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Are chicken bones bad for dogs?

Species: Dog
Breed: Shepherd
Age: 5-8 years
Bobby has a very sensitive stomach. He has been vomiting lately. We gave him some chicken bones last night and I think that this may be the problem. He also had some diarrhea with blood. I am worried that the chicken bones are cutting his intestines. Please help.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi, this is Dr. Marie here.

I have a few questions for you about "Bobby".

Is he still bright and alert?
Can you check his gums are they pink or white?
How is his appetite?



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

He still wants to play ball and seems to be happy. He doesn't want to eat as much as usual. His gums look pink.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

OK, thanks for that info!

While I definitely don't recommend feeding chicken bones to a dog, they usually do get dissolved in the stomach and rarely cause an intestinal obstruction. However, any new food or treat (such as the chicken bones) can cause inflammation in the intestines which can cause diarrhea with blood.

There are many different causes for vomiting and diarrhea. The most common cause is a gastritis/enteritis which is an upset intestinal tract usually resulting from a change in food or eating a new type of treat or table food.

The next possibility is that your dog has pancreatitis. It causes vomiting and sometimes diarrhea. Usually the front of the abdomen (just behind the ribs) is extremely painful in pancreatitis. The treatment for this disease is hospitalization with IV fluids and pain and anti-vomiting medicines.

The next possiblity is that your dog has swallowed an object that he shouldn't have causing an intestinal or stomach obstruction.

If your dog is not vaccinated, another possibility is parvo virus. This is more common in puppies, but can happen at any age. It usually causes great amounts of bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

It is also possible that your dog has a problem with his liver or kidneys as well which is a serious matter.

If your dog is still fairly bright and alert then you do not need to rush him in to the vet right away. You can try fasting him for 12-24 hours and then feeding a small amount of cooked chicken and rice. If he keeps this down then feed him this for a couple of days and then gradually mix in his regular food.

Some dogs with mild stomach upset will benefit from pepcid. If you would like to try this there is information on pros and cons and dosing found here:
http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/famotidine-pepcid/page1.aspx

If he is not bright then you can try giving him a small amount of "pedialyte" to get him through tonight and he should be seen in the morning. If you think he is extremely uncomfortable then an emergency visit is in order.

Hope he does ok!

Dr. Marie



Customer reply:

Is "pedialyte" a prescription thing?
How long before he stops having diarrhea?

by the way...thank you for getting back to us so quickly! We are very worried! Your help is saving us a trip to the emergency vet!


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome!

"Pedialyte" is available over the counter at any pharmacy.

The diarrhea should resolve right after the 24 hour period of fasting.

Remember though, if he does seem like he is getting worse then he should see the vet!

Dr. Marie



Customer reply:

Thank you so much!


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome!
Dr. Marie.

Related question: My dog is pooping blood.




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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.