Vets warn pet owners 'never give a dog a bone'
Last Updated: 21/03/2023
A tasty treat turned into a ring of disaster after a puppy got a donut-shaped bone wedged around her jaw.
Black Labrador Jess was left in serious distress as owner Ben Prince, from Driffield, East Yorkshire, struggled to free the bone.
But a dash to Priory Vets, part of the My Family Vets network, saved the day for the panicking pup, just in time to celebrate her first birthday.
Now pet owners are being warned about the dangers of bones in a bid to prevent other dangerous accidents.
Although a staple for dogs for generations, bones are a regular cause of emergency admissions to vet practices.
Our vets strongly advise pet owners against giving their dog bones.
We often see dogs rushed into our practices suffering from blockages caused by splinters or big pieces of bone becoming stuck.
There is also a risk to the dog’s digestive tract from swallowing bones.
This is the case for pork bones, chicken bones, lamb bones and any other type of cooked bone.
Bones sold as treats are also risky as dogs tend to lick the inside which can result in the bone becoming wedged on the lower jaw
Some retailers have even removed them from sale following fatalities.
“Jess really loves chewing things and although balls are her favourite, she does get stuck into bones,” said Ben.
“We used to get them for her quite regularly and there had never been any problems.”
Recalling the incident that led to the bone being stuck to Jess’s jaw, Ben added: “She was playing with it in the kitchen when I put her to bed, and I didn’t think twice about leaving her with it.
“When I came down to feed her the next morning, she kept going to her bowl and running off. She usually wolfs it down and I couldn’t see the bone, so I didn’t appreciate the problem.
“But my heart sank when I got down to look and saw the bone was totally wrapped around her lower jaw.
“I don’t know how she got it on, and I thought I might just be able to slip it back off.
“But every time I tried, she was in quite a bit of distress. I called my dad, who looks after her when I’m at work, and we realised we just couldn’t budge it and needed help.”
Ben called Priory Vets, which has branches in Bridlington, Beeford and Driffield, and was told to bring Jess in straight away.
“The bone was stuck very tightly around Jess’s lower jaw,” said senior vet Cheryl Driskell. “We placed her under general anaesthetic with the aim of drilling through the bone to remove it.
“But whilst she was under anaesthetic, our vet managed to slide the bone off from her jaw successfully without having to drill.
“Luckily in this case, there was no serious damage caused and Jess made a full recovery.
“We strongly advise against feeding bones to your pets as they can cause life-threatening obstructions if ingested and small pieces can be found stuck in the mouth.”
Ben, who was just happy to get Jess back home healthy, if a little subdued, is backing the plea to keep bones away from dogs.
“I thought the vets might have to cut it away, but they were brilliant in somehow managing to gently manoeuvre it off,” said Ben.
“We know it could have been much worse and we could even have lost her if it had done her more harm before we spotted it.
“Obviously we’ll never give her a bone like that again and I’d urge other owners to be careful, too.”
Vets regularly treat animals who have consumed cooked bones and become lodged in the stomach or intestines.
In many cases, surgery is required to remove the bone and, occasionally, the blockage can be fatal.
Raw bones can also be a hazard and many of those that end up getting stuck on dogs’ jaws are packaged and sold as treats.
Pride Vets is part of My Family Vets, a leading network of practices and hospitals up and down the country.
Owners who join its Pet Health Club™ plan receive discounts on selected veterinary care and medications — and are also covered for regular, routine treatments such as vaccinations, health checks and flea, worm and parasite treatments.