The Gift You Don’t Want to Give Your Dog This Holiday

It’s that time of year for gift giving… showering those we love with things they don’t need. And because our pets are part of the family, they often get something too.

If you’re going to buy your dog a special bone to chomp on this holiday season, please read this first.

Warning from the FDA

At the end of November, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a report warning dog owners about processed bone treats.

Between November 1, 2010 and September 12, 2017, the FDA received reports from owners and veterinarians of 90 dogs getting sick and 15 of those dogs dying from these bones.

Although the FDA didn’t name a manufacturer and there is no official recall, the FDA warned that companies sell the dangerous products with marketing names like Ham Bones, Pork Femur Bones, Rib Bones and Smokey Knuckle Bones.

Ham Bone Pic

These “bones” aren’t uncooked bones you’d get from a butcher.  In fact, they’re not actual bones at all.  These treats are usually animal material that’s ground up and made into the shape of a bone.  Then they’re dried through a smoking process or baked.

The bones in question are for sale in groceries, pet stores and through online retailers.

The pet owners whose poor dogs got sick reported that their dogs suffered from:

Gastrointestinal blockages


Cuts and wounds in their mouths and tonsils



Bleeding from the rectum


Unfortunately, some of these dogs died.

Not only did owners complain of illness, they also reported the treats splintered when chewed and some were moldy when opened.

So if you were going to buy your dog one of these treats, what can you get them instead?

Well, most veterinarians discourage giving your dog any bone to chew on, even a natural bone because natural bones have risks too.

Cooked bones are too brittle and will splinter. Be sure your holiday meal trash is far out of your dog’s reach.

And you don’t want to give your dog a raw bone either.  They can be too hard and cause broken teeth, abscesses, gum infections and other mouth problems.

And if they’re not sterilized, the meat remaining on the raw bone carries bacteria like salmonella. This is particularly problematic if the bone sits around for a long time.  If you have young children, old relatives or any immune-compromised person living in your home, this is dangerous.

Bones have no nutritional value.  It’s more important you feed your dog a well-balanced diet like Husse to insure they get the nutrition they need.  And find a safer alternative to satisfy their need to chew.

How about rawhide?

Rawhide is not part of the FDA warning.  But when you hear what rawhide is and how it’s made, you won’t ever want to give your dog this “treat”.

Rawhide comes from the underside of the hide of an animal… often a cow or horse, but not always. The top of the hide is the part used for leather products.

During processing of the hide—by a tannery, not a beef processing plant—it’s bathed in chemicals to prevent spoilage, remove hair and fat, and to clean and bleach it.

When tested, investigators found dangerous chemicals like arsenic, formaldehyde, mercury and lead in these treats.  Chemicals and preservatives are a concern.  But rawhide has other problems too.

A dog will chew on rawhide until it softens.  Then they’ll rip off pieces.  Big pieces can cause blockages.  And if your dog becomes obsessed with this treat, they may chew it so fast they choke.

A voracious chewer may eat too much of the rawhide causing gastrointestinal upset.

There are alternatives to processed bone treats, natural bones and rawhide. Talk with your vet to see what they recommend.  The pet industry realized the dangers of these treats, prompting them to develop many safer choices.

Even better than a straight up chew treat, consider stuffing a Kong toy with food and freezing it. Your dog will use physical and mental energy getting the food out.  This is great entertainment when you have a house full of guests and you need to distract your pooch or keep them busy in their crate.

Whatever the chew toy you give your dog this holiday season, be sure it’s appropriate for your dog’s chewing strength.  And always supervise your dog with a new toy or treat.

The best rule of thumb… if your dog’s not behaving normally, see the vet.

What types of chew treats do you give your dog?  Share with us in the comment section at the top of the page.





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