The Short Answer is:
It’s a life-threatening issue that a bone splinter can lodge in a dog’s esophagus causing the dog to choke. The Heimlich maneuver should be performed immediately in this case or your dog might not survive to the vet. The dog may experience some of the following symptoms.
The purpose of this research is to explain the “What Are The Symptoms Of A Dog’s Bone That Has Splintered?“.
- Why do dogs chew bones?
- Why do dog bones splinter?
- What are the symptoms of bone splintering in a dog?
- Can a dog’s stomach digest a bone?
- Internal bleeding and intestinal blockage
- Rawbone vs cooked bone – which should you feed your dog?
- What are the best types of bone to feed your dog?
- At what age should I start feeding bones to my puppy?
- Key Takeaway
- What Are The Symptoms Of A Dog’s Bone That Has Splintered? (Watch Video)
Dogs love bones so why not give them one? In fact many pet owners will gladly throw leftover bones to their beloved companions.
The dog will probably be perfectly fine and grateful for the treat but there is always the possibility that the bone might splinter and cause a lot of damage.
Check out these common bone splinter problems and learn which bones make the best dog treats.
Why do dogs chew bones?
The issue of whether or not to give dogs bones is a contentious one. While some veterinarians argue that dogs should not consume bones experienced owners know that theres usually no harm done if you know what bones are safe. Is it really necessary to give dogs bones when you have a large bag of kibble in your pantry?
Its true. Dogs have been eating meat and bones for thousands of years and they’re still around are not they?
Dogs chew on bones as a natural instinct and should indulge in it at least once in a while. If its chewing needs are not met a dog may lick its paws or scratch itself until it bleeds.
Keep your dogs teeth healthy by letting them chew bones. It is natural and hassle-free.
Bones provide a lot of good nutrients for dogs including calcium which is good for their own bones. One of the main reasons dogs become obsessed with bones is that they lack certain nutrients although this is not always the case.
Dogs benefit from the stimulation provided by bones. If your dog is on a commercially available food diet then their regular chow is always the same. There is nothing exciting or surprising about a bowl of kibble it is just like the next one.
Working their way around a bone polishing every last piece of meat or sucking them dry of that juicy marrow now thats something else. A job well-done rewards the dogs brain and its a challenge the dog really enjoys. That feeling you get when you scoop out the last bit of ice cream.
Why do dog bones splinter?
While this is a serious issue you should keep in mind that not all types of bones pose the same risk. Bones from chickens and birds are the most dangerous as they are small and less dense than those from pork or beef. The bones of poultry and birds are light and filled with air. To fly they need bones that are light. Of course chickens cannot fly. These bones are prone to splintering when chewed by the dog. You should also be careful with small pork bones by the way since this can happen to them as well.
What are the symptoms of bone splintering in a dog?
Some dog owners will tell you its fine to give their pets bones but vets know differently and have plenty of horror stories to share.
Splinter lodged in the esophagus
Its a life-threatening issue that a bone splinter can lodge in a dogs esophagus causing the dog to choke. The Heimlich maneuver should be performed immediately in this case or your dog might not survive to the vet.
It is also possible that the bone splinter is small enough to allow the dog to breathe but it is still lodged in the esophagus. The dog may experience some of the following symptoms.
- With a desire to vomit
- Drooling excessively
- The dog rubbed his head against the floor as he tried to remove the obstruction
- There was an overall feeling of discomfort
You should open the dogs mouth as wide as possible and see if you can remove the bone splinter yourself. Theres no need to worry as your dog would not be able to object at this point. This is not an easy process and special instruments may be required so head over to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Can a dog’s stomach digest a bone?
There are reasons to be cautiously optimistic if the bone fragments reach the dogs stomach. In most cases the bone will be digested by the dogs stomach.
Bones can normally be disintegrated by digestive acids so they can be passed without causing any issues. Attempt to coat the sharp ends of the bone with a piece of bread if you are concerned that your dogs chewing is causing the bone to splinter.
You should not attempt to induce vomiting as a splinter might cause even more damage when it travels up.
Whatever the case it is important to keep an eye on your dogs stools. In the next 24 hours if everything goes well and the bone splinters dissolve they will pass through. Most of the time your pets poop will not be different although a large bone can cause constipation due to its high calcium content.
Internal bleeding and intestinal blockage
When splinters find their way into the dogs intestines it becomes tricky. The lining of the intestine can be damaged or punctured by sharp splinters. Peritonitis an infection of the abdomen caused by the contents of the intestines can kill your pet if left untreated.
The splinter can also become stuck and cause a partial or complete intestinal blockage which can be life-threatening.
The following symptoms indicate that the splinter has damaged the dogs bowels.
- An abdomen that is tender and distended
- Loss of appetite
- Grieving or growling signs of distress
- Pacing and being unable to find a comfortable position
- Bloody stools
- Rectal bleeding
- Straining to urinate
If any of these symptoms occur after the dog eats some bones you should schedule an appointment right away with your veterinarian. When a dog has an intestinal obstruction surgery is usually required to remove the obstruction and damage portions of the intestine. The symptoms usually manifest within 24 hours when the bone splinters have made their way into the intestines.
Even if the splinter ends up in your pets rectum it might still cause internal bleeding and he will have a hard time passing it. If you see him straining to poop keep an eye on him for a couple of hours and then call the vet.
Rawbone vs cooked bone – which should you feed your dog?
This is an easy question to answer. Dogs should not be given cooked bones of any kind. By nature dogs were meant to eat and digest raw bones. Its one thing but what really occurs is that any type of cooking makes bones brittle and prone to splintering. The best thing you can do for your dog is to go out and buy some big bones from the butcher. Do not give your dog leftover steak as a treat.
What are the best types of bone to feed your dog?
Chicken and bird bones should be kept away from your dog. Although they can digest them splintering is simply too likely. Whats the point when there are many other bones to satisfy your dog?
Ideally your dog should be fed large bones such as those in a cows leg. Your dog will not be injured by a splintered femur or thigh bone because they are too large and dense to splinter. You should offer your dog marrow bones at least twice a week since they are very nutritious and sometimes even too nutritious.
Pork bones that bear weight such as those found in the legs can be eaten by your pet. Ribs and leg bones should be eaten raw but never cooked.
Lamb ribs and flaps can also be given to your pet but not lamb chops.
At what age should I start feeding bones to my puppy?
By the time permanent teeth appear usually around 12 weeks old puppies should be offered raw bones. A chewed bone can ease teething problems for your pup and provide essential nutrients for a growing animal.
Commercial dog bones are not to be trusted. As most of them are full of preservatives they offer no benefits and can even be dangerous. Such food should never be fed to a dog never mind a puppy!
You should be aware that some types of bones can easily splinter and cause significant problems for your dog. Bones from chickens and birds should be avoided.
Chewing is necessary for dogs so you should offer them large cow bones that they can not break. This will satisfy their chewing instinct.
In the case of a splinter in the dogs esophagus it should be fairly easy to observe and distressing to watch but keep in mind that splinters can also cause an internal hemorrhage or intestinal blockage which can be deadly.
You should never feed your pet cooked bones. Let it eat raw bones as nature intended.
If you want to read more about dog food tips read here: Dog Food Tips and Tricks.