Can dogs and cats eat bones?

29 May 2023
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s care, treatment, or medical conditions.

Can dogs eat bones?

It is not safe for dogs to eat bones, regardless of their size or type. While it may seem like a natural and enjoyable treat for your furry friend, the reality is that feeding them bones can cause serious harm. Bones can splinter into small pieces which can be sharp and jagged, causing damage to the dog's mouth, throat and digestive tract.

Small bone fragments can also become lodged in the intestines or stomach leading to blockages which require emergency veterinary care. This condition manifests with symptoms such as vomiting, abdominal pain and constipation among others.

Feeding dogs cooked bones poses an even greater risk since cooking makes them more brittle and prone to splitting apart once ingested by your pet. Cooked chicken bones are particularly dangerous as they tend to shatter easily when chewed on.

In summary, it is never advisable to feed dogs any type of bone whether raw or cooked because of the associated risks. Instead look for healthy treats that have been designed specifically for canine consumption by reputable brands - these will provide both nutritional value and entertainment while keeping your dog safe from health complications linked with eating unsafe foods.

Can cats eat bones?

It is unsafe for cats to eat bones, as they can cause serious harm to their digestive system. Bones are a choking hazard that may get stuck in a cat's throat and block their airway. Moreover, bones are rigid and sharp, which can puncture your cat's mouth or stomach lining while being swallowed. Thus, feeding your feline friend with bone-containing meals poses an unnecessary risk of injury.

Additionally, some types of bones contain toxic substances such as lead or arsenic due to the animal’s diet or environment before slaughter. These toxins can accumulate in your pet's body over time and cause severe health problems such as kidney damage or gastrointestinal issues.

Furthermore, cooked bones tend to splinter easily into tiny pieces when chewed by cats rendering them even more dangerous than raw ones. The shards of brittle bone fragments often lodge themselves in the esophagus causing breathing difficulties and other life-threatening conditions.

In conclusion, it is never safe for any species of cats to eat bones irrespective of whether they are raw or cooked. It is up to us as responsible pet owners to always prioritise our pets' wellbeing by avoiding potentially risky foods like bones altogether when planning their diets.

Information purposes only

The suggestions offered here are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for pet-specific advice from your veterinarian. Never disregard your vet’s recommendations, or delay in acting on them, based on something you have read on this site. Regardless of how a food is rated here, any food that you give your pet can pose potential health risks, including allergic reactions, choking, or other health conditions such as bloat. Always monitor your pet while they’re eating, and never introduce a new food into your pet’s diet without first consulting your veterinarian. 

Pet poison emergency protocol

If your pet is acting sick, call your regular veterinarian immediately. If your regular veterinarian is closed, call a nearby on-call veterinarian, animal urgent care, or veterinary emergency hospital. If your pet is not acting sick but you think they may have been exposed to a poison, call the Animal Poison Line (01202 50 9000).

Food safety statuses


Could be given almost daily without harm

Safe in moderation

Not toxic, but should not be given regularly


Toxic or simply too risky to give to your pet