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FDA warning "bone treats" could be deadly for dogs

WASHINGTON (CBS 58) – The FDA is issuing a warning to dog owners, saying we may want to reconsider giving our four-legged friends “bone treats.”

The FDA says they’ve received about 68 reports of pet illnesses related to “bone treats” that are processed and packaged for sale. The reports included treats described as “Ham Bones,” “Pork Femur Bones,” “Rib Bones,” and “Smokey Knuckle Bones.”

The products may be dried through a smoking process or by baking and may contain preservatives, seasonings, and smoke flavorings.

According to a veterinarian with the FDA, giving your dog a bone treat could lead to an unexpected trip to the vet, possible emergency surgery, or even death.

Some of the illnesses that were reported to the FDA after dogs ate “bone treats” include:

  • 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 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.

The FDA is offering the following 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.

To report a problem with a pet food or treat, please visit FDA’s Web page on “How to Report a Pet Food Complaint.”


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