Deadly Dog Treats: Why You Should Avoid Bone Treats for Your Pet

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on December 05, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

We all want to reward our very good dogs. We just don't want choking, vomiting, or diarrhea to be part of that reward. And if you're giving your good dog a "bone treat," according to the FDA, that's exactly what they might get.

"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," says FDA veterinarian Carmela Stamper. So read this before filling your dog's stocking full of Christmas treats.

Which Bones Are Dangerous?

Most importantly, how do dog owners identify which treats are risky? After all, dogs love bones and there are a lot of treats out there on the market. According to the FDA warning, the bone treats that can harm your best friend aren't like natural animal bones left over from consumption or butchering (although you should know to be careful with those as well).

Instead, dangerous bone treats "differ from uncooked butcher-type bones because they are processed and packaged for sale as dog treats." That processing may mean the treats are "dried through a smoking process or by baking, and may contain other ingredients such as preservatives, seasonings, and smoke flavorings." these treats are often sold in pet stores and other retailers under the name "Ham Bones," "Pork Femur Bones," "Rib Bones," and "Smokey Knuckle Bones."

How Dangerous Are They?

As noted, the bone treats can cause gastrointestinal issues, including blockages of a dog's digestive tract. Dog owners have also reported cuts and wounds in the mouth or on the tonsils and even rectal bleeding. Sadly, 15 dog deaths have been linked to bone treats in the past 17 years.

If you have questions about a specific dog treat, always check with your pet's vet first, and Stamper recommends always supervising your dog when giving her a new chew toy or treat. And, of course, make sure they're not lifting an illicit chicken bone from the table or turkey carcass from the trash.

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