FDA: Giving dog a bone treat may be bad for its health

Posted at 10:14 PM, Nov 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-28 22:37:30-05

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The U.S. Food & Drug Administration says it’s received reports of 68 pet illnesses so far, stemming from so-called “bone treats”.

According to the FDA, bone treats are different than uncooked butcher-type bones, because they’re processed and packaged for sale as dog treats. They’re real bones that sometimes are flavored.

The commercially-available treats mentioned in the reports come under various names such as “Rib Bones”, “Ham Bones”, “Pork Femur Bones” and “Smokey Knuckle Bones”. The FDA says they’re sometimes dried through a smoking process or by baking. They often contain seasonings and preservatives.

Some of the illnesses reported to the FDA by owners and veterinarians:

  • Gastrointestinal obstruction (blockage in the digestive tract)
  • Choking
  • Cuts and wounds in the mouth or on the tonsils
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bleeding from the rectum, and/or
  • Death. Approximately fifteen dogs reportedly died after eating a bone treat.

The FDA says other problems reported include moldy-appearing bones, or bone treats that splinter when chewed by the pet.

Some tips offered by the FDA:

  • 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.

To report a problem with any pet food or treat, see the FDA web page.