FDA Issues Unsettling Warning To Dog Owners About Dog Bone Treats And Their Fatal Effects

FDA Issues Unsettling Warning To Dog Owners About Dog Bone Treats And Their Fatal Effects
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Updated 8 months ago

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to dog owners following a number of reported incidents related to commercial dog bone treats. 

The FDA received 68 reports of as many as 90 incidents and 15 deaths related to treats often labeled as ham bones, pork femur bones, rib bones, and smokey knuckle bones, though the warning listed no specific brands. 

Owners and vets reported the following illnesses to the FDA:

  • 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 warning only applies to real bones and not rawhide. The FDA listed a specific description of the potentially dangerous products on their website. 

Bone treats are real bones that have been processed, sometimes flavored, and packaged for dogs. 
The products may be dried through a smoking process or by baking, and may contain other ingredients such as preservatives, seasonings, and smoke flavorings.

Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian at the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the FDA had this warning for pet owners:

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.

To keep your dogs safe, the FDA had the following tips:

  • 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.

Stamper added, "We recommend supervising your dog with any chew toy or treat, especially one she hasn’t had before, and if she ‘just isn’t acting right,’ call your veterinarian right away!”