Is it OK for dogs to eat raw chicken bones?

Most of us consider it a fact that dogs love bones. I mean — why not? They have a delicious and nutritious treat inside in the form of bone marrow. Humans have assumed for many years that it was fine to give dogs bones, but what do the veterinary professionals say? Well, it depends on the vet, and it depends on the type of bone you are proposing.

In this article, we will examine whether you should feed your dog raw chicken bones and why. Let’s delve into the facts.

Is it OK for dogs to eat raw chicken bones?

It seems today that everyone is in disagreement about whether to give dogs bones, but most everyone agrees that it’s a bad idea to give your dog cooked chicken bones. Cooked chicken bones get hard and brittle, and they easily splinter rendering sharp edges that can injure your dog’s mouth or even injure them internally. What about raw chicken bones, though — are they any better? The answer is — it depends on who you ask. Well, here are the facts, and you can decide whether raw chicken bones are worth the risk.

Raw chicken bones are soft and pliable and don’t tend to splinter.

You should never feed your dog dry, brittle cooked chicken bones. While cooked chicken bones are hard and splinter easily, raw chicken bones stay soft. They are pliable, and they don’t tend to splinter, so they are a much safer choice than cooked chicken bones if you insist on giving your dog chicken bones.

Raw chicken bones are similar to a dog’s natural diet.

Dogs are descendants of wolves, so raw chicken bones are a much closer example of their natural diet than kibble, but many, while definitely not all, veterinary professionals recommend against feeding your dog raw chicken bones because of salmonella. They say that salmonella bacteria can make your dog sick just like it can make you sick, but professionals even argue about this, some saying that dogs are better able to fight off salmonella than humans.

If you must feed your dog chicken bones, feed only raw chicken bones and never cooked chicken bones.

Most people agree that it’s best to only feed dogs raw, large bones, like those of cows and bison, since they are so large that they cannot be swallowed whole, and they won’t splinter like small bones (e.g., pork and chicken bones). Large bones like this must be chewed off in manageable pieces that aren’t likely to cause an obstruction or tear the intestines of your dog.

What happens if my dog eats a raw chicken bone?

So, you want to know the consequences of your dog eating a raw chicken bone. It is true — your dog may be able to eat a chicken bone and be just fine, but there are dangers associated with your dog eating chicken bones, and here they are.

Why shouldn’t I feed my dog cooked chicken bones?

Cooked chicken bones become brittle and hard and can splinter and cause tears in your dog’s mouth, espohagus, and throughout the GI tract. Hard bones can crack and break off your dog’s teeth, and sharp and irregularly-shaped pieces of bone can also cause an obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract. Obstructions can cut off blood flow to the affected area. This is a mortal issue and should be addressed by a veterinary professional immediately upon discovery or even strong suspicion. 

Is there any reason why I shouldn’t give my dog a raw chicken bone?

The main reason most veterinary professionals give when they warn against raw chicken bones is salmonella bacteria. Dogs can get sick from salmonella just like humans, but many professionals say that dogs are better able to fight off bad bacteria than humans.

Should I give my dog chicken bones at all?

Most people say that — no, you should not give your dog chicken bones at all. Others say it’s fine to give raw chicken bones, just not cooked chicken bones. The AKC (American Kennel Club) states that it is not OK to give any kind of small bone (i.e., pork, chicken bones) to your dog but that it’s fine to serve them raw, large bones, like those of cows or bison.

What to do if my dog eats a raw chicken bone?

If your dog eats a raw chicken bone, they may be fine, but any time a dog eats a bone of any kind, you should keep a close eye on them for the next 72 hours. While a jagged edge on the end of a bone can cause a gash inside your dog’s mouth, which will show signs immediately like fresh blood, a blockage of the lower GI tract can take as many as 72 hours to manifest.

If you notice your dog salivating abnormally or coughing, they may have a bone lodged in their throat. If you notice any loss of appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea that doesn’t dissipate within 2-3 hours, take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.