FDA warning: Do NOT give your dog bone treats. They could be deadly

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It's understandable that you'd want to pamper your pooch. But if you're doing so with bone treats, you're actually risking its life.

That's the warning from the US Food and Drug Administration after it received about 68 reports of dog illnesses tied to such treats.

Bone treats are real bones that have been dried, flavored and packaged for dogs, the FDA says. They're a fixture in pet stores.

Although the treats might seem like they make good stocking stuffers, they pose serious health risks.

A sick dog.

In the FDA's reports, pet owners and veterinarians said dogs that ate these bones experienced blockages in the digestive tract, choking, cuts, vomiting, diarrhea and in extreme cases, death. About 15 dogs died.

"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," veterinarian Carmela Stamper said in the published warning.

Besides the warning, the FDA also provided extra tips for keeping Fido safe:

  • Chicken bones and other bones from the kitchen table can also cause injury when chewed by pets. So be careful to keep platters out of reach when you're cooking or the family's eating.
  • Be careful what you put in the trash can. Dogs are notorious for helping themselves to the turkey carcass or steak bones disposed of 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.

Q13 News spoke with Erin O’Hagan with Lucky Dog Outfitters in Tacoma. She said pet owners need to educate themselves about treats before they give them to their dog.

“If your dog has done fine on bones it may not be a big deal. If you’ve never given your dog a bone, again, we just recommend being really cautious the first time and seeing how your dog is chewing,” O’Hagan said.

If traditional bones aren’t an option for your dog, Erin recommends antlers, even horns or hooves.

A smaller, softer option is a bully stick. Or, maybe, a rubber chew toy is a better bet for your pet.

Bottom line, talk to your veterinarian.

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