Anytime Oliver goes off on his own to another room I run a mental check list of whether I remembered to put toilet cover down, all the trash in the metal bin with the cover closed and so on, and a few weeks ago was no different. But I knew everything dangerous he could get into was safely out of his reach and did not think much of it… until I heard a very loud “thunk” noise coming from the kitchen. But even then my first thought was that I had left the dishwasher unlocked and he had opened the door and pulled the bottom rack out and onto the floor so he could lick all the plates, as he has done that in the past. So instead of rushing over to the kitchen I just yelled at him to come to me, which he usually does without too much delay. But not this time… when I couldn’t hear the tell tale sounds of his feet pounding down the stairs (a sound similar to an elephant charging), I finally got concerned and headed over to investigate. Coming around the corner I saw him freeze in his tracks with a deer-in-headlights look for a few seconds, while still chewing furiously before bolting down the corridor running away from me. So obviously up to no good!
Using my best “this is serious business” voice I told him to stop, stay and drop. He came to a halt, turned around and spit out.. a turkey bone. My stomach sank to my knees and I beelined to the kitchen to check out what he had done. Apparently the tempting smell of a turkey carcass in the trash bin was too much for him, and he had managed to tip over the heavy bin and pull the trash bag out… the plastic container that had held the remains of a half a turkey was empty… licked clean and not a bone or bit in sight. This confirmed my worst fears.. he had eaten the whole thing… and turkey bones can be deadly for dogs.
Turkey bones are brittle and break easily into sharp shards when chewed by your dog. The first threat is that one will get stuck in his throat, and that he will choke. This is the immediate threat. Just to make sure he had spit out everything, I put my hand down Oliver’s throat to make sure there was nothing there. Luckily he likes to chew his food really well so odds are he chewed the bones into small bits too. Did not stop me from worrying about the second threat which is that a sharp bone edge will cut or perforate his intestines. Luckily with bigger dogs this is far less likely than if he was a toy poodle but the chance it there still. So for the next 24 hours I had to monitor his poop.. and by monitor I mean go through it and check for signs of bleeding. The first 24 hrs are the dangerous part, turkey (and chicken) bones will completely melt in the stomach within 48 hrs. But with his usual luck he came through this ordeal with flying colors. I was even so worried that after a few “bad dogs” I couldn’t be mad at him at all.
Odds are that any medium size or larger dog will be okay after eating chicken or turkey bones.. but you can’t count on it. So even if they aren’t choking, you need to keep a close eye on them for a couple of days, and if you see any signs of blood in their stool, or if they get lethargic, stop drinking and eating, then get them to your vet immediately. Unfortunately smaller dogs have more trouble and I would just recommend taking them to a vet immediately if at all possible.
Never a dull day with my darling Oliver!