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Processed bone treats risky for dogs

Both bones and processed bone treats pose health risks to dogs. Dr. Lee provides more information and recommendations for safer dog chew items.

Processed bone treats risky for dogs

Q:My veterinarian advised me not to give my dog bones, because chewing them is the most common cause of fractured teeth. What about processed bone treats made of ground up bones?

A:It’s best to stay away from those, too, but for other reasons.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regularly cautions pet lovers about the risks of bone treats, commercially available bones that have been baked, smoked or dried, sometimes with flavorings or preservatives.

The agency has received numerous reports of choking, gastrointestinal blockage, vomiting, diarrhea, and bleeding from the mouth or rectum associated with processed bone treats. Of the 90 cases reported over the past seven years, 15 dogs died.

Instead of giving bone treats, select chew toys that match your dog’s size and chewing power. Many dogs do well with hard rubber toys that compress a bit when chewed; some of these hold peanut butter or soft cheese. Other options are food puzzles that release kibble when rolled along the floor and dental treats approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.

Remember that all dog toys are PG: parental guidance and supervision are required.

Editor’s Note: Check out this list of dog toys from our best pet gifts list of 2017.

Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at

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