Did you hear the one about the dog who swallowed 13 chicken hot wings? When she was X-rayed at the emergency clinic, her belly was full of bones. The owners had to have her X-rayed a couple more times over the next few days to make sure the bones were dissolving and not causing a blockage.
Dogs will eat bones any time of year, but the holiday season seems to be a particularly common time for them to dig into the trash or steal meat with bones off the table. Some people even give leftover turkey and chicken bones to dogs as treats.
No bones about it, that’s not a good idea. Cooked bones can splinter, puncturing the digestive tract. I always advise against giving dogs poultry or fish bones. Rib bones and pork bones also splinter easily.
What about other bones? Beef bones can shatter and perforate the intestinal tract or cause an intestinal blockage. Blockages can require emergency surgery to remove the bone.
Large or oddly shaped bones, such as T-bones, can become stuck in the esophagus, causing a dog to choke, or elsewhere in the intestinal tract. Beef vertebrae also can get stuck in the esophagus.
Choking can be a concern with dogs who gulp bones without chewing them thoroughly. And a dog can break a tooth chewing on a bone or cow hoof. That can mean an expensive repair or extraction by your veterinarian.
Still not convinced? Here are five more good reasons to avoid giving your dog a bone:
Can dogs can eat turkey bones?
After reading all of these potential consequences you’re probably wondering if your pup can even have turkey bones at all. The answer is yes, as long as the bones are raw. Raw bones and meat can come with additional risks for foodborne illness. Most healthy dogs should be able to handle raw bones, if you have an elderly or immunocompromised dog, check with your vet before feeding anything raw.
4 possible consequences when dogs eat turkey bone
If you feed your dog cooked turkey bones or any hard bone you’re risking broken teeth or periodontitis. If your dog breaks a tooth, they might need to have the tooth surgically removed.
Even if your pup doesn’t break a tooth, hard bone can injure your dog’s mouth in other ways. Cuts could happen on the pup’s lips or cheeks or bone could get stuck in your dog’s jaw requiring surgery.
Hard bone can cause pups to have constipation. While this usually can be resolved easily, it can be very uncomfortable for your pup.
Turkey bones can become stuck in your dog’s stomach and cause blockages. If you think your dog has a bone stuck in their stomach, seek medical treatment immediately.
Are turkey legs safe for dogs?
For the healthiest choice, make sure it’s the “lean” meat – aka the white meat, with excess fat and skin removed. It’s a great source of protein and nutrients, and dogs love it. Avoid giving your dog rich pieces of turkey like the skin and any fatty areas like the turkey legs.
Can a dog eat a turkey leg bone?