GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The FDA has a warning for pet owners: beware of giving your dog "bone treats."
Bone treats are made from actual bones, that are dried and seasoned for dogs to chew on. But they are brittle, and pieces or fragments of these bone treats can wind up in your dog's digestive tract.
The FDA has 68 reports of illness as a result of these bone treats, and around 15 dogs have died.
These bone treats are often called "Ham Bones", "Pork Femur Bones", "Rib Bones", and "Smokey Knuckle Bones." They've caused issues ranging from choking, vomiting, and diarrhea to even death.
"They're processed bones that have gone through various cooking processes or dehydration," said Dr. Kristopher Sharpe, a Veterinarian at the Blue Pearl Specialty Emergency Pet Hospital in Grand Rapids. "And the biggest concern we see with them is dogs eating them whole and getting stuck somewhere, or them fracturing and perforating their intestines or other things like that."
Dr. Sharpe also sees a lot of issues with actual bones that people feed to their dogs directly from the table, especially during the holiday season. "We see a lot of vomiting, diarrhea, pancreatitis. A lot of emergency surgeries for pets ingesting things they're not used to," he said.
Dr. Sharpe says synthetic bones are safer for your pet, but even those need to be monitored.