Pet Advice

As all dog owners know, their little canine companions love to chew on bones.  While this is a treat for dogs, it is common that some small pieces of the bone can come off and safely pass through their digestive tract. However, if an extra large piece of bone is dislodge, this could be dangerous for your dog and needs to be addressed immediately.

If your dog or puppy happens to swallow a big piece of bone, below are some tips to help you.

Check for Breathing

When your dog swallows a large piece of bone, the most immediate danger is that it will become lodged in its throat and cause him to choke. First check to make sure that your dog’s breathing is normal before doing anything else. If he is struggling to breath, pawing at its mouth or seems frantic, hold open his or her mouth and look for the bone.

If the bone is visible, reach in and gently remove it. If the bone is not visible, perform five abdominal thrusts (similar to the human Heimlich maneuver) by wrapping your arms around your dog’s rib cage, locking your hands and firmly pushing them into your dog’s chest. Check your dog's mouth again to see if the object can be removed or has been swallowed.

Call the Vet

If your dog is choking and you are unable to dislodge the bone, call the vet immediately.  Even if he isn’t choking, it is still a good idea to call your vet.   Make sure to explain what happened and ask if you need to bring your dog in for a check-up. The vet will probably ask you the approximate size of the bone it swallowed and whether it was sharp. A large object can obstruct the bowels, while a sharp object can rip them. Both of these are life-threatening conditions. The vet may tell you to come in, or may simply ask you to monitor your dog carefully for the next several days and call if you notice anything unusual.

I love my bones!

If you don’t go to the vet, below are some things to watch for in your dog:

Watch your dog’s bathroom habits

Pay extra special attention to your dog’s bathroom habits for the next two to three days. If he or she stops having bowel movements, struggles to go to the bathroom, or if you notice that your dog’s urine or feces contains blood or is much darker than normal, take him or her to the vet as soon as possible.

Monitor your dog’s behavior

Even if your dog is still using the bathroom normally, it is important to watch for any changes in behavior. If your puppy seems to be in pain, refuses food, becomes listless or starts throwing up, take him to the vet as soon as possible.

Palpitate the stomach

If you suspect that your dog may have an obstruction or perforation, firmly but gently palpitate your dog’s stomach. If his stomach feels hard or you notice any unusual bulges, take him or her to the vet as soon as possible.

I hope that your dog never swallows a big piece of bone, but if he does, you will be better prepared.


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