What To Do If Your Dog Ate a Turkey Bone

Thanksgiving dinners and family gatherings often revolve around a delightful spread that usually includes turkey. While sharing moments is a joy, sharing turkey bones with your furry friend is not. If you suspect your dog has snatched a turkey bone, understanding the urgency and what steps to take is crucial for their health and wellbeing. Remember, when in doubt, calling your local Emergency Veterinary Care Centers should be your first course of action.




Understanding the Risks of Turkey Bones for Dogs

Turkey bones, both cooked and uncooked, can pose serious health risks to dogs. Unlike some other treats, these bones can splinter and cause significant damage to your dog’s internal organs.

The Perils of Bone Splinters

Cooked turkey bones can easily splinter, and these sharp fragments can cause damage to your dog’s mouth, throat, and intestines. Swallowing bone pieces can lead to blockages or even tear the delicate lining of the gastrointestinal tract.

Obstructions in the Digestive Tract

Even if a bone doesn’t splinter, larger pieces can get stuck in the stomach or intestines, resulting in a dangerous blockage. This can be life-threatening and typically requires urgent veterinary care.

Signs of Distress to Watch For

After ingesting a turkey bone, dogs may exhibit signs such as:

  • Gagging
  • Drooling
  • Retching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Visible discomfort
  • Lethargy

If you notice any of these  indicators, your dog needs immediate veterinary attention.

What You Can Do: Essential Immediate Actions

When you discover your dog has eaten a turkey bone, prompt action is vital. While it’s natural to panic, staying calm and taking the right steps can make all the difference.

  • Keep a Close Eye on Your Pet: Monitor your dog closely for any changes in behavior or signs of distress. Note any symptoms and relay them to the vet, as this information is valuable for a quick and accurate diagnosis.
  • Avoid Inducing Vomiting: You may think about inducing vomiting, but this is not advisable as it can cause more harm, especially if the bone is sharp. Only a vet should determine if this is a safe option for your dog.
  • Contact Your Vet Immediately: The most important action is to call your local Emergency Veterinary Care Centers. They can guide you on the next steps and prepare for your arrival if immediate intervention is necessary.

The Importance of Professional Veterinary Care

Understanding why professional care is indispensable can help reinforce the need to contact a vet instead of attempting home treatments. Veterinarians have the expertise to assess the situation accurately. They can perform x-rays or ultrasounds to determine the location and size of the bone fragments. Depending on the situation, your vet may need to perform an endoscopy to remove bone fragments or, in severe cases, surgery to rectify any damage caused by the bones. Your vet can also provide follow-up care instructions and tips to prevent such occurrences in the future, ensuring the continued health and safety of your pet.


If your dog eats a turkey bone, it’s a situation that requires immediate attention. Keep a close watch for any signs of distress, and refrain from home remedies that could exacerbate the problem. Your most crucial step is to call one of our Emergency Veterinary Care Centers locations. The team is trained to handle such emergencies, providing your pet with the best possible care. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, so keep those turkey bones out of reach and enjoy your festivities with peace of mind.

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