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Dr. Keri
Dr. Keri, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 346
Experience:  17 years companion animal medicine experience
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What to do if my dog ate a chicken leg bone?

Resolved Question:

My dog just ate a chicken bone. I believe it was a leg bone. She did chew it up and does not seem in any distress choking or gagging. What should I do? She is a 80 pound golden retriever.

Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Keri replied 8 years ago.


I am assuming this is a cooked chicken bone. A raw bone would be unlikely to cause a problem (though it could), but cooked bones are very brittle and because they are hollow, they tend to splinter and can cause real problems.

Because they do tend to be sharp, this is one of the items that we do not induce vomiting with, as it can cause damage to the esophagus on the way back up. Now it becomes a waiting game to see if it passes. I will tell you some things you can do to help it pass and also make sure you know what to watch for...things that would indicate you need to take her in.

First of all to help her pass this item we want to do three things:

  1. Give her 1 tablespoon dark karos syrup or 1/2 cup pear juice every 8 hours. These two products have a large sugar molecule that will draw fluid into her intestines and it will decrease the time it takes to get to the "back door"
  2. Second we want to bulk up her stool so it can pass easier and with less chance of damage. To do this you have several choices. My favorite is canned could use 1/2 cup every 8 hours. If you don't have canned pumpkin you can substitute canned peas or 1 tablespoon psyllium husks.
  3. Lastly we want to get more fluids in her to help it pass more easily. You can feed her chicken broth which will cause her to be thirsty and make her want to to drink more on her own.

So those are the three tools you are going to use. Now you need to know what to watch for in case things aren't passing as they should.

If you see any of the following, I would take her in for an exam and x rays:

  • not interested in eating at all
  • fever (greater than 102.5)
  • vomiting
  • no bowel movement or liquid diarrhea develops
  • very depressed

Those are the things you need to pay attention to.

You would be surprised how many dogs pass chicken bones without a problem. Just watch her carefully and follow the plan above and you will make it through this!

Let me know if you have any more questions.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

It was a cooked bone.

We have given her the pear juice, pumpkin and chicken broth... all of which she found very delicious!

How long before we should expect to see the bones come out in her stools? How long before all of the bones should pass? Does the above work for the majority of dogs?

Thank you for your help.

Expert:  Dr. Keri replied 8 years ago.

You should expect the bones to pass within 24-48 hours. Sometimes you don't see much if you don't put on a glove and go through the stool. It can be just small pieces of bone fragments that pass. You are unlikey to see something that would stand out as a don't be alarmed if you don't see anything at long as she is acting normal and has normal bowel movements (they may be on the soft side from the pear juice), you won't have anything to worry about.

Try not to worry...I am glad you have already given her all her goodies!

Keep me posted!

And yes, I would say passing them is the general rule...ending up with an obstruction or perforation is the exception. But since there are always "exceptions" you do have to watch her.

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