Can Dogs Eat Chicken Bones?

Written by: Milica Brzakovic
Should dogs eat bones or not - one of the most controversial topics when it comes to dog nutrition. In this article we're focusing on chicken bones and weighting the pros and the cons on this subject.

Should you or should you not give bones to your dog?

This is such a controversial topic and it seems like everyone is saying something different!

So, let’s take a look at why this is such a difficult question to answer.

Dogs love to eat and will try almost everything they come across. However, that doesn’t make this appropriate and they can end up eating something that’s bad for them. Therefore, it’s your responsibility as a dog owner to know what’s okay and what’s not.

When you type the words dog and chicken bones a lot of of warnings and solutions come up. However, it’s important to consider the entire picture and not to draw a conclusion from a sentence out of context.

This is why we want to explore both sides – both the pros and the cons when it comes to giving chicken bones to your dog. So, let’s get started!

Should Dogs Eat Chicken Bones?

As you can imagine, there is not a simple yes or no answer! There are both benefits and downsides to this matter. However, it’s important to distinguish raw chicken bones from cooked ones. The general rule being – raw bones are safe while cooked ones should be avoided.

So, let’s take a look at why they are so dangerous, but also what benefits can come from raw chicken bones. But first of all, let’s explain the difference between raw and cooked bones.

Should dogs eat cooked chicken? In general, cooked meat such as cooked chicken or cooked beef are safe for dogs. Add it to dry food from time to time, or serve as ocassional treat.

Raw VS Cooked Bones

The reason why raw bones are safe while the cooked ones aren’t is the fact that raw bones are much more flexible. This means that they won’t break as your dog chews on them while the cooked ones can splinter and cause big problems.

Raw bones on the other hand are soft and can be digested easily. Raw chicken bones are usually perfectly safe for dogs and, what more is, they can even thrive on them! However, that doesn’t mean there’s no risk at all, as they can present a choking hazard to big dogs.

In order for it to become clearer, we’ve created a pro and con list on feeding raw bones to your dog.


  • Raw chicken bones are rich in valuable nutrients for dogs, such as calcium and phosphorus
  • Chewing stimulates the jaw and can prevent boredom in dogs
  • Chewing stimulates saliva flow and contributes to a good oral hygiene
  • They guard against problems with your dog’s anal glands


  • Sharp bones can injure your dog’s mouth
  • They can get stuck and cause constipation or obstructions in the digestive tract
  • They can cause rectal bleeding
  • Even though raw bones don’t splinter they can contain bacteria and cause diarrhea and sickness

Why Are Cooked Chicken Bones Dangerous?

As mentioned, cooked chicken bones tend to splinter and break while you’re dog is chewing on them. This is the main reason why they should be off-limits to your dog as it can lead to many dangerous problems.

First of all, your dog can choke on the broken pieces. Second, they can get lodged in your dog’s mouth, throat and internal organs. Finally, you dog can get peritonitis, a bacterial infection as a result of punctured intestines and stomach.

These are all really dangerous issues that require veterinary intervention. In many cases, medical interventions are necessary. This is why you have to keep the cooked bones away from your dog. Keep the leftovers out of reach and if you know that your dog can go through the trash from time to time, don’t throw the chicken bones in there.

What Do I Do If My Dog Ate A Cooked Chicken Bone?

If you suspect or know that your dog came across a cooked bone and ate it you need to monitor him for a few days and see what happens. Unfortunately, there’s nothing else you can do except be there for your dog. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your dog hack like something is caught in its throat?
  • Is its abdomen bloated?
  • Is your dog straining to pass a stool?
  • Do you notice any blood in his stool or rectal bleeding?
  • Is your dog lethargic?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions you should take your dog to the vet immediately. X-rays may be necessary to determine if something is stuck in the stomach or intestines. In some cases, an intervention will be necessary.

However, chances are everything will be fine and your dog won’t have any consequences. These couple of days while you’re waiting will be very tough, we know, but it’s important you’re there for your dog the entire time.

You can try to “cushion” the swallowed bones by overfeeding him a bit during those days. For instance, cooked rice that is completely cooled is great for your dog’s stomach and digestive tract and could be of help. White bread is also a good idea.

The bottom line is – monitor your dog closely for the following 72 hours. Even though no problems might occur you still have to be on the safe side and watch out for possible symptoms.

Things To Have In Mind When Feeding Your Dog Bones

We’re back to raw bones now. Having said that cooked bones can be really dangerous and should be avoided, we can focus on what to think about when serving raw bones. If you decide that that’s something you want for your dog, here are a few things to remember.

As we already mentioned, raw bones can be beneficial and don’t tend to break and get stuck like the cooked ones. However, chicken thighbones have a needle-like bone you should beware of. This fibula is connected to the bigger, main bone tibia and can create the same problems as cooked bones!

So, if you’re giving your dog a chicken thigh make sure to remove this bone before, as it could end up piercing your dog’s mouth. But if you remove it there should be no problems, like with any raw bone.

If you don’t want the hassle, just go with the chicken neck or the wings. That way you don’t have to prepare anything beforehand.

Another thing to consider is giving very small bones to your big dog. If you have a big dog you should maybe consider bigger bones, not chicken ones. Vice versa, if you have a very small dog don’t give too big bones as they could end up hurting your dog. Whatever the situation, always consult your vet before as he or she will be able to give you an advice.


This is a topic that never stops to cause reactions! Even though every dog owner has to decide what’s best for them and their dog, there are still a couple of conclusions that could be withdrawn.

First, it’s important not to treat cooked and raw bones the same way. While cooked bones are very dangerous and can cause problems, raw bones are usually safe to eat.

Second, raw bones can be very beneficial as they’re rich in calcium and phosphorous and they can keep the jaw and mouth healthy.

Third, if your dog accidentally has eaten cooked chicken bones monitor carefully for signs like blood in the stool, lethargy, choking etc. If you notice any of the following, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.

To sum it up – it’s your obligation to keep all cooked bones away from your dog, but it’s up to you to decide whether you want to give your dog raw bones or not!