For veterinarians, giving your dog a bone is almost the equivalent of running with scissors — not safe.
So when the Food and Drug Administration takes the time to issue a warning about “treat bones,” most in our profession are split between “Thanks for helping us get the message out” and “ What took you so long?”
In fairness, many consumers have thought that a “smokey knuckle bone ” or “seasoned ham bone” might impart not only additional flavor, but safety as well.
The truth is that these “treats” have led to the death and illness of many dogs – perhaps more than reported as veterinarians are not required to submit to the FDA any record of the dogs injured by these bones.
While not specifically mentioned by the FDA, raw bones can also cause serious issues with splintering and carry the additional risk of potentially transmitting salmonella and other infectious agents.
Deer and other game animal antlers pose the same risks as treat or raw bones –blockages to the intestinal tract, cuts in the mouth, diarrhea and the potential to fracture the crowns of teeth.
To keep your pet safe, discuss appropriate treats and chews for your pet with your veterinarian. For some pets, rawhide can be an alternative. It is even safer if it is thin and manufactured in the United States, but it will still carry a choking risk. Even rubber or latex toys can be torn apart by strong chewers and swallowed.
The bottom line is that toys and treats always carry some risk and owner supervision should be a part of the chewing experience for dogs.
Questions? Send them to Dr. Sandeman, Home & Garden, Quad-City Times, 500 E. 3rd St., Davenport, IA 52801. Or, email to email@example.com. Dr. Sandeman cannot answer letters or email personally, but questions of general interest will be answered in this column.
Dec 10, 2017