The US Food and Drug Administration has recently issued a revised warning about giving your dog packaged “bone treats.” While there are also dangers in giving your dog real bones you get from the butcher, the FDA is emphasizing the health risks of processed and packaged bone treats.
These bone treats are sold at many brick and mortar and online retail outlets. They may be labelled as pork femur bones, ham bones, rib bones, or smoked knuckle bones. The bones are dried by smoking or baking, and contain preservatives and flavorings.
What are the health risks of bone treats? The FDA has received reports from veterinarians and pet owners on the following issues:
- Gastrointestinal obstruction
- Cuts and other wounds in the mouth or on the tonsils
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding
- Risk of death (15 cases of dogs dying after eating bone treats have been reported)
Other problems with the treats themselves, such as mold and splinters, have also been reported.
The FDA recommends these common-sense tips to keep your dog safe around bones and bone treats:
- Keep dishes of your food scraps that contain bones (especially small bones like chicken) out of reach of pets.
- Monitor your dog around the trash if you throw away bones or poultry carcasses.
- Talk to your vet about safe chew toy options (like Kongs) as a replacement for bones and bone treats.
- Remember to supervise your dog around all chew toys and treats to prevent accidental ingestion.