My Dog Ate a Chicken Bone – Should I Worry?

As a dog owner, you know how tempting it can be to feed them leftovers. My pup Senzu loves the smell of that Costco rotisserie chicken and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t give him some under the table every once in a while.

However, it’s super important to be cautious of what they are fed since chicken bones can actually be extremely dangerous for dogs if it doesn’t digest properly. Typically, the smaller the dog, the more at risk your pup could be of having a more serious complication.

In this article we’ll discuss what you should do if your dog ate a chicken bone and what actions you can take to ensure their health.

Key Takeaways

  • Chicken bones can be dangerous for dogs and cause choking or puncture the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Monitoring for signs of pain or discomfort in the first 24 hours is crucial.
  • If the chicken bone does not digest properly, vets can remove it.
Dog eats a chicken leg

Why Chicken Bones Can Be Dangerous For Dogs

When your dog ingests a chicken bone, typically it will get dissolved by stomach acids. However, larger bones or chicken bones ate by smaller dogs can get stuck in their esophagus, causing them to choke.

If the bone continues to pass through their esophagus, it can get stuck in their stomach or intestines, leading to blockages. The sharp edges of the chicken bones can also puncture the digestive tract (GI), causing internal bleeding, infections, and other complications.

The danger of your dog eating a chicken bone lies in whether or not the bone is digested properly and how quick you can take action if it hasn’t.

What Should I Do After My Dog Ate A Chicken Bone?

If your dog ate a chicken bone, most of the time it will be naturally digested. However, it’s extremely important that you monitor their behavior and contact a vet if they are showing any signs of distress. Here is a step by step guide on how to navigate this period:

1. Monitor Your Dog’s Behavior

Keep a close eye on your dog’s behavior for the first 24 hours after ingestion. Look for signs of discomfort, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

In addition, observe your dog’s bowel movements. If your dog appears to be constipated or is having difficulty passing stool, this could be a sign that the bone is causing an obstruction in the digestive tract.

2. Contact a Veterinarian

If your dog has ingested a chicken bone and is showing signs of pain or discomfort, it is important to contact your veterinarian right away. They can advise you on the best course of action based on your dog’s breed, size, and overall health.

If the bone has already passed through your dog’s system, your veterinarian may recommend monitoring your dog’s behavior for any signs of complications.

3. Bread and Water

Whenever your pup is at risk with potential esophagus or digestion related issues feeding them a piece of white bread or sourdough with a little bit of peanut butter can be extremely beneficial. This is because it will not only help coat the esophagus, but it will promote the production of more stomach acid to help with digestion.

Consider giving you pup this little snack and extra water. If you notice them display any discomfort while eating, it’s a good indication you should take them to your vet immediately instead of waiting 24 hours.

Signs and Symptoms of Distress

If your dog has eaten a chicken bone, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of distress. This will help you to identify if your dog is experiencing any issues and to take the appropriate action.

Physical Distress

There are a number of physical symptoms that may indicate that your dog has eaten a chicken bone. These can include lethargy, constipation, straining to defecate, bloody stool, vomiting, abdominal bloating, and discomfort. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek veterinary attention immediately.

In some cases, chicken bones can splinter and puncture tissue, causing blockages in the intestines. This can be a serious issue that requires immediate medical attention. If you suspect that your dog may have a blockage, it’s important to seek veterinary attention right away.

Behavioural Changes

In addition to physical symptoms, your dog may also exhibit behavioural changes if they have eaten a chicken bone. These can include restlessness, irritability, and a lack of appetite. If you notice any of these changes in your dog, it’s important to monitor them closely and seek veterinary attention if necessary.

Not all dogs will exhibit symptoms if they have eaten a chicken bone. Some dogs may be able to pass the bone without any issues. However, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and seek veterinary attention if you suspect that your dog is visibly bothered after eating a chicken bone.

Taking To The Vet

If your dog has eaten a chicken bone and is in pain, it’s important to take them to the vet as soon as possible. The vet will assess your dog’s condition and recommend the best course of treatment. Here are some common veterinary treatments for dogs that have eaten chicken bones:


The vet may perform an X-ray to determine if the chicken bone has caused any damage to your dog’s digestive tract. X-rays can also show if the bone has broken into smaller pieces that could cause further problems. If the X-ray shows that the bone is still intact, the vet may recommend waiting for it to pass naturally.


If the bone is stuck in your dog’s stomach or intestines, the vet may recommend an endoscopy. During an endoscopy, a small camera is inserted into your dog’s digestive tract to locate and remove the bone. This procedure is minimally invasive and can often be done on an outpatient basis.


In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the bone. This is usually only recommended if the bone has caused a blockage or has perforated the digestive tract. Surgery is a more invasive procedure and requires your dog to be under anesthesia.

Preventing Future Incidents

One way to prevent your dog from eating chicken bones is to provide them with safe alternatives. There are many types of dog bones and chews available that are specifically designed to be safe for dogs to chew on. Some popular options include:

  • Rawhide chews
  • Bully sticks
  • Antlers
  • Dental chews

When choosing a bone or chew for your dog, make sure to select one that is appropriate for their size and chewing habits.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the symptoms of a dog swallowing a chicken bone?

If your dog has swallowed a chicken bone, they may show signs of discomfort, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation. They may also refuse to eat or drink, and may seem lethargic or depressed. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your veterinarian right away.

How long does it take for a dog to pass a chicken bone?

The time it takes for a dog to pass a chicken bone can vary depending on the size of the bone and the size of the dog. In general, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days for a dog to pass a chicken bone. However, if your dog is showing signs of discomfort or is unable to pass the bone, it is important to contact your veterinarian right away.

What should I do if my dog eats a chicken bone?

If your dog eats a chicken bone, the first thing you should do is assess the situation. If your dog has only eaten a small bone or two, they will usually be able to pass them without issue. However, if they have eaten a large amount or the bones were particularly sharp, you may need to call the vet. It is also important to monitor your dog for any signs of discomfort or illness.

Can dogs eat and digest chicken bones?

Dogs have been eating bones for thousands of years, and most of the time, they can process them just fine. However, it is important to note that not all bones are created equal, and some, like chicken bones, can pose risks due to their potential to splinter. It is generally recommended to avoid giving your dog chicken bones.

What happens if a dog eats a chicken bone?

If a dog eats a chicken bone, it can potentially cause a blockage in their digestive system, which can be very dangerous. The bone can also splinter and puncture the gastrointestinal tract, which can cause pain, discomfort, and even death in severe cases.

How much bread should I give my dog after eating chicken bones?

Giving your dog bread after they have eaten chicken bones is a common home remedy. The bread can help to cushion the bones and make them easier to pass. However, it is important to note that bread should not be used as a substitute for veterinary care. If your dog has eaten chicken bones, it is important to contact your veterinarian right away.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!

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