FDA Issues Warning to Dog Owners After 15 Dogs Die From Bone Treats

The FDA has issued a dire warning about the processed, flavored "bone treats" that are available at most pet stores these days. The administration says they've received 68 reports of pet illness relating to the product — including fifteen deaths.

If you're not familiar, the bones that this announcement is referring to are large, usually plastic-wrapped, baked dry, and coated in flavor. Dogs will gnaw on them and lick them clean. There are several manufacturers, and they usually come with labels like "Ham Bones," "Pork Femur Bones," "Rib Bones" or "Smokey Knuckle Bones." These are real bones that have been processed — not plastic toys or raw-hide.

The FDA says that they have reports of at least ninety dogs getting ill from these bones. They can cause gastrointestinal obstructions, blocked airways, internal bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea, and ultimately lead to death. Even if the symptoms aren't so obvious, the preservatives and seasonings used to make these "treats" are no good for man's best friend in the long run.

The FDA was careful to draw a distinction between these shrink-wrapped bones and actual butcher's bones. For most dogs, uncooked, unflavored bones are a safe and natural chew toy, if you happen to have them laying around.

However, it's important to remember during the holiday season that small bones — such as turkey bones — aren't safe to toss under the table for your furry friend either. The small bones of most poultry will splinter easily, and could cause some serious damage if swallowed. It's also important not to leave such bones in the trash for too long, as they'll only tempt your pet to make an excavation.


The FDA reminds you that if you have any questions about what it is and isn't safe to give to your pets, talk to a veterinarian. It's better to be safe than sorry, and it's better to make a pre-emptive call to the vet than an emergency trip to the animal hospital.