Thursday, April 22, 2010

FDA: Just Say No to Bones

 The FDA would like you to reconsider before handing that next bone over to your dog.

“Some people think it’s safe to give dogs large bones, like those from a ham or a roast,” says Carmela Stamper, D.V.M., a veterinarian in the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration. “Bones are unsafe no matter what their size. Giving your dog a bone may make your pet a candidate for a trip to your veterinarian’s office later, possible emergency surgery, or even death.”
“Make sure you throw out bones from your own meals in a way that your dog can’t get to them,” adds Stamper, who suggests taking the trash out right away or putting the bones up high and out of your dog’s reach until you have a chance to dispose of them. “And pay attention to where your dog’s nose is when you walk him around the neighborhood—steer him away from any objects lying in the grass.”
Here are 10 reasons why it’s a bad idea to give your dog a bone:
  1. Broken teeth. This may call for expensive veterinary dentistry.
  2. Mouth or tongue injuries. These can be very bloody and messy and may require a trip to see your veterinarian.
  3. Bone gets looped around your dog’s lower jaw. This can be frightening or painful for your dog and potentially costly to you, as it usually means a trip to see your veterinarian.
  4. Bone gets stuck in esophagus, the tube that food travels through to reach the stomach. Your dog may gag, trying to bring the bone back up, and will need to see your veterinarian.
  5. Bone gets stuck in windpipe. This may happen if your dog accidentally inhales a small enough piece of bone. This is an emergency because your dog will have trouble breathing. Get your pet to your veterinarian immediately!
  6. Bone gets stuck in stomach. It went down just fine, but the bone may be too big to pass out of the stomach and into the intestines. Depending on the bone’s size, your dog may need surgery or upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, a procedure in which your veterinarian uses a long tube with a built-in camera and grabbing tools to try to remove the stuck bone from the stomach.
  7. Bone gets stuck in intestines and causes a blockage. It may be time for surgery.
  8. Constipation due to bone fragments. Your dog may have a hard time passing the bone fragments because they’re very sharp and they scrape the inside of the large intestine or rectum as they move along. This causes severe pain and may require a visit to your veterinarian.
  9. Severe bleeding from the rectum. This is very messy and can be dangerous. It’s time for a trip to see your veterinarian.
  10. Peritonitis. This nasty, difficult-to-treat bacterial infection of the abdomen is caused when bone fragments poke holes in your dog’s stomach or intestines. Your dog needs an emergency visit to your veterinarian because peritonitis can kill your dog.
“Talk with your veterinarian about alternatives to giving bones to your dog,” says Stamper. “There are many bone-like products made with materials that are safe for dogs to chew on.”
“Always supervise your dog with any chew product, especially one your dog hasn’t had before,” adds Stamper. “And always, if your dog ‘just isn’t acting right,’ call your veterinarian right away!”
This article appears on FDA's Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.



  1. Bones are not babysitters. You have to monitor your dog with them. Cooked bones are certainly not safe in any format. I feed raw meaty bones as a part of our BARF diet, but you absolutely have to keep an eye on them.

  2. Oh... come ON. The FDA is almighty in its knowledge? REALLY? Oh ok, i get it, this is humor.

    you're going to get a lot of raw bone people commenting. (including me!)

    um, ya, dogs are omnivores. they opportunistic eaters. that said, cooked bones are not safe but i'm sure hundreds and thousands of stray dogs eat them regularly. though they aren't safe. raw, au naturelle, is the best way to go for dogs. and the BIGGER the bone the better. cooking changes the molecular structure of bones making them sharp and dangerous. if you ever your dog a raw bone, you will see how soft they truly are. when you see a dog GRIND down a LARGE raw knuckle bone, you can see how good it is for their teeth. Seriously, when was the last time you saw a WOLF at a dentist? no dogs are not wolves, but they certainly have similar digestive make up. you can also see the next day how ground down a raw bone is when you see chalky white poo. the best thing in the world to see because you know they brushed their teeth!

  3. Raw meaty bones only. They have helped to clean the tartar off the Bentman's teeth nicely. I get them from the butcher when he has them. He feeds them to his dogs too.

  4. Who woulda thought? So....are raw bones okay?

  5. My dogs almost never get human food and they never get any bones except for rawhide chews shaped like little bones.

  6. We like a very light sear on our beef rib bones, just enough to sear meat but bones are still cold and raw. YUM.

    Is it time for our weekednd grilling yet?

    Remy and Flash

  7. Oh no, I better stop feeding chicken backs right away! Not!

  8. FDA is a federally run organization, right? 'nuff said.

  9. gosh--i am not too sure about any of this....

  10. Chance never gets bones. The only thing close to a bone that she got, was a denta bone. She's got enough problems without any other possible ones. Thanks for sharing this with everybody.

  11. I wish the FDA would think before they act or at least report the specifics and not be so vague. Dogs should never get COOKED bones but RAW bones are just fine (take a look at wolves in the wild). As with any animal when you give them a toy, rawhide or bone it should be supervised, as getting things lodged in their throat is dangerous. I have pulled chunks of rawhide, cardboard, sticks, and much more from a dogs throat in my many years of ownership.

  12. I get the raw recreational bones. They are the only ones I will chew on! I get a HUGE piece of a cow or some such that even I, Mango, cannot swallow. Nylabones? Forget about it! Anything else is more likely to chunkify in my stomach than an actual meaty bone.