What’s a dog without a bone? A healthy one it would seem. The Food and Drug Administration is cautioning dog owners to not give their dogs “bone treats” after receiving reports of pet illnesses, and even deaths, related to bone treats.
The FDA received about 68 reports of pet illnesses related to store-bought “bone treats”.
The FDA points out that although many dog owners “know not to toss a turkey or chicken bone to their dog; those bones are just too brittle,” they may not be aware that the packaged bone treats they buy at the store also pose health risks.
“Giving your dog a bone treat might lead to an unexpected trip to your veterinarian, a possible emergency surgery, or even death for your pet,” Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian in the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) at the FDA, said.
Bone treats differ from uncooked butcher-type bones because they are processed and packaged for sale as dog treats.
These treats include “Ham Bones,” “Pork Femur Bones,” “Rib Bones,” and “Smokey Knuckle Bones”, among other commercially-available products. The products may be dried through a smoking process or by baking, and may contain other ingredients such as preservatives, seasonings, and smoke flavorings.
The FDA reported the following illnesses related to “bone treats”:
- Gastrointestinal obstruction (blockage in the digestive tract)
- Cuts and wounds in the mouth or on the tonsils
- Bleeding from the rectum, and/or
- Death (approximately 15 dogs reportedly died after eating a bone treat.)
Other veterinarians have pointed out that bone treats can also crack canine teeth.
In addition, FDA received seven reports of product problems, such as moldy-appearing bones, or bone treats splintering when chewed by the pet.
As result, the FDA is advising dog owners to avoid bone treat, especially if you were planning on giving them as gifts during the holidays.
Additionally, they are suggesting dog owners keep an eye on all chicken and turkey bones during the holiday season.
“Chicken bones and other bones from the kitchen table can cause injury when chewed by pets, too. So be careful to keep platters out of reach when you’re cooking or the family is eating,” the FDA writes.
“Be careful what you put in the trash can. Dogs are notorious for helping themselves to the turkey carcass or steak bones disposed of there,” they add.
The FDA also suggest talking to your veterinarian about other toys or treats that would be appropriate for your dog to chew on.
Pass on this important safety information to the dog lovers you know.