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FDA Issues Warning About Potentially Fatal Dog Bone Treats

Bone treats are a great way to spoil your beloved pooch, but you might want to think twice before throwing one at them, because they could be putting their life at risk.

While dog owners don't usually feed their pets fresh chicken or turkey bones because they're too brittle, pre-packaged flavored bone treats are a fixture in pet stores, and don't seem to pose serious health risks - at least that's what we thought.

Pet Health Zone

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been receiving an alarmingly high number of pet illnesses and they all seem to have one thing in common - bone treats. There has been about 68 reports linked to such treats, and about 15 of the canines died.

But why are these treats so bad for your dog's health?

According to the FDA, veterinarians and pet owners said that the bones caused gastrointestinal obstruction, cuts, wounds in the mouth or tonsils, choking, vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding from the rectum, and unfortunately, death.  

"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," Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian at the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in the warning.

No brands were named in the report, but illnesses have been linked to "ham bones, pork femur bones, rib bones, and smokey knuckle bones." These products are usually dried and smoked or baked, and contain additional ingredients, such as "preservatives, seasonings, and smoke flavorings."


In case you're worried about your furry friend gnawing on a bone behind your back, the FDA provided some extra tips for keeping them 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 [in] 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 also 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!"

Do you usually give your dog bone treats? Let us know!

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.