The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers to be wary of bone treats for dogs, although no specific brand was mentioned. Bone dog treats were related to 68 reports to the FDA of pet illness, involving approximately 90 dogs, between November 1, 2010 and September 12, 2017. Dog treats marketed as ham bones, pork femur bones, rib bones and pork knuckles were involved in the reported illnesses. FDA also received seven reports of problems with bone treats, such as moldy-appearing bones, or bone treats splintering when chewed by the pet.
“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,” said Carmela Stamper, an FDA veterinarian in the agency’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.
Bone treat illnesses reported to FDA
Illnesses reported to FDA by owners and veterinarians regarding dogs that have eaten bone treats included:
- Gastrointestinal obstruction (blockage in the digestive tract)
- Cuts and wounds in the mouth or on the tonsils
- Bleeding from the rectum, and/or
- Death. Approximately fifteen dogs reportedly died after eating a bone treat.
FDA warned about bones in the past
FDA has warned about giving a dog a bone for years. In 2010, FDA called it a dangerous practice that can cause injuries to pets.
"Bones are unsafe no matter what their size," said Stamper.
The FDA listed 10 reasons to not give a pet a bone, including broken teeth, mouth/tongue injuries, blocked windpipe and infections.
"There are many bone-like products made with materials that are safe for dogs to chew on," Stamper said.