This article looks at how suitable it is for dogs to eat chicken wing bones.
But before I really get stuck in, I have some chicken wing trivia for you..
Did you know about twelve and a half billion chicken wings are consumed in the US on Super Bowl Sunday alone?
Together with over 28 billion pounds of chips and 8 million pounds of guacamole.
But we will only be thinking about those chicken wings as far as our dogs are concerned…
My dog ate chicken bones. What to do?
Ah yes, the $64 billion dollar question.
What you should do all depends on a range of factors such as the size of the dog, whether they swallowed the bone whole or chewed it up and whether the wing bone was raw or cooked.
Most likely, your dog will be absolutely fine but there are some things that can go wrong.
Are chicken bones good for dogs?
Chicken bones aren’t the greatest sort of animal bone for your dog to eat because for most dogs they are too small.
If you consider the size of any chicken bone compared to the size of a dog’s mouth, they are quite small.
Way too small to gnaw.
And here’s the dilemma for your dog.
Is it better to swallow a chicken wing bone whole?
Do they bite into them or swallow them whole?
Swallowing them whole (for those dogs that like to inhale food instead of eating it) and it could cause a blockage at the back of the throat or further down in the digestive system.
Biting into the bone probably removes the threat of the bone causing an obstruction.
But replaces it with the threat from small and sharp bone fragments moving through the dog’s system possible cutting or grazing the throat or somewhere along the GI tract.
Are chicken wing bones good for dogs?
No- possibly the opposite.
Wing bones can be the worst for this- they are obviously small because when was the last time that you saw a chicken fly?
And they tend to break into sharp pieces- because they aren’t “weight bearing” bones.
This is a good time to introduce my three fundamental rules about letting dogs have bones.
Firstly, raw is better than cooked- because cooked bones are more prone to shatter in sharp edges.
Secondly, weight bearing bones are better for chewing than non weight bearing bones because they are heavier and denser and won’t shatter as easily.
Thirdly, bigger bones are better than smaller bones.
A dog can gnaw on a bigger bone, whereas smaller bones are there to be downed in one (or two.)
Having shared with you my “bone philosophy”, I will now turn my attention to whether chicken wing bones can be eaten by any breed of dog.
Are chicken wing bones suitable for small dogs?
All dogs love to chew bones, even the smallest dogs.
I’m thinking of Chihuahuas, some smaller Spaniel breeds, Bichon Frise and Shih Tzus- you get the picture..
Whilst a chicken wing bone might be the perfect choice size wise because small dogs can’t just swallow them in a mouthful or two, there is still the problem that wing bones are more prone to shatter because they aren’t that dense.
I think a better option for small dogs is a chicken leg bone.
A nice size and a better density.
But there is another reason to be a bit cautious and that is because some smaller breeds of dogs don’t have a great set of teeth.
Their mouths are too small for all their teeth and so their mouths are a bit overcrowded.
If this sounds like your dog, stay away from bones because there is a real risk that they will break the odd tooth or two.
Dog ate a chicken wing and then threw up
The first thing that might happen after your dog ate a wing bone is that they throw up.
Now, this might happen almost immediately after they have eaten the bone or sometime later.
If it happens soon after they have eaten it, that is more comforting because hopefully that will be the end of things.
I guess at this point you could do a bit of “CSI” on the contents and see if the whole bone has come back up or just fragments of it.
If your stomach is strong enough, put your “hazmat” suit on and check it out.
A whole bone or a majority of the bone will be a great sign.
But if you can’t or won’t do this (and I’m in this group because I can stomach the worst diarrhea but not vomit) then just keep a close eye on your dog.
What you must do is to try and get the chicken wing and chuck it in the trash.
And this really is gross but it is so important…
If your dog is anything like mine, just because they have been sick doesn’t mean that they will try and eat the object again
Do they look like they want to vomit again or are they behaving as if nothing has happened?
If your dog looks sorry for themselves and stays looking sorry for themselves for longer than an hour or so, you should call your vets because there might be more of the bone lodged somewhere in their system.
Just because your dog doesn’t regurgitate the chicken wing immediately, doesn’t mean that they won’t.
It might be delayed for a few hours.
If this happens, you might want to be on the lookout for behaviour that indicates your dog wants to be sick.
If this were my dogs it would include pawing at the front or back or just standing by it and looking at me.
Once outside, they would head for some grass to chew and eat.
My dog ate a chicken bone wing and now there is blood in their stool
This is the second possible thing that might happen after your dog ate a chicken wing.
Later on in this article, I explain in quite some detail, how long it will take a dog to digest a bone.
Seeing blood in your dog’s stool is quite frightening because we can’t see what is happening- we only see the result.
It is possible that the blood in the stool has been caused by a bit of sharp bone grazing or cutting part of the digestive system as it travels through.
How severe the injury is difficult to assess.
It partly depends on how much blood that there is in their poop and how often have you seen blood?
Was it just in one lot of poop or several lots of poop?
Another thing to consider is your dog’s level of comfort as they are pooping.
If you are seeing blood and they are straining (mine make a grunting noise when they are struggling to poop) that means that it is more serious.
You should at the very least phone your vet and ask for some advice.
If you have only seen blood in one lot of stool and you have since seen your dog poop with no sign of any more blood, I think that your dog has “dodged a bullet.”
How long will it take a chicken wing bone to pass?
Dogs don’t pass bones, they digest them.
But this I mean that you shouldn’t expect to see any bone fragments appearing in their poop because you won’t.
A dog’s stomach is perfectly designed to digest bone.
Dog’s use acid in their stomachs to help them digest food.
The strength of the acid changes according to whether they are digesting any food and the type of food that is being digested.
At its strongest, the acid in a dog’s stomach has a similar acidity to battery acid.
With the pH equivalent of one, that is incredibly strong- well strong enough to digest bones.
How long does a chicken wing bone take to digest?
How long it takes the bone to digest in the dog’s stomach, is a very interesting question.
Remember that a chicken wing is a very small collection of bones and so in the grand scheme of things it would not be long.
Experts think that once a dog’s stomach is working at full tilt, it takes less than an hour to turn solid bone into chyme.
That’s a great word don’t you think?
Chyme is the semi solid material that passes out of the stomach into the small intestine- part melted bone and part gastric juices…
What I can tell you is that within 24 hours the chicken wing bone would have travelled through your dog’s entire system and come out the other end.
And I know this because last week our dogs had a cow’s leg bone as a rare treat and within 24 hours it was showing in their poop.
But that was a much larger bone and so the poop had the consistency almost of chalk because of all the calcium
If they had eaten a chicken wing, I wouldn’t expect to see anything different in their poop.
Well, they might have a touch of diarrhea if they ate the chicken wing and skin.
Chicken skin can easily upset a dog’s stomach because it is 40% fat and 20% protein- a potent mix.
Look at this label if you don’t believe me!