Why Are Chicken Bones Bad for Dogs?

By Marie Modotti

Many pet owners have the misconception that giving a dog bone is natural and healthy. Bones, in particular, chicken bones can pose serious health risks for your pet. As a general rule, dog owners should avoid feeding their pet bones. Dogs eating raw and cooked bones can result in a number of injuries and even death. However, veterinarians have debated whether raw bones may be safe for dogs to eat.


Chicken bones splinter easily.

chicken grill image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com

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. In 2010, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a reminder that dog owners should toss all bones before giving them to pets, says an AP article.

Broken teeth and mouth injury

The FDA sent out a warning for 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 number of bone alternatives are available at pet stores.

dog biscuits image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com

A chicken bone can get stuck in the dog's esophagus, which is the tube that food travels through to reach the stomach, according to the FDA. The dog may gag to remove the bone. Another danger includes if 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.

Digestive problems

A chicken bone left undigested can become impacted in the intestines, blocking the dog's digestive system. According to the Michigan Humane Society, this blocks gases and other materials from escaping the dog's body, leading to blood toxicity.

Intestinal injuries

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, according to the Michigan Humane Society.


Possible intestinal tract damage includes symptoms of vomiting, rectal bleeding, discharge from rectum, diarrhea, constipation and sensitivity in your dog's abdomen. If you dog ingested chicken bones recently and shows these symptoms take the dog immediately to the veterinarian.