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Dr. Diane
Dr. Diane, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 234
Experience:  20 years experience in small animal medicine, surgery and emergency medicine
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dog swallowed chicken bone - help

Customer Question

On Sunday, my dog swallowed a small but whole chicken
drummie (wing), bone and all. Tonight (Monday), he had a mixed
stool (hard & soft) but no bone came out. Does the bone break
down/dissolve in the stomach? If not, I’m afraid it might get
stuck before he can pass it. How long does it take for food to
usually pass through the system? Should I bring him to the vet
ASAP to get an xray of his bowels?

Worried in Minnesota.

ps. He is eating normal and doesn't appear to be in any pain at
the moment.
Submitted: 12 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Tammy F. replied 12 years ago.

 You can just wait it out and keep an eye on him.  The most common problem with chicken bones is that they will splinter or cause an obstruction.

Keep an eye out for diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy and him just not feeling well.  Any of these symptoms could signify an obstruction and you should seek immediate vet treatment.

Let me know if you have more questions.

Expert:  Dr. Katie replied 12 years ago.
Hi There,
The bone will not break down in the stomach, it will pass as an intact bone. You may see a little blood in you dog's stool as the bone may irritate his intestines.

You don't mention your dog's age or other words, there is less chance of problems with a 6 month old lab than a chihuahua!

Also, for next time, it is always good to feeed them lots of bread when they eat a bone, as it will coat the bone.
Good Luck,
Dr. Katie
Customer: replied 12 years ago.
Reply to's Post: My dog is a smooth collie mix, 4 1/2 years and is approx 62 lbs.

He has not passed the bone yet as of 5 pm Tues (swallowed late
Sun evening). Should I be concerned or will it take longer to pass
than normal digestion? He has had bowel movements since. Not
quite normal but not diarrhea either and no blood in stool. No
vomiting either.

Thank you for your helpful response and will accept upon reply!

Expert:  ZooCVT replied 12 years ago.
I wouldn't worry unless he starts having issues having a bowel movement
or decreased appetite. He may have passed it when you didn't see or its
not causing a problem. You would notice blood in the stool...dark tarry
stools...straining when he goes...or not going at all...if he's not
showing any of those signs then he may have lucked out and its not
causing a problem.

Expert:  Dr. Katie replied 12 years ago.
Hi There Again,
It sounds like you are 'out of the woods'. I feel much better also hearing that your dog weighs 62lbs.
Stay well and good luck,
Expert:  Dr. Diane replied 12 years ago.
Actually bones can be partially digested (depending on the kind and size of the bone) by gastric acid, which facilitates passage into the small intestine.   I've done a lot of rectal exams on dogs that had ingested bones only to find a bunch of ground-up bony material in the stool. So if you don't see exactly what went in come out, don't worry too much. The main thing is that he remain free of symptoms for a few days: such as loss of appetite, lethargy or repeated vomiting or blood in vomit. Sounds like he's doing well so far. Hope this helped!