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Christmas Dog Treats - No Chew Bones!

ishane (Shane Adams) [Flickr]

Giving our pet a treat pleases us as owners.  How devastating it must be to give your dog a chew bone treat to be enjoyed, and find out that special treat made your furry buddy sick or even endangered its life.  It's up to us to keep our best friends safe!


According to one survey, eight out of ten pet owners buy holiday gifts for their pets. Some folks hang stockings for their pets right next to their own, filled with treats and toys. Others actually put wrapped gifts under the tree, to be opened by their furry friend when the rest of the family is exchanging presents.

Catnip toys and laser lights are popular with feline friends, and for dogs anything they can chase or chew will be a hit. But last month, the Food and Drug Administration issued awarning about store-bought treats that can harm your canine buddy or even kill it.

Calling them “bone treats”, the FDA says these processed treats are not the same as regular meat bones that might come from the butcher shop. No brand names were listed; instead the agency described them as “Ham Bones”, “Pork Femur Bones”, “Rib Bones” and “Smokey Knuckle Bones”.

The treats are bones that are commercially processed by smoking or baking, and might contain smoke flavoring, seasoning, preservatives. They may splinter when chewed and could cause serious problems for your pet, including choking, blocked airways or intestines, and digestive issues such as vomiting or diarrhea. Pet owners and veterinarians filed reports regarding 90 dogs who suffered after being given bone treats, including 15 who died.

So, if you’re a dog owner who usually stuffs your pet’s stocking with yummy bone treats, ask your veterinarian about appropriate alternatives. There are a lot of options for chew toys made with other materials that are safe for your dog.

Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian with the FDA, says, “Giving your dog a bone treat might lead to an unexpected trip to your veterinarian, possible emergency surgery, or even death for your pet.” She also suggests supervising your dog with any new toy or treat.

Probably the best gift you can give your pet this Christmas is some extra attention. It’s easy to become distracted by your calendar and your to-do list. Schedule some time with your best friend and make this holiday a happy (and safe) one for both of you, when you’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.
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