You’re having a lovely holiday dinner, or perhaps you picked up a rotisserie chicken on the way home from work, but somehow your nosey dog gets a hold of one of the small bones from dinner. A thought immediately comes to mind: “Oh no, my dog ate chicken bones, now what?!”
This is a common occurrence and a great question to ask!
What are chicken bones, anyway?
Like we covered in another Learning Center article called Are Dog Bones Safe for My Dog? [link], this type of bone comes from smaller birds. They’re hollow in nature and are generally soft. But as you likely know, these bones are quite small as well, which can pose a threat to your pet’s safety no matter his or her size. What do you need to watch out for if your dog eats a chicken bone?
Know the risks with small bones
Small chicken and turkey bones are usually easily crushed, and therefore can be easier to break into smaller, potentially dangerous pieces for your pet. It’s entirely possible that your dog was quick to consume the bone, too, so it may have also been swallowed without breaking it down enough to pass through the digestive tract safely. “Safely” is a relative term and varies from situation to situation.
The risks move left and right on the spectrum depending on dog size. Small dogs are more likely to encounter a blockage or trouble breathing, while it’s more likely a large breed could have splintered the bone into smaller pieces quickly, causing potential digestive track issues
First, start monitoring your dog right away
Begin monitoring your dog to get a sense for any immediate issues: choking, difficulty breathing, or other signs, like sudden lethargy or vomiting. Be sure you don’t try to get your dog to throw up or pass the bone more quickly as this could cause other internal problems, making a potentially dangerous situation worse.
Second, play it safe
While your pup may have no issues with consuming a chicken bone off the table or out of the garbage every once in awhile, the old saying is true: you don’t know what you don’t know. Call your local veterinary office and ask for their take on your specific situation. A quick trip to the vet might be the only way to ease any lingering concerns.
Third, watch your dog over the next few days
Pay close attention to changes in behavior and follow your intuition if you feel something isn’t quite right. Check for blood in his or her stools, be on alert for problems defecating in general, and watch for other signs that may indicate something isn't quite right. Common sense and empathy for your beloved dog can go a long way.
Carry on with caution
If your dog is moving around and carrying on with life for the next hours, day, and week, odds are there’s no problem. Hooray! Be sure you keep these small bones out of your dog’s way the next time they enter the house, and you won’t have to worry about that in the future!
You might have guessed...
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