Many pet owners have the misconception that giving a dog bone is natural and healthy. Bones – chicken bones in particular – can pose serious health risks for your pet. As a general rule, dog owners should avoid feeding their pet bones.
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Dogs eating raw and cooked bones can result in a number of injuries and even death, in part due to choking. However, veterinarians have debated whether raw bones may be safe for dogs to eat.
Across the board, veterinarians agree that feeding a dog cooked bones can threaten his health. Cooked bones pose a particular threat because the bone hardens, causing the bone to splinter or shatter easily. When a dog chews on a chicken bone, he may break or splinter the bone. These razor sharp bone pieces when ingested can puncture the insides.
Broken teeth and mouth injury
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns pet owners to not give dogs bones. A common danger involving chicken bones include broken teeth. A dog, especially a small breed, may break a tooth when trying to chew or eat a chicken bone.
A bone when broken may have sharp edges that can puncture the inside of the mouth causing an injury. Both kinds of injuries may require a trip to see a veterinarian. Bones can also get stuck in the dog's teeth and have to be removed while the dog is under sedation.
Wind pipe injuries
A chicken bone can get stuck in the dog's esophagus, which is the tube that food travels through to reach the stomach. The dog may gag to remove the bone. Another danger occurs when your dog inhales a small piece of bone, blocking the windpipe. Your dog will not be able to breathe. This injury is an emergency and you should take your dog to the veterinarian.
They cause digestive problems
A chicken bone left undigested can become impacted in the intestines, blocking the dog's digestive system. This blocks gases and other materials from escaping the dog's body, leading to blood toxicity.
Intestinal injuries can occur
Bone splinters from cooked chicken bones may puncture your dog's gastrointestinal tract, causing internal bleeding or a serious injury. If left untreated such an injury can result in death.
If splinters pass into the dog's abdominal cavity, the intestinal wall may become pierced. Your dog may become susceptible to peritonitis, an infection of the lining of the abdominal cavity that has been pierced by chicken bones.
Watch for symptoms
Possible intestinal tract damage includes symptoms of vomiting, rectal bleeding, discharge from rectum, diarrhea, constipation and sensitivity in your dog's abdomen. If your dog ingested chicken bones recently and shows these dog bone splinter symptoms, or any other problems, call your veterinarian, recommends the American Kennel Club.
Your vet might recommend giving your dog soft bread, which can cushion its intestine from bone fragments. Depending on how badly your dog is reacting, you might need to immediately take your dog in to see the vet.
Dogs can also become aggressive if you try to take their food from them, so be careful how you try to get bones away from a dog if it's eating them. Be careful not to show signs of fear or panic when you try to help a dog showing signs of a problem after eating chicken bones, advises the AKC. This will confuse and frighten the dog, making it harder for you to get near it and provide help, including getting into a carrier and your vehicle to take to the vet.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.