My Dog Ate Fishbones

My Dog Ate Fishbones

Last Updated: August 18, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

There are three main reasons why fish bones are bad for dogs. First, choking could occur if they get stuck. Second, the blockage may occur if they get stuck. Third, the fish bones might cut or perforate an organ.

The purpose of this article is to explain the “My Dog Ate Fishbones“.

It is easy to see the appeal of feeding our dogs omega oils with all the talk about how powerful they are for our health and for the health of our dogs.

My Dog Ate Fishbones

As a matter of fact fish is very attractive to dogs.

First of all it has an extremely strong odor. 

What about scavenging the bones? It would not be noticed by anyone if no one is looking right?

Here I want to explore what you should do if your dog eats fish bones and whether it is safe to prepare them for your dog.

1. Are fish bones bad for dogs? Why?

There are three main reasons why fish bones are bad for dogs

  1. Choking could occur if they get stuck 
  2. in the middle and block the air passage
  3. The fish bones might cut or perforate an organ


You might have experienced getting a fishbone caught in your throat before because they are fiddly and spindly. 

A fishbone wound up stuck in my (ex) wifes throat once and no matter what she tried (cough drink water or have her back slapped) the damn thing wouldnot come out so I ended up taking her to the ER or A&E. 

Imagine how dangerous a fishbone is to a dog when they do not pay as much attention to what they eat as my ex-wife did!

Our dogs are at risk of choking from fish bones because they are a choking hazard. 

Getting them out of a bind can be a major challenge. 

Your dog will not be able to dislodge those pesky bones by coughing or retching.

Your dog might be able to induce vomiting but it carries its own risks.

It is possible for bones to be dislodged from one position and then get stuck in another.

If you’re interested in giving it a try here are some instructions.  

A third technique you might try is the Heimlich Maneuver and yes it can be performed on a dog!

If your dog has a prolonged coughing fit you should take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. 


Your dog still hasnot overcome the problem if he does not have a choking fit. 

It is still possible for the bones to get stuck in their stomachs or intestines.

Your veterinarian will need to examine you if this happens.

You should watch out for the following symptoms:

  1. Bloody stools 
  2. Diarrhea 
  3. Vomiting of partially digested food or 
  4. Constipation.

It might take 24 hours for you to notice these symptoms.

2. A word about fish heads

While the general focus of this article is on fish bones I would like to discuss fish heads at this point.

Some people do not give their dogs fish bones but occasionally give them a fish head as a treat. 

Especially if you buy fish at a local market or fishmonger.

There is no doubt that your dog will be standing very close to you when you are getting them ready for the grill.

Is there anything wrong with giving them a fish head?

Its possible.

Fish heads are just hard masses of bone cartilage and brain.

Furthermore if the head is not chewed properly before it is swallowed it can become a choking hazard or blocking hazard.  

3. Perforated organ

These hazards are beginning to pile up aren’t they?

My final concern is when a fishbone scratches or perforates one of your dogs organs.

This can lead to a potentially life-threatening condition called peritonitis an inflammation of the abdominal wall. 

Let me emphasize at the outset that it is very unlikely that your dog will die of peritonitis from eating fish bones.

Nevertheless since its a possibility let me briefly discuss it. 

There is a real danger of death from this condition. Dogs with peritonitis are at risk of dying 50% to 70% of the time. 

Perforation of an internal organ is the most common cause of peritonitis (


In dogs there are several symptoms of peritonitis.

The following are among them:

  • Breathing rapidly
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • The inability to lie down (as a result of sore stomachs.)

Yet it is possible for your dog to eat fish bones and be perfectly fine you just never know.

4. Are cooked fish bones better than raw fish bones?

The first thing I thought about this issue was that cooked fish bones will be safer than raw ones because they will be softer.

However cooking them first would not make them softer.

It is likely that cooking fish bones will make them harder and more dangerous just like cooking rib bones from pigs or cows.

Cooked bones have a higher chance of breaking or splintering when they are chewed by dogs. 

5. Are there safer alternatives to feeding dogfish bones?

You can get a lot of nutrition from fish bones. 

Vitamin A omega 3 iron zinc and calcium are found in high concentrations in these foods. 

Due to how easily animals can absorb calcium from fish bones they are excellent sources of calcium. 

The study shows how beneficial it is to young men and the study shows how beneficial it is to pigs.

However there are three other calcium alternatives for dogs:

  1. The ground bone
  2. Dark leafy greens
  3. Yogurt

6. What is the safest way of preparing fish for my dogs?

The good news is that dogs can still eat fish despite all the doom and gloom.

Fish is best cooked either gently steamed or grilled for dogs.

Do not use any seasoning or oil when you are doing this.

It is then possible to separate all the meat from the skeleton after the meat has been cooked.

 Once swallowed the fish head could get stuck anywhere almost like a cork. Discard the fish head as well.

You can give your dog canned fish instead of cooking your own fish such as chunks of tuna. 

When buying tuna in tins choose brined tuna rather than oil- or tomato-based tuna.

You should only feed fish to your dog occasionally since it contains a lot of calories. 

How to give your dog fish bones

Several of you will have difficulty not giving fish bones to your pets.

People either are in the camp of “I fed fish bones to my dog my whole life” or they are in the camp of “I do not like a waste.”

Both positions are understandable to me.

Alternatively if you hate the idea of waste you could feed fish bones and heads to your dog in a different manner.

You can use them to make fish broth.

In this way you get the best of both worlds.

This recipe for fishbone broth is very simple. 

To ensure that you catch all of the melted fish bones make sure you strain the broth through a very fine cloth or strainer with very very small holes!

7. My dog ate fish bones. What should I do?

You should always remember that no matter if you give your dog fish bones or if they scavenge fish bones your dog will be fine.

The fish bones are unlikely to choke your dog cause a blockage in their system or scratch an internal organ.

The bones and heads of fish however can cause all three of these problems for your dog.

It is likely that your veterinarian will need to spend a lot of money to solve these problems.

Is it really worth the risk to feed your dog fish bones after all? 

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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