Are cooked bones safe for dogs?

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Bones?

No, cooked bones are dangerous and should never be given to dogs. Cooked bones refer to bones that have been subjected to high heat, such as those leftover from cooked meals. While they might seem like treats, they are hazardous for dogs. Cooked bones can splinter easily, creating sharp fragments that pose serious risks. These splinters can lead to internal injuries, puncturing the digestive tract, causing blockages, or even requiring surgery. Consuming cooked bones can result in various health issues, including severe discomfort, pain, and potential life-threatening situations 

On the other hand, raw bones are considered safer for dogs because they retain their natural flexibility and are less likely to splinter into sharp fragments. Raw bones are softer and more pliable, making them less likely to break into dangerous pieces that could harm a dog's mouth, throat, stomach, or intestines.

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What are the symptoms of a dog eating cooked bones?

The symptoms of a dog eating cooked bones can vary depending on the severity of the situation and whether any complications have arisen. Common symptoms may include:

  • Vomiting: Dogs can vomit as their body's natural response to foreign or indigestible objects like bone fragments.
  • Diarrhoea: Diarrhoea can occur due to irritation or blockages caused by bone fragments in the digestive tract.
  • Abdominal Discomfort: Dogs can exhibit signs of abdominal discomfort, such as restlessness, pacing, or whining.
  • Lethargy: If a dog is experiencing discomfort or distress due to ingested bone fragments, they will become lethargic and less active.
  • Loss of Appetite: Dogs can lose their appetite or exhibit decreased interest in food due to gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • Straining to Poo: Bone fragments can cause constipation or difficulty passing poo, leading to straining during bowel movements.
  • Visible Discomfort: Dogs can exhibit signs of discomfort, such as hunching over or stretching in an attempt to alleviate discomfort.
  • Bloody Stools: In severe cases, bone fragments can cause internal injuries, leading to bloody stools.

It's important to note that symptoms can vary depending on the size of the dog, the type of bone ingested, and whether any complications, such as blockages or perforations, have occurred. If you suspect your dog has ingested cooked bones and they display any of these symptoms, it's crucial to seek veterinary attention promptly to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.

What type of cooked bones are harmful to dogs?

Several types of cooked bones are harmful to dogs due to the changes that occur during the cooking process. Cooking makes bones brittle and more likely to splinter, posing serious dangers to dogs. Here's a list of harmful types of cooked bones along with an explanation of how cooking makes them dangerous: 

Chicken or Turkey bones

Risk: Cooking removes moisture from the bones, making them brittle and prone to splintering.
Dangers: Splintered bones can result in sharp fragments that can puncture the digestive tract, leading to internal injuries and blockages.

Beef or Pork bones

Risk: Cooking causes bones to become more brittle and susceptible to breaking into sharp pieces.
Dangers: Splinters from these bones can have sharp edges that can damage a dog's mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines.

Fish bones

Risk: Cooking dries out fish bones, making them brittle and likely to fragment.
Dangers: Splintered fish bones can cause throat irritation, pose choking hazards, and potentially damage the digestive tract.

Lamb bones

Risk: The cooking process renders lamb bones brittle and susceptible to splintering.
Dangers: Splintered lamb bones can lead to digestive tract injuries and blockages when ingested.

Smaller bones from ribs or chops

Risk: Cooking removes moisture from smaller bones, making them more fragile.
Dangers: Fragments from these bones can easily become lodged in a dog's throat, causing choking or airway obstruction.

The cooking process removes moisture from bones, causing them to lose their natural flexibility and become more prone to splintering. The resulting sharp fragments can lead to various internal injuries, blockages, and discomfort when ingested by dogs.

Can dogs safely eat roasted knuckle bones?

No, dogs cannot safely eat roasted knuckle bones. Although they won't splinter and cause digestive damage, roasted knuckle bones can pose risks to dogs due to their density, which can lead to chipping or breaking teeth.

What to do if your dog eats cooked bones?

If your dog eats cooked bones, it's important to take immediate action to ensure their safety and prevent potential complications. 

  • Do Not Panic: Stay calm and assess the situation. Determine whether your dog has actually swallowed the bone or if they've only chewed on it.
  • Contact Your Veterinarian: Call your veterinarian as soon as possible. Describe the situation and provide details about what type of cooked bone your dog has eaten and any symptoms your dog is experiencing.
  • Observe and Monitor: Keep a close eye on your dog for any signs of distress, discomfort, or unusual behaviour. Observe their eating, drinking, and bathroom habits.
  • Do Not Induce Vomiting: Avoid attempting to induce vomiting without consulting a veterinarian first. Sharp bone fragments can cause additional harm on their way back up.
  • Follow Veterinary Advice: Your veterinarian will provide specific instructions based on your dog's size, the type of bone ingested, and their overall health. They may recommend bringing your dog in for an examination or suggest monitoring at home.
  • X-rays and Examination: Depending on the circumstances, your veterinarian might recommend X-rays to check for bone fragments or potential obstructions in the digestive tract.
  • Fluids and Diet Modification: Your veterinarian might recommend a modified diet, including soft foods and increased fluids, to help pass the bone fragments more easily.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, if there's a risk of an intestinal blockage or other complications, surgery might be necessary to remove the bone fragments.

What are alternative safe natural treats for dogs?

Seeking safe and natural alternatives to cooked bones is important for dogs. Opt for options that provide both satisfaction and nutrition. Feeding raw bones such as lamb neck or spine, chicken feet or duck necks are a good alternative to cooked bones. If you prefer to steer clear of bones altogether, raw carrots and frozen fruits are perfect for dogs that like the crunch of cooked bones. There are also some great natural treat alternatives that offer the long lasting satisfaction of a bone.


Pizzles and Bully Sticks offer dogs a natural and satisfying chew that promotes dental health and alleviates boredom. They're a safe, popular and long-lasting treat made solely from beef, which are completely digestible.

Lamb Horn Marrow

Lamb Horn Marrow offers the satisfaction of a cooked bone whilst being completely safe and digestible.  The marrow is the inner core of a lamb horn which is packed with vitamins and minerals whilst also giving your dog’s teeth a good clean as they chew.

With Wags and Woofs,

Laura, Dolly & Reggie

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