Don’t give your dog a bone, after all.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced last week that it had received 68 reports of pet illnesses related to bone treats. Approximately fifteen dogs have reportedly died after consuming the treats.
The FDA distinguishes uncooked bones — like the ones you get from a butcher — and bone treats that are processed for sale. The packaged treats are usually dried through a smoking process and contain preservatives and other flavoring ingredients. They’re often sold as “Ham Bones,” “Pork Femur Bones,” and “Smokey Knuckle Bones.”
“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, said in a statement.
Dog owners and veterinarians have reported illnesses related to bone treats including blockages in the digestive tract, choking, cuts and wounds in the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding from the rectum, and death.
The FDA also said it reviewed seven instances of other problems related to bone treats, including mold and treats that splintered when chewed.
In order to keep your furry friend safe, the FDA recommends that you keep chicken or turkey bones out of reach of pets while cooking and eating, secure your trash cans, and talk to your veterinarian about dog-friendly toys and treats.
“We recommend supervising your dog with any chew toy or treat, especially one she hasn’t had before,” Stamper said. “And if she ‘just isn’t acting right,’ call your veterinarian right away.”
The FDA has also set up a portal on its website if you’d like to report a problem with a pet treat.