Why Dogs Don't Eat Chicken Bones



Although canines love chicken bones, or really bones of any kind, they should never be allowed to chew on them. In fact, you should never ever give your canine chicken or turkey bones. This could be incredibly deadly to your canine at the worst and awfully painful in the best scenarios. Other types of bones can have the same issues, but not many are as dangerous to give to your dog as chicken bones can be. So with all this in mind, if your dog is one of the few that does not like chicken bones, well then just count your blessings.

The Root of the Behavior

The problem with chicken bones comes in the brittle nature of the bones themselves. Chicken bones don't break like all other types of bones might, but instead they shatter. This shattering causes sharp edges and corners on the bones and when swallowed can create huge cuts and lacerations in the esophagus. These sharp edges could cause the bone to get stuck in the throat and cause your canine to choke. Chicken bones kill many dogs every year. If your dog does not like chicken bones, it is almost certainly because they have had a bad experience with them in the past. If they had tried to eat one and it caused them a lot of pain, which is probably what it did, then your canine has likely associated that pain with the bone and does not want anything to do with them.

If you intend to give your dog bones, there are a million better choices to choose from. Likely the best option is in the form of deer antlers, but these even have their draw backs. A deer antler is unlikely to break off into sharp fragments like a chicken bone would, but they are incredibly strong bones. The hardness of these bones can cause your canine to chip or break teeth in the rear of their mouth. This is especially common in breeds with locking jaws or a high bite strength. Broken teeth in a canine can lead to infections in the mouth and of course a lot of pain when the tooth breaks. It will likely end up costing you a rather large dental bill as the chance of infection will just increase as time goes on. Vets would often recommend not using bones at all and instead go with a chew toy that is softer and better suited to canines.

Encouraging the Behavior

Instead of trying to convince your canine to just stay away from chicken bones, the best path forward is just to keep them away from your dog as best you can. If your canine likes to dig through your garbage and root out food, then anytime you may have chicken bones in there, take them out and dispose of them so your dog cannot have access to them. Canines are not likely able to associate the chicken bone from any other type of bone, so if they like bones they are likely to go after it.

Chicken bones that are cooked become more likely to splinter than raw or uncooked chicken bones. Uncooked chicken bones may be more acceptable to give your dog, but still not a great idea. Even though they are less likely to shatter and splinter, uncooked chicken bones can have harmful bacteria such as salmonella that could cause other medical concerns. This can lead to vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration. Not all bones are best for all breeds. Work with an animal nutritionist or veterinarian to figure out which bones are going to be the best ones for your canine in particular and which ones you should desperately try and stay away from.  

Other Solutions and Considerations

If you intend to give your canine bones anyway, allow it for a shorter duration each day. Aim for around twenty minutes to a half hour. The benefits of this can be quite good as bones will help them to clean their mouth. Make sure your dogs bone is free from harmful bacteria by storing it in the fridge when it is not in use. Consider cleaning it with vinegar occasionally, as vinegar will kill off many forms of harmful bacteria while being completely safe for your dog to ingest. Make sure any bone your intend to give your dog is uncooked, as any cooked bone is going to be far more likely to splinter.


Chicken bones can be quite dangerous for your dog, which is a bummer considering how much dogs clearly seem to love them. It is best to keep them out of sight and out of mind, but if you do give your dog some chicken bones, make sure they are clean and uncooked for the sake of your canines health.