Can dogs eat fish bones?

This blog post will answer the question: “Can dogs eat fish bones?” and will talk more about what the symptoms are of fish bone-related diseases, and what to do in these cases. 

Can dogs eat fish bones?

Fishbones are not to be fed to dogs because these are small, brittle, and are capable of occupying the dog’s mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines. You would not want to find out that a tiny bone stuck in your dog’s stomach has made it uncomfortable to breathe or walk properly. If you think this is the case, take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible to avoid any more harmful damage. 

What will happen if a dog eats fish?

Fish, in itself, is not actually harmful to dogs. The issue of health arises when we consider how the fish was prepared. Fried fish cooked in too much oil can cause GI upset in dogs, and can even be the root cause for serious illnesses like pancreatitis. Seasonings and flavorings may also lead to serious health problems for dogs, especially if they contain toxic ingredients like garlic and onions. 

My dog ate cooked fish bones, what do I do? 

Fish bones can be pretty dangerous for dogs because the bones are so small and sharp and can damage their mouth, throat, stomach, etc., and can even cause internal bleeding. 

DO NOT induce vomiting. Fish bones are dangerous because they might scratch the insides of your dog’s digestive system but if these bones really went down the digestive system, your dog should be fine. If your dog coughs up the bones, that is also a good sign. If you induce vomiting, you are only putting them at risk of hurting themselves. 

Try to look for bloody stool and if you find blood in your dog’s feces, that is a sign that you should immediately take your dog to the vet. 

What could happen if your dog swallowed fish bones? 

Your dog could suffocate upon eating the bones. This is likely a case for small dogs who do not have big esophaguses. A bone stuck in its throat will prevent them from breathing properly and can be a root cause of serious respiratory or digestive problems. 

If the bones did pass through the esophagus and were able to reach the stomach and intestines, this will pose a different kind of threat and this threat is not immediately detectable. 

An article by Animal Nerdz elaborates the two worst possible cases when a dog swallows dog bones: 


This is the worst thing that can be expected in this situation. Blockage happens when a foreign object gets stuck somewhere in the dog’s digestive system, usually the stomach or the latter part of the intestines, and depending on the spot it can cause difficulties in eating or expelling the feces. 

Sometimes this problem goes away without the need for medical intervention, but it can also turn into an expensive medical surgery to remove this object. 


Because of the sharp edges of fish bones, they might poke holes or open wounds in the walls of your dog’s intestine. This will cause the gut bacteria to flow into the bloodstream and go on to cause dangerous infections. 

Peritoneum, which is the thin membrane of the abdominal cavity, can become inflamed because of these infections. This inflaming can cause the disease called peritonitis. 

This disease is life-threatening and must not be overlooked. Dogs who suffer from this disease usually show abnormal behavior like assuming weird positions when lying down or showing discomfort when someone touches their belly. 

If you notice any of these signs after you feed your dog with fish bones, rush your dog immediately to the vet. 

What are symptoms of a bone stuck in a dog’s stomach? 

Dogs may start showing discomfort immediately or a few hours later depending on where the fish bones are causing discomfort. 

The clearest symptoms are shown when the bones have already passed the esophagus and have already reached the stomach. Animal Nerdz enumerates 5 symptoms of your dog suffering after eating fish bones. 


If your dog looks like they are trying to cough something out or they are straight up vomiting, this is because they might be trying to get rid of the bones stuck in their esophagus or stomach. 


If the ingested fish bones opened wounds in the stomach or intestines, you will notice blood in the vomit or the stools. While it may be obvious in the vomit, stools that contain blood are usually dark, brown, or black. If you notice blood, contact your vet as immediately as possible. 

Pale gums 

In healthy conditions, your dog’s gums are pink. Once these gums take on a pale pink or white shade, you can imply there is already a problem. 

Pale gums can signal not just diseases made by eating fish bones but also diseases from anemia to heart failure. When the pale gums are because of fish bones, these are usually related to internal bleeding or diseases linked to infections like kidney failure. 

Lack of appetite

Dogs are usually big eaters so if they suddenly stop eating a lot or when they eat less than usual, this could mean that something is wrong with their health. 

This can mean that something is stuck in their esophagus or stomach that prevents them from eating. Furthermore, this could also mean gastrointestinal occlusion and may cause dehydration, anemia, general weakness, and even fainting. 

Abdominal pain

You can tell when your dog has abdominal pain when they show discomfort when you touch their belly or if they lay down or sleep in weird positions. This could mean that they are suffering from abdominal cramps due to gastrointestinal obstruction or infections. 

Although this is a symptom that is very hard to spot and very easy to overlook and dismiss, if you fed your dog with fish bones in the previous days, immediately contact a vet before this gets any worse. 

More about these is found in this article.


This blog post answered the question: “Can dogs eat fish bones?” and talked more about what the symptoms are of fish bone-related diseases, and what to do in these cases. 


Hawk, Mark. “My Dog Ate Fish Bones: What Should I Do Now?” Animal Nerdz, Animal Nerdz, 24 Oct. 2020,

“Can Dogs Eat Fish Bones? (Forget Everything You Know).” PuppyTip, 20 Oct. 2020,

SitStay. “Can Dogs Eat Fish? Find out Everything You Need to Know about Fish for Dogs.” SitStay,

“My Dog Ate Cooked Fish Bones, What Do I Do?” Quora,

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