Has something similar to this ever happened to you? You have just finished eating a perfectly cooked chicken dinner and now it is time to wash the dishes. The phone rings and you go to answer it. Naturally, it is one of those annoying telemarketers, so you politely end the call and return to the dining room to collect the plate of discarded chicken bones and dirty dishes. To your utter shock and dismay you see that the plate once holding the bones is empty and your dog, Mr. Scruffles, is looking at you with a pleased yet wary look in his eye. One small chicken bone, the last of at least three, sits alone in front of your beloved schnauzer. If you hadn’t walked in just at that moment, it surely would have followed the other bones, which have gone right into your dog.
So what exactly is the problem with chicken bones?
Chicken bones and other bones that have undergone the cooking process, like turkey bones or pork chops, become problematic because the heat they encountered in the oven, stove, pot or grill has dried them out forcing them to become brittle. This means the bones have a tendency to break and splinter easily, which can create sharp points. When a dog eats one of these cooked bones, she runs the risk of the bone getting stuck in her mouth, throat, stomach or intestines; this can be dangerous and even fatal. If you have found that your pup has gotten into some cooked chicken bones here are some helpful things to keep in mind…
Panicking or getting upset will only further exacerbate the situation not only for you but also for your dog. Dogs are known for their sensitivity and for being in-tune with their master’s emotions. Fido will sense your fear and worry, which may in turn cause him further distress, which he could be in already due to the chicken bone. Instead…
Assess the situation
Remove any additional bones that could be eaten. If your dog is in mid-chew and will follow verbal commands like “drop-it”, see if your pup will drop the offending chicken bone. If not, continue to stay calm and remember not to punish your dog. Make sure your pooch isn’t in any distress from having ingested the bone. A dog having trouble will vomit, gag, pace, excessively salivate, drink more than normal and have trouble getting comfortable. If you note any of the following behaviors it is important to get your dog to the vet immediately. Do not try to force your dog to throw-up. If your pup is not exhibiting any of the above symptoms keep reading…
Monitor your dog closely
Just like in the previous step you are going to want to check in with your veterinarian to keep them apprised of the situation. They still may want you to come in or they will most likely ask you to keep a close eye on your pooch for the next 48 hours. Your vet will probably ask you to monitor your dog’s bowel movements to make sure there is no blood in your dog’s stools. Your vet will also want you to watch for bloating, vomiting, trouble breathing and to observe your pup for any changes in mood and behavior. Your vet may also suggest giving your dog something like white bread or rice to help pad their stomach and intestines. Bread and rice are typically well tolerated by dogs and gentle on the digestive tract. After 48 hours, if all seems well, check in with your veterinarian again — just for good measure and to get the all clear.
How to avoid a chicken bone incident in the future
- Keep plates and food, especially those with bones or other food not considered dog friendly, as far away from your dog as possible.
- If your dog is a good jumper, make sure to have a place where food will be safely out of her reach.
- Keep the lids of garbage cans or other containers containing human food, tightly closed.
Watching your pup scarf down a chicken bone can be quite scary and traumatic for some canine parents; finding and providing your dog with good nutrition shouldn’t be.