Help, my dog ate cooked chicken bones! Do I need to take my dog to the vet if he ate bones??
We have all been there… You get distracted during the game while your favorite team is scoring the game winning touchdown, only to find that Tank has managed to eat the bones of every last hot sauce coated wing carcass that laid on the table. Your vet has told you to never give your dog cooked bones including chicken bones, steak bones, ribs and ham bones, but why are these things so bad for your dog – aren’t they built to digest bones? Before you rush Tank off to the vet to have his wing-filled tummy x-rayed, here are some home remedies to make your pet feel better, along with distress signs to watch out for to make sure your dog will be able to pass the bones ok.
Initially, after you dog gets a hold of the bones, the major concern is to make sure that your dog is not choking on the bones. Odds are your dog knows they are doing something wrong while stealing the bones so they are going to try to chomp them down as soon as possible in hopes that they are not caught in the act. Make sure your dog is not exhibiting any of the following symptoms – wretching, gagging, vomiting, excessive drinking, licking lips, or an inability to sit down comfortably/anxious pacing, as any one of these symptoms could indicate one of the bones is lodged in your dog’s throat.
If your dog has already ingested the cooked bones and does not seem to be in any distress then the next step is to make sure your dog will be able to pass the bone with ease. If your dog has already gotten the bones down without choking, odds are they will be ok, but it important to keep a vigilant watch over them for the next few days to make sure the bones are passed through their stool. Giving your dog something soft like white bread will act as a cushion in their stomach, protecting their delicate stomach lining from being scratched by the jagged edges of the bones.
Perforation of organs is a very real threat whenever any sharp object is ingested by your dog, and internal bleeding is a life-threatening emergency that requires prompt medical attention. For the next few days it is imperative that you watch your dogs for any signs of difficulty defecating, bloody stool, vomiting, stomach swelling, nervous/anxious behavior, abdominal discomfort or any other not quite normal behaviors, and seek medical attention if your dog exhibits any one of these symptoms. You should start seeing signs of the bones being passed within 12-48 hours after ingestion, if you still have not any bone pieces, fragments after 72 hours your should take your dog into the vet for x-rays to see if there is any sort of intestinal blockage.
If your dog ate raw bones this is a completely different scenario, in fact, many owners choose to feed their pets with raw bones as a way of adding vitamins and minerals to their diet. Raw bones and cooked bones also have very different compositions – cooked bones are very flaky and tend to splinter easily, whereas raw bones are more dense and take a lot longer to break apart and chew. Raw bones should only be fed to your dog under supervision so you can make sure they have not “bitten off more than they could chew”. Anytime a dog has eaten a bone, cooked or raw, without being supervised they need to be closely watched for signs of trouble.
The best treatment for this situation is to learn from it and take steps to make sure it does not happen again. Getting a more sturdy trashcan, keeping a better eye on Tank while you watch the game with your buddies and making sure table scraps are not in a place easily accessible to your pup are great ways to prevent your dog from getting into trouble with bone ingestion. Most of all, try not to excessively worry, odds are your dog will be just fine as a result of sneaking a super tasty treat:) Remember – accidents happen! Beating yourself up about the situation is not going to change anything, nor will it make your dog feel any better.
For more information on the dangers of cooked bones for dogs read – 10 Reasons Why Bones Are Bad For Dogs