My Dog Ate Fish Bones – What Should I Do Now?

Dogs are scavengers and will eat almost anything. If you live near the sea, they may even try to consume fish bones! 

These can be dangerous for your dog because they’re sharp and can damage the esophagus or stomach lining. 

The more serious a problem it becomes, the more symptoms there’ll be vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, pain – so if you think your pup has eaten some fish bones (or any other sharp object) take him to see a vet as soon as possible!

Are Dogs Attracted To Fish Bones?

Dogs love to eat fish, but most dogs don’t actually like the bones they consume as part of their meals. When they ingest fish bones or any other large foreign object it can cause a lot of problems. 

If you live near the sea and let your dog run freely, there’s a good chance he will find some sort of bone to eat which could be dangerous for him!

Will Fish Bones Kill A Dog?

Fishbones are sharp and can cause severe digestive problems if your dog consumes them. 

If those fish bones are swallowed whole, they may get stuck in the esophagus or stomach and can perforate the lining. In mild cases, surgery is needed to remove it. 

As for whether or not they’ll kill a dog? Anything can be fatal when eaten by a large enough dog (fish bones included).

How Long Does It Take For Fish Bones To Kill A Dog?

It may take anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours for enough damage to have been done by fish bones to kill your pup but if you’re lucky he’ll start showing symptoms earlier than later! 

The sooner your dog is taken care of the better chance he has of making a full recovery! 

He may even be able to go home with you after taking treatment at the animal hospital – just call first before heading over so that you know what to expect!

How Can I Tell My Dog Has Ingested Fish Bones?

1. Vomiting

Some dogs may vomit up the fishbone(s) because they simply can’t handle them in their stomach. 

After vomiting though, it’s likely that one or more pieces of the bone are still stuck in your pup’s esophagus or stomach. 

Dogs can also vomit up blood if there are any sharp pieces of bone stuck in the throat.

2. Diarrhea

If your dog is eating a lot of fish bones, he is going to become constipated and have horrible diarrhea because the bones prevent the stomach from functioning properly.

3. Lethargy

This symptom is often overlooked by dog owners because dogs being lethargic is not that uncommon! 

But if you’ve noticed that your pup isn’t his usual energetic self and has been sleeping more than normal, it may be a sign that small sharp items are lodged inside him which can cause pain or discomfort while he sleeps. 

A lethargic pup will likely refuse to play with toys as well – another sign that something could be wrong.

4. Pain

Pain is one of the most obvious symptoms, especially if your dog is aching when he lies down or rolls around on the floor. 

If you suspect that your pup has intestinal pain from sharp foreign objects in his stomach or esophagus, take him to see the vet as soon as possible for an x-ray and medical attention!

Do Fish Bones Dissolve In A Dog’s Stomach?

Fishbones don’t dissolve in a dog’s stomach, they must be removed surgically! 

Letting them stay could cause your pup to bleed internally or develop an infection.

What Should I Do?

dog with first aid

First off, if you think your pup is showing any of the above symptoms after eating fish bones, make sure you get him to a vet. 

Don’t waste time because the faster he’s treated means less chance of ingesting more and causing significant damage. 

Preventative measures may also be taken if it’s found that he did eat some, preventative medication can be given for up to 3 days.

The first thing you should do if your pet has eaten fish is to check whether or not they are vomiting. 

If they aren’t, take them to the vet ASAP so that an X-ray can be done and determine how many bones there may be in the stomach.

What To Avoid

Don’t feed your pooch any more fish or anything that may have been smothered in oil. These can both cause the bones to become lodged faster and/or get worse within a couple of hours. 

That said if he’s already vomiting it might be best to withhold food to see whether or not that stops him from doing so – but call your vet before you do!

Be Prepared For The Worst And Hope For The Best

As stated before, anything can be fatal when eaten by a large enough dog in one sitting. This can also be true of fish bones. 

As sad as it is, the likelihood that your puppy will survive a stomach full of these sharp objects depends on how many there are and whether or not you get to the vet in time.

Are Cooked Fish Bones Better Than Raw Fish Bones?

If you’re still wondering if cooked fish are safer for your pup – in this case, yes. 

Cooked fish is less likely to cause damage because the bones have already been broken down by heat which means there will be fewer sharp ends sticking out!

Are There Any Fish Bones Dogs Can Eat Safely?

Yes and No.

While some fish are safe for your furry friend – mostly those that have soft cartilage and bones like salmon, catfish, tilapia, perch, and cod – others aren’t so friendly.

As a rule of thumb though you should always avoid feeding your dog any part of the following:

  1. Fish with sharp spines or scales (catfish).
  2. Smaller fish because they can be swallowed whole without chewing – including their bones!
  3. Any type of oily fish because it could cause the bone to stick in the stomach for longer which would lead to problems down the line.
  4. Fish with very sharp bones such as snapper/grouper/shark/eel that a pup may not even notice swallowing!

Always supervise your dog when they’re eating any type of fish/seafood and be wary about them potentially getting into food that has been cooked in oil or seasoned with fishy spices.

If you think there’s the chance they may have ingested something sharp, even if it’s just one bone, take them to the vet ASAP!

Dogs that are known to eat larger pieces at one time should also be watched more carefully because it doesn’t take long for their stomachs to fill up!  

Are There Any Safer Alternatives To Fish Bones?

As with any other kind of bone, fish bones are not something that your dog can eat. 

If you would like to treat him for his good behavior try out some natural chews or even a food-dispensing toy as an alternative!

What Is The Best Way To Give Fish To Your Dog?

The best way to feed fish to your pup is defrosted, boiled, or baked. Frozen raw bones can get stuck in the esophagus and cause damage so it’s just best not to chance it!

How Often Do You Feed Your Dog Fish?

Most people feed fish to their dogs around twice a week but that really depends on what kind of dog you have as well as his size and current health. 

Talk with a vet about what would be good for your man’s specific breed before giving him any kind of seafood. Remember that dogs are carnivores and must stick to protein-based diets only!

How To Prevent Your Dog From Eating Fish Bones?

While it’s impossible for me to tell you exactly what will happen when your dog consumes a specific number of fish bones I can give some general tips on how to prevent this from happening in the future. 

Make sure your dog doesn’t have access to any type of food that he shouldn’t- don’t leave scraps around, keep garbage stored away safely, etc. Dogs are scavengers and will eat just about anything if it’s close enough to pick up and if they’re hungry enough.


Fishbones are just not something that we want our pets to ingest. 

Be aware of what you’re feeding your pup and make sure that he can’t get into the food without supervision- or better yet, invest in a dog feeder! 

Be safe out there, fellow dog parents!

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