Bone treats could hurt your dog, warns Mississippi State professor

Think twice before giving your beloved dog processed, packaged “bone treats,” says the FDA and Mississippi State veterinary services professor Dr. Christine Bryan, who agree they could make your pet extremely ill.
Since November 2010, the FDA has received approximately 70 reports of pet illness tied to “bone treats,” including “Ham Bones,” “Pork Femur Bones,” “Rib Bones” and “Smokey Knuckle Bones,” according to the agency’s website.
Bryan, who spoke to NPR about her experience with canine patients who’ve suffered after eating these treats, says she “never recommends them.”
Though many of these treats are shaped like an animal bone, in many cases they’re made of ground-up animal material, which raises the risk of pieces breaking off and causing blockages or internal damage, she said.
Bryan said she understands why dog owners might give into their dogs’ love of the fairly inexpensive treats, but that it’s well-known these treats aren’t good for dogs.
“I think people think that it’s never going to be their animal that’s affected by it,” Bryan said.
 
Illnesses reported to the FDA after consumption of 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.

 
Bryan’s alternative recommendations include rubber chew toys, including those which can be filled with food, or synthetic chewing bones. It’s important to keep in mind dogs should be supervised when chewing on anything, no matter how safe, many experts say.
Read the updated FDA report here.
 

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