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What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Rib Bones?

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Dogs vary greatly in size and so does their stomachs’ ability to digest bones upon intake. It depends on your pet’s size, medical condition and dental health in particular. Nevertheless, even with the highest precaution, your dog can still run into trouble with rib bones. A popular question put forward by pet owners is “what should I do if my dog ate rib bones?” In order to make you clear about the risks of bone choking and measures to solve this problem, we are here to help.

In terms of condition, rib bones normally are classified into two major categories for consideration: raw and cooked ones; as a result, their degree of danger to “consumers” correspondingly differs.

Also, when it comes to bones for dogs, in addition to rib bones, there are some others like pork chop bones, ham bones, or marrow bones. If you also concern about the safety of these, we had useful posts for you!

Types of Rib Bones

Raw Bones

Raw bones are relatively known as of benefit to dogs in the sense that they can provide calcium, phosphorus, as well as other essential minerals and nutrients. These substances are proved necessary to the development of teeth, joints and bones in young pups. Moreover, chewing raw bones, which includes the act of biting, shearing and crushing tend to encourage saliva enzymes to be produced. As a result, dental calculus can be substantially reduced, helping to maintain the good health of teeth and gums.

Raw bones may also be considered a source of enjoyment for your furry friends. Instead of letting your dog wander around with boredom, a raw bone can keep him busy exercising his jaw while at the same time giving him sort of amusement.

However, remember to always keep a close watch on him during the course of things. Besides, your dog can run higher risks of bacterial infection brought about by raw bones with uncooked meat. Under this circumstance, consider cooking or boiling the bone first before feeding your dog.

Cooked Bones

Unlike raw bones, cooked ones are not totally safe for dogs’ consumption. Without proper certification of safety, they should not be given to your dog in any case. Due to their nature of frying with oil, cooked bones stand higher chances of splintering in comparison with raw bones.

So, Can Dogs Have Pork Rib Bones?

The answer to the above concern given by specialists is NO. Although pork provides an abundant source of protein, its bones are, in contrast, somewhat dangerous and even deadly for dogs. Thus, in addition to bones of other poultry, their addition to dogs’ diet should be kept off limits.

Risks of Feeding Dogs Rib Bones


It is common knowledge that cooked rib bones splinter when being chewed on, creating small sharp shards and chunks. Your dog is posed to a main choking danger because such fragments are likely to get stuck in your dog’s throat and even block the airways.

What’s more, these chunks are sharp enough to pierce through and hurt his mouth, tongue, stomach and intestines. Without prompt first aid, severe internal bleeding may happen and in the worst scenarios, leading to death.


Pancreatitis is a common disease found in dogs when they consume a high-fat diet. Rib bones, especially those of pigs, are usually rich in fat because they are cooked with sauces, spices and seasonings. With such a large amount of saturated fat, dogs are by no means able to digest easily, causing inflammation to their pancreas. Common symptoms include vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea and lethargy, ranging from mild to severe depending on the amount of fat intake.


Even if bones can pass through your dog’s throats, the chance of them getting lodged in intestines cannot be left neglected. This happens when a large fragment of bone cannot make it through the gut, serving as an obstruction to the flow of other digested food in the gastrointestinal tract. This indigestion is likely to be followed by serious illness and even death.

In addition, your dog may run another risk of suffering from a blockage in his descending colon. Pay close attention to any signs of his vomiting and straining to defecate because this is most likely that your lovely pet has come down with colon blockage.

But don’t be panic in the event of your dog eating cooked bones.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Rib Bones?

First and foremost, remember to check if your dog is not choking on bones. Obviously, the bones only get stuck in his throat once he begins to have difficulty in normal breathing, pacing and sitting down, giving rise to frequent gagging and vomiting.

Secondly, if your pet has already consumed bones and still not exposes any mark of distress, the chances are that he has handled the bones himself. Despite this, it is advisable that you stay alert to possibilities of discomfort with your dog in the next few days, after which the bones can be passed through the stool. Something soft namely white bread is recommended to feed him as a cushion for his stomach. By means of this, you can protect the delicate digestive lining from scratches caused by the jagged edges of the bones.

Then, within 12 to 72 hours after your dog eats rib bones, you are required to watch out for internal bleeding, which is exhibited outside via bloody stool, stomach swelling, hard defecating, etc. Upon seeing any of them, find medical help as soon as possible. After this period, if no bone fragments are found in his stool, take him to a veterinary clinic for a thorough examination.

If he eats a bone whose safety standard has not been verified yet, contact your veterinarian for an emergency case right away. The veterinarian is expected to ask you several questions about your dog’s current situation and a brief description of the bone he takes in. Then, your doctor will determine whether it is necessary to take your dog to the veterinary hospital or not.

It is sometimes taken for granted that making your dog vomit can help take out the bone, but unfortunately, this makes absolutely no sense at all. Any action of encouraging vomiting just makes the situation worse in the sense that they may cause the bone to be lodged and cut in his organs or tissue. Besides, do not provide any medication for your dog that could impact stomach’s acidity level.

Above all, every trace of trauma to his mouth, choking and gastrointestinal distress issues a warning about a medical emergency that your dog is going through, which requires instant specialists’ intervention.

Further Tips

It goes without saying that prevention is always better than cure. Therefore, after such each incident, you should take precautionary measures to prevent further mishaps.

  • Keep bones in plastic containers fit for the refrigerator condition and only let them eat under your supervision. 
  • As alternatives to bones, some products such as chew toys made from digestible materials or rawhide can also provide the same effects. It is suggested that linear or rolled rawhide is much safer than bone-shaped one with large knobs because your dog may swallow them by accident. Stand ready to throw those toy away once signs of splintering emerge. 
  • Ask for advice from veterinarians before jumping to the decision to feed your dog bones. If feasible, refraining from choosing small and fragile bones such as those of chicken which expose a high possibility of splitting upon being chewed on. Thick and sturdy bones like rib ones, instead, are much favored choices. 


Generally speaking, rib bones, including both raw and cooked ones, should be restricted in giving to your dogs if possible. In spite of being seemingly a natural treat for dogs, rib bones can be ranked among the top riskiest dog food with regard to their crisp feature. However, in any case of bone ingestion, keep calm and follow these above-mentioned guidelines to minimize serious outcomes. 

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