if people have thrown food on the floor or you walk past garbage. In most cases, the food will not do them any harm. At worst, it may give them a bout of diarrhea. However, there are some foods that are potentially harmful to your dog, and one of these is chicken bones. So, what should you do if your dog eats a chicken bone?
Why Are Chicken Bones Bad for Dogs?
Chicken bones differ to bones from other meats typically eaten by humans as they are quite soft and can leave sharp, jagged edges when broken. If your dog eats a chicken bone and it breaks during chewing, it can cause a tear along the intestinal tract or esophagus. This can cause internal bleeding and painful infections. Smaller bones also pose a choking hazard.
Are Any Bones Safe for Dogs to Eat?
Although many types of bones are safer for your dog to eat than chicken bones, they can still pose a risk. Beef and lamb bones are harder than chicken bones, so they are harder for your dog to break down and the edges are not as sharp and jagged. Therefore, they are less risky in terms of creating tears to the esophagus or intestinal tract. However, they can still pose a risk of choking if your dog is able to break down the bone small enough for it to swallow the bone. Another potential risk of all bones is the bone marrow. This is the substance that runs along the center of a bone and dogs love to eat this. The problem is that bone marrow has high-fat content. Eating too much fat can lead to health problems, such as pancreatitis.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Eats a Chicken Bone?
If your dog does eat a chicken bone, then you should contact your vet immediately and they can advise you whether you need to bring your dog into the clinic or not. In the meantime, veterinarians recommend that you feed your dog something bulky, such as brad, as this will cover any jagged edges of the bones and reduce the risk of tearing. This will give their digestive juices time to soften the bones so that there are not any sharp edges. Some people mistakenly believe that they should induce vomiting. However, this can do more harm than good. If the jagged bone has already passed through the esophagus and reached the stomach, vomiting means that the jagged edges must pass back through this part of the intestinal tract and can cause more tearing.
Although it may seem scary if your dog eats a chicken bone, most dogs are fine. It is possible that there are no jagged edges on the bone or that it has not caused any damage before reaching the stomach. Once the digestive juices wear down the bone, it should pass through the intestinal tract with no further problems. If the bone has caused damage, your veterinarian may need to perform surgery to remove the bone and prevent any further damage.
What If Your Dog Is Choking?
If your dog is choking, it is a medical emergency and you must act quickly using emergency first aid on your dog. First, check their airway because it is possible you could see the bone and manually remove the obstruction. If you cannot see the obstruction or you are unable to move it, you can perform the Heimlich maneuver. Stand behind your dog and wrap your arms around the lower part of its chest with your hands clenched over the point below the end of the sternum. Thrust your hands toward your body sharply. The aim is to dislodge the bone so that your dog can cough or vomit it back up. If the obstruction has not come loose after several thrusts, check your dog’s mouth again to see if you can see the obstruction.