Can Dogs Eat Fish Bones? 7 Risks To Consider

Dogs have a special fondness for some human foods. There’s a fish in there somewhere! Fish is a staple in the typical dog’s diet, and for good reason; it’s packed with nutrients and minerals that are essential to his health and well-being. Fish bones, on the other hand, are a whole other ballgame. In point of fact, the exact opposite is correct.

Dogs shouldn’t ever be given raw or cooked fish bones. Fish bones are brittle and easily shatter, meaning they can cause injury to your dog anywhere in his body from his mouth to his tush.

Most dog experts will advise against giving your dog fish bones due to the risk of organ perforation, throat lodging, and intestinal blockages.

Can dogs eat fish bones?

Dogs shouldn’t eat fish bones, unfortunately. Many people mistakenly believe that fish bones are harmless to dogs because they are so small and thin.

It’s possible the bones could make it through the entire digestive process without any problems, so technically this is true. However, if the bones don’t pass through without a hitch, the results can be disastrous, if not fatal.

What Are Fish Bones Like For Dogs?

Cartilage and harder bone material make up fish skeletons. Some fish are considered cartilaginous while others are bony, so the strength of their bones varies depending on the species.

Their precise composition varies with the species of fish from which they were taken.

When preparing fish for dinner, the bones are typically removed in the same way that ribs and chicken backbones are.

However, the bones could be part of the meal itself, in which case the diner would need to be careful to avoid them when biting. If you want to give your dog some of your fish, make sure the bones have been removed first.

However, it’s not unusual for your dog to try a fish bone, whether it was accidentally left out or your dog sneaked in and ate it.

Are Fish Bones Bad for Dogs?

Dogs shouldn’t be fed fish bones. Dogs should avoid them for the same reasons that people do.

If your dog is on the smaller side, a fish bone disguised in tender fish might not be a problem.

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However, your dog’s digestive system and intestines may be harmed by these fish bones, especially if your dog is particularly small or if the fish bone is particularly large.

Dogs have a well-deserved reputation for loving the taste of bone-based dog treats, but fish bones are off-limits.

They are not suitable as chew toys due to their brittle construction. This holds true regardless of whether or not the fish bones were previously cooked. Dogs shouldn’t eat fish bones because of this.

My dog ate fish bones. What should I do?

First, you should examine your dog’s mouth to see if there is a bone or other foreign object stuck in its throat.

If you suspect that your dog has ingested fish bones, keep a close eye on them for any signs of distress or unusual behavior.

You must keep a close eye on your dog because things could quickly get out of hand if you don’t. Please take your pet to an emergency veterinary clinic immediately if you see any of the following signs.

Possible signs of danger

  • Begging for help by pawing at their face (this could be for no reason, but if they are choking or the bone is stuck in their mouth, this is a likely behavior).
  • Sneezing and/or coughing
  • Bad breath all of a sudden (could be an indicator of something stuck in the mouth)
  • An inability to drink or eat normally
  • Spasms of nausea, vomiting, or gagging
  • Lethargy
  • Intestinal bleeding or diarrhea
  • Discomfort in the belly
  • Constipation
  • Restlessness
  • Intense desire to quench one’s thirst

What to do if your dog swallowed fish bones

Don’t freak out if you find out your dog has eaten a fish bone. In this post, we’ll go over the critical next steps you should take after realizing your dog has swallowed a fish bone so you can give him the best care possible.

1. Determine What Size the Bone Was

One of the first things you should do is try to estimate how big of a bone your dog was able to sneak inside.

There is a significant difference between breaking a large, rigid bone like the one in your spine and breaking a small, pliable bone like a finger.

Fish bones are notoriously fragile, so it’s possible they could have been swallowed without causing any major damage.

Your dog may be able to swallow the bone whole if it is small enough.

If this is the case, it may be necessary to do little more than keep an eye on their health to make sure they are not experiencing any problems.

Checking the feces after they’ve gone to the bathroom can help you confirm that the bone was passed.

If your dog doesn’t start gagging immediately, try reaching inside their mouth to feel for anything that might be protruding and cause them to choke or be punctured.

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Take care not to irritate their already damaged throat, mouth, or reflexes in the process. Maintaining their composure while you work to extract the bone can also prove useful.

If the bone becomes lodged in your dog’s throat or mouth, turning him upside down or into a different position can help you remove it.

2. Watch For Choking

One of the first signs that your dog has eaten a fish bone is choking. The dog may have choked or mouthed on the fish bone.

They could be having trouble getting airborne or suffering excruciating pain from a bone puncture.

It’s also possible for the bone to become lodged somewhere in the digestive tract. These can also be easily punctured, which can have disastrous results.

If they start choking, try to remove the stuck bone yourself before calling your vet.

If your dog is deprived of oxygen, the situation can rapidly worsen. Those stuck fish bones can be deadly if not removed immediately.

Constipation, a lack of appetite, increased thirst, agitation, and coughing are all possible signs that your dog has a bone stuck in their system.

Do not disregard these signs if you know your dog has eaten a fish bone. Instead, if you’re worried about internal bleeding, get in touch with your vet.

3. Soften the Digestive Process

Aside from preventing choking, you can take measures to aid digestion and prevent the bone from puncturing the stomach or intestines if this scenario doesn’t play out.

Make sure they have a steady supply of water available to help with this procedure. Constipation and dehydration are both avoided and digestion is aided by drinking enough water.

Bread can help soften the food in their stomach, providing a cushion as it travels down and protecting the organ walls.

4. Show Care and Love

If your dog exhibits any signs of distress while attempting to digest a fish bone, you should act quickly to alleviate the pain and, if necessary, consult a veterinarian.

You should make sure they have everything they need and that they have a relaxing place to rest and digest in. Encourage them to maintain their composure under all circumstances, as this will make the transition easier.

Potential problems if your dog ate fish bones

Small, fragile, and sharp, fish bones pose a serious threat to human health. Because of these features, pieces can become stuck in your dog’s mouth, esophagus, stomach, or anywhere else in their intestinal tract.

The price tag for surgery to remove intestinal blockages often exceeds $5,000.

The AKC warns that the bones can cause perforations in the stomach and intestines if they don’t become lodged.

When the intestinal wall is torn, food, bacteria, and other intestinal contents can leak into the abdomen. This seepage can lead to peritonitis, a potentially fatal infection of the abdominal lining.

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Painful as they may be, lodged fish bones often necessitate an expensive trip to the vet for removal.


One must either wait for the fish bones to pass through the entire digestive tract or undergo surgery to have them removed. You should take your dog to the vet immediately if you notice any of the warning signs mentioned below.

A physical exam is something you can count on from your vet.

When necessary, an ultrasound or radiographs will be taken to obtain an image of the abdomen, which will reveal whether or not a foreign body is obstructing the digestive tract or causing a perforation. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat a bacterial infection.

Removal of the foreign body or treatment of severe gastrointestinal (GI) trauma may necessitate surgical intervention.


Can dogs eat raw fish bones?

Canines shouldn’t consume raw fish bones, ever. Any bone could be harmful to your dog, but undercooked or raw bones pose the greatest risk.

Can dogs eat cooked fish bones?

Cooked fish bones are not safe for dogs. Bones are not rendered digestible enough by cooking to pass undamaged through the digestive tract. Don’t give your dog any kind of fish bone, whether it’s cooked or raw.

Can dogs digest fish bones?

Do not give your dog fish bones because they cannot be safely digested. You should never take the chance of your dog becoming seriously ill by giving it fish bones.

Debone fresh fish or use canned fish if you want to feed your dog fish. Common and risk-free, canned tuna is a great choice.

Can dogs eat fish with bones?

Fish that still has bones in it should not be fed to pets. While fish is high in protein and healthy Omega-3 fats, it must be completely deboned before being fed to a dog.

Can dogs eat salmon bones?

No. In spite of the fact that salmon is a nutritious option for canines, it is imperative that you remove any and all bones before serving it to your dog.


It’s been shown that fish is a nourishing choice for both humans and canines. If you insist on feeding your dog fish, at least take the time to remove the bones.

These fish bones aren’t as sturdy as dog chew toys made from other materials. If you aren’t careful, you could get punctured in the face, throat, intestines, or even stomach by their sharp points.

When you give away your fish, please be mindful of the possibility of bone fragments and remove any you find before serving. If they do ingest a bone, closely monitor their condition. If you truly love and care for your dog, you’ll take excellent care of it.

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