"Don't give chicken bones to your dog"

Dog owner lore 101. You’re not supposed to give chicken meat with bones in it to your dog. I guess the bones are hollow and in the chewing splinter cutting the dogs stomach and intestines up. Makes sense.

However, there are plenty of canine relatives in the wild that will feast on any meat they find, much of it fowl of some kind. Some, like the fox, are even chicken killing specialists.

How come they’re fine?

Cooked chicken bones will splinter. Raw ones have some flex to them.

There’s also the matter of risk tolerance. A wild canine might eat chickens and, if the risk of death from splintered bones is less than the very significant risk of starvation, it’s a worthwhile gamble. With pets, though, the risk of starvation is basically nonexistent, and we’re not willing to tolerate any risk of avoidable injury.

As an aside, one of my dogs did once manage to steal a drumstick. There was no risk at all of him splintering it when he chewed it, because he didn’t chew it at all, just gulped it straight down whole. This, from the same dog that would spend a half-hour chewing a slice of bread.

Huh, racoons figured it out somehow.

Here’s a through treatment: https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=628342&highlight=bone Sorry for the highlight, its an artifact of how I searched. Like many posts here on the SDMB, it all comes down to how risk averse you are.

This. Cooked bone is really, really hard, freshly killed bone is much softer.

YMMV, but my pampered pets are apparently on the verge of starvation everyday. The way they whine and howl if breakfast is 3 minutes late is proof.

Add the fact that we can’t know how many wild canines do suffer ill effects, possibly even death, as a result of eating bones. I simply reject the idea that consumption of bones causes no problems, at all, for wild canines. Evolution would steer them away from eating bones if large numbers of predators died from digestive injuries. That’s clearly not happening, but, maybe there’s a 0.5% chance of a bone splinter causing some fatal malady? How would you track that? Could that even show up in instinctive behavior?

Evolution doesn’t take into account cooked bones.

Once again, uncooked bones pose little risk. It is cooked bones that splinter and can cause problems.

Not just “digestive” either, the can tear up the mouth and esophagus.

Interestingly, rat owners are advised that it’s perfectly safe to give rats cooked chicken bones. I’ve given them to my rats many times. They gnaw them into tiny splinters (usually a whole bone is reduced to splinters overnight). I assume their gnawing behavior is why the bones pose no risk to them. I would guess that other large animals besides dogs might be hurt by eating chicken bones, but I’ve never heard it mentioned in relation to any animal other than dogs.

Dogs don’t grind their food to mush, like other animals. They break in into pieces that are small enough to swallow, and then gulp it down. With bones, those pieces might be quite long and sharp, hence the warning. Rats can’t swallow a big jagged bone, just a tiny piece of it, presenting much less hazard.

I once gave my dog a “nylabone” to chew on. She gnawed it down to a piece maybe 3" x .75" x 1" , and then it disappeared. I thought maybe she had taken it outside and lost it, until I found it one day, in a mess of vomit. So, no more of those for her! I was amazed that she could swallow something that big.

Do pork and beef bones not share the same splintering characteristic when cooked?

They sell flavored beef bones at the pet stores. Also, antlers. Our dog has had cooked beef and pork bones with no ill effects that we could detect (other than they seem like doggie “crack”), but we never give him chicken or turkey bones.

As an aside, we never give our dogs raw-hides, either, for the fear they will just swallow the thing whole.

Probably not. Chickens are birds, and all birds descended from flying ancestors, even if they don’t fly much any more (though chickens are still capable of very clumsy short flights). When you’re flying, low weight is critical, and so bird bones are mostly hollow. Cows and pigs, meanwhile, can afford the weight of strong, solid bones.

I will point out that it is mostly the large hollow bones, like the legs, which are a problem.

My Dad raised Huskies in AK, and he fed them boiled chicken necks & backs, served over rice (when he couldnt get salmon or better stuff). Sometimes wings too- or basically whatever cheap chicken part he could get. (Legs and thighs used to be the most popular, then breast, wings were’t very popular until buffalo wings)

The smaller bones are not a problem for the more robust dogs.

Sure, beef and Pork bones are “hollow” they are filled with marrow. Just that the walls are much thicker and they dont splinter as much.

The worst offender here is turkey leg bones. I swear those could drop a kodiak.

Pork chop bones can fragment like chicken bones, because they’re so narrow, even though not hollow.

We had a dog once who got a pork chop bone fragment and get stuck in the back of his mouth, between the molars and the cheek. We didn’t notice it until it got infected. Vet had to remove it under surgery and stitch up the infected worn area inside the cheek. No more pork bones for you!
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Our husky mix once knocked a glass bowl full of cereal off the counter, and ate the cereal along with glass shards.

We figured that was it for her. Nothing the vet could do, they just recommended we give her fiber to try to bulk up her insides. But she didn’t seem to suffer any ill effects.

Then one day about 3 months later she started coughing and hacking and threw up. In the vomit was a two inch by one inch razor sharp chunk of glass.

I’m not sure it’s safe to give your dog raw chicken bones if they aren’t from a fresh kill . There are lots of warnings about raw chicken. Even though the raw bones themselves might be safe to swallow, the store-bought chicken might not be safe to eat raw.

But we did have a dog eat a whole rotisserie chicken once. She got it off the counter and finished it before we knew what happened. She was fine even though there was nothing left behind.

My childhood dog swallowed a live gopher whole.

It’s not the hardness, but the brittleness and tendency to splinter. I don’t find cooked chicken bones hard at all–I could chew them with my teeth and easily break them with my hands, something I can’t do with raw bones (OK, I guess I’ve never tried chewing raw bones, but they are not as easy to break as cooked bones.) Cook it long enough, and the bone practically dissolves.

But, yes, the splintering and the dog swallowing a sharp piece that will perforate their insides is the concern. That said, anecdotally, I’ve known of several dogs who would get leftover cooked chicken bones all the time, and never suffered an incident. These were also bigger dogs (60 lbs+). That said, everybody also has a grandparent or great aunt/uncle who smoked all their lives and lived to 100 anyway, so take it as a roll of the dice.

Nomination for the inaugural entry in the upcoming “Crazy things my dog ate” thread.

Was there another dog present? It sounds like a “hold my beer” moment for the dog.