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FDA Issues Warning Against Bone Treats After Death of 15 Dogs

Almost 70 dogs have gotten sick and 15 have died after ingesting packaged "bone treats," billed as a safe alternative for pets to real carcass bones.

The Food and Drug Administration recently warned dog owners to throw away bagged “bone treats” after nearly 70 dogs reportedly became ill and 15 died after ingesting the treats.

The 68 animals who became sick suffered choking, cuts and wounds in their mouth, throat, or on the tonsils as well as vomiting, diarrhea, cuts and bleeding from the rectum, and blockage in the GI tract. Other reports filed to the FDA were complaints about the quality of the “bone treats”: the FDA reports receiving seven official complaints about mold-covered bones or splintering bone treats.

The treats, which are processed and packaged as safe alternatives to unsafe, uncooked real chicken and turkey bones that can splinter, are usually baked or cooked and look like standard bones. They’re packaged as different bone cuts on an animal (“Rib Bones”, “Ham Bones,” etc).

As a result of the reports and the ill dogs, the FDA is recommending pet owners don’t feed their pets “bone treats” and those pet owners always supervise their pet when they are trying a new treat, especially one they haven’t had before. This advice is particularly important as the holidays approach — popular stores like PetSmart often sell stocking stuffers of dog treats and toys that may be different from the brands that owners are used to buying. 

The FDA also recommends consulting a veterinarian about treats that are good for dogs and carefully guarding your trash can in order to stop a dog’s wandering nose from finding a treat that could make them feel ill. Keep these tips in mind to keep your pet safe.