The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning saying that “bone treats” pose a choking threat to dogs.
While dog owners are typically aware that chicken and turkey bones can splinter and hurt dogs, the FDA is seeing an alarming number of dogs hurt by bone treats.
What’s a Bone Treat?
The FDA has received about 68 reports of pet illnesses related to “bone treats,” which differ from uncooked butcher-type bones because they are processed and packaged for sale as dog treats. A variety of commercially-available bone treats for dogs—including treats described as “Ham Bones,” “Pork Femur Bones,” “Rib Bones,” and “Smokey Knuckle Bones”—were listed in the reports. The products may be dried through a smoking process or by baking, and may contain other ingredients such as preservatives, seasonings, and smoke flavorings.
“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,” said Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian in the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) at the FDA.
How can the bone treats hurt pets?
- Gastrointestinal obstruction (blockage of the digestive tract)
- Cuts and wounds in the mouth or on the tonsils
- Bleeding from the rectum, and/or
- Death. Approximately fifteen dogs reportedly died after eating a bone treat.
The reports, sent in by pet owners and veterinarians, involved about 90 dogs (some reports included more than one dog). In addition, FDA received seven reports of product problems, such as moldy-appearing bones, or bone treats splintering when chewed by the pet.
Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe
Here are some tips to keep your dog safe:
- 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.
- 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.
- Talk with your veterinarian about other toys or treats that are most appropriate for your dog. There are many available products made with different materials for dogs to chew on.