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Can Dogs Eat Chicken Bones?

Written by Sarah Psaradelis
Published: October 17, 2022
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This is a question that many dog owners have, especially since raw chicken bones have some amazing benefits for our canine companions. Some dog owners fear that their dog could choke on bones, however, this can be prevented if fed to your dog correctly.

There are low risks with a dog chewing on raw bones that cannot shatter or break off into smaller pieces that your dog can swallow, and it helps cleanse their teeth. Not all bones are safe for dogs, so it is important to provide your dog with the right type of bone and not just any leftover cooking or table scraps that can potentially harm your dog.

Dogs can eat raw or uncooked chicken bones. But they should not eat cooked chicken bones, and here’s why.

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Are Chicken Bones Healthy for Dogs? Cooked vs. Raw

When it comes to feeding your dog bones, raw chicken bones are the better option according to Dr. Adam Sternberg from the Greencross Vets Brookvale. This is because raw chicken bones are the easiest for a dog to chew, whereas cooked chicken bones can fracture teeth, break into small pieces when chewed, splinter, and pose a higher risk for your dog choking on them.

Raw or uncooked chicken bones are a natural source of food for dogs and contain healthy sources of phosphorous and calcium. Aside from a range of dental benefits for dogs, raw chicken bones can easily dissolve in a dog’s stomach which prevents blockages.

However, cooked chicken bones do not dissolve easily in your dog’s stomach, and the texture of the bones can be swallowed in large pieces by your dog. Broken pieces of cooked chicken bones are the number one reason many dogs choke from bones, and it is common for dog owners to give their dogs their chicken bones from the table after a meal, but this is dangerous.

Dogs are meant to break down raw bones, think of a wild dog’s diet. They would not eat cooked bones, but rather raw bones from their last meal. Cooked chicken bones do not help clean your dog’s teeth much, since the hardness of the bones has been lost. The cooked chicken bones could splinter and injure your dog, or even worse, your dog could swallow pieces of the bone and choke.

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Which Types of Bones Can Dogs Eat?

Raw (uncooked) bones are the safest option for dogs. These bones should be sourced from a butcher in sanitary packaging, and they can be chicken, lamb, and turkey bones. The bone itself should be large enough for your dog to chew without being able to fit the whole bone into its mouth. Pork or rib bones are not recommended for your dog because they are more likely to splinter than other bones, making them a choking hazard.

Beef, bison, or buffalo bones can be too hard for your dog to chew according to Dr. Peter Dobias a veterinarian of over 30 years. Some bones are also better suited for dental, play, or as food. Bones such as a raw chicken back can provide a small dog with all three benefits, but they won’t offer the same benefits to a medium or large-sized dog.

Can You Give Dogs Chicken Bones From Your Meal?

It is best to avoid giving your dog chicken bones from the table, even if your dog begs while you are eating. Cooked chicken bones or heat-processed bones are dried and this process makes them indigestible for dogs making them a safety hazard.

Cooked chicken bones can also splinter and cause internal damage because the bone has been dried to the point that it becomes more prone to breaking. This is the same for hollow bones, which include chicken and turkey bones that have been cooked. All cooked bones can be dangerous for a dog to ingest and chew, regardless of the bone’s source and size.

The next time you eat a meal with chicken bones, do not give them to your dog to chew or eat. This can be harmful and even fatal, even if nothing has happened to your dog yet. Instead, look for large, raw bones that you can give your dog to chew.

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Benefits of Raw Chicken Bones for Dogs

Chewing on raw chicken bones is beneficial for your dog’s health if it is fed appropriately. Raw chicken bones offer your dog a natural form of mental stimulation, as dogs love to chew.

Let’s look at some of the benefits of raw chicken bones for dogs:

  • They offer dogs a natural source of phosphorous and calcium.
  • Raw chicken bones can help scrape plaque from your dogs’ teeth aiding in better dental hygiene to prevent gum disease.
  • Helps to make the stomach muscles stronger to prevent bloat as bones have a cleansing effect.
  • Stimulates saliva in your dog’s mouth, keeping your dog’s mouth healthy.
  • Helps your dog produce more stomach acid during chewing which speeds up their metabolism.
  • Keeps your dog occupied and strengthens their chewing muscles.

How Can You Safely Feed Chicken Bones to Your Dog?

Always supervise your dog when they are eating bones, and do not give them bones more than two to three times a week as excessively chewing on bones can make a dog’s chewing muscles tight. Do not give hard bones to dogs with dental issues such as broken teeth, injured gums, or mouth diseases. Make sure the bone is the right size for your dog.

Any type of bone regardless of whether it is raw or cooked or not can be a choking hazard for dogs, which makes it important to always supervise your dog while they are eating bones. The bone itself should be large enough that your dog can chew it freely without the bone getting stuck in their mouth. If a part of the bone is small enough to fit into your dog’s mouth, it could get stuck in their esophagus.

If you plan to give your dog raw chicken bones, make sure that they get a teeth check-up first by a veterinarian, as dogs who have teeth and gum issues may have difficulty chewing on hard bones and it can lead to further dental problems.

You can give your dog raw chicken bones from two to three times a week but avoid giving your dog bones to chew often as it can affect their jaw tightness and chewing muscles.

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The best raw dog bones are usually soft and hollow and contain cartilage or other connective tissue according to veterinarians, with poultry bones such as raw chicken bones being preferable. Make sure that you supervise your dog when they are eating any bones, and that you swap out any cooked chicken bones for the better and safer option of raw chicken bones.

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Although dogs love chewing on bones, sometimes this can be quite dangerous depending on the type and size of bone.

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About the Author

I am a big animal lover that not only enjoys owning and getting to care for them, but also to write about them! I own many fish, along with shrimp, hamsters and a docile tarantula. Writing has become my passion and I am grateful to be able to write about the animals I love so dearly so that I can share my knowledge and expertise in the articles I write.

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  1. American Kennel Club, Available here:
  2. Dr. Peter Dobis , Available here:
  3. Green cross vets, Available here: