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Vets Warn About Popular Dog Bones

Dogs and bones. The two are almost inseparable: What dog doesn’t like chewing and then hiding a bone?

But a growing number of vets across the country are raising concerns about a popular dog treat that they say is injuring, even killing some pets: Cooked pork bones.

Most dogs chew on rawhide bones, which shred to harmless fiber when chewed.

But many stores are now selling pork bones, and dogs love them. Some people feel they are better, as they more resemble natural bones.
But a growing number of online complaints list all sorts of injuries that owners blame on these bones.

Gene Balzer believed the packaging, which said the pork bones were good for his dog’s Bella and Reggie’s teeth. But then his dogs started getting sick, he said.

“It was actually in the vomit,” Balzer said. “There was little pieces of the bone in there. They were still sharp.”

What the Experts Say

We found dozens of complaints from owners who spent thousands in vet bills, and even lost their dogs, after giving them pork bones. And x-rays show several images of where those pieces can end up lodged inside a dogs body.

So we put them to the test. It took just seconds to send a pork bone splintering into shards.

Emergency vet Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald sees these kinds of injuries on a weekly basis.

“I am an expert,” Dr. Fitzgerald said, “and in 30 years I’ve seen a lot of problems with this type of food. Many of these sharp ones can cause perforations or lacerations as they go through.”

He says brittle bones are among the most dangerous because of how dogs eat. “They’re gorging, they’re grabbing, they’re gonna swallow things in one gulp,” he said.

Regulations are Weak

The FDA investigated and recommended that processed and cooked bones never be given to dogs.

So why are these potentially dangerous bones still in stores?

We found the industry is largely self-regulated. The FDA requires pet food products be ‘pure and wholesome’ and ‘truthfully labeled.’

But these federal regulations apply only to the ingredients, not product safety.

It’s something pet owners like Balzer want changed. “I really want to get this out there so other people don’t feed their dogs pork bones,” Balzer said.

Stores selling pork bones for dogs say they stand behind their products, and say they’re safe. But if you have any doubts about a product call your vet, before you give it to your pet.

That way he’s safe and you don’t waste your money.

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Pam McInnes
10 years ago

First: When you give your dog a bone make sure it’s raw and NOT COOKED! Cooking the bone is what makes it weak and splinter.

Secondly: Rawhide bones are not harmless. Rawhide is the hide of the animal and because it can’t be digested can sometimes ball up and cause blockages as it moves through your dog’s system. There is also no nutritional value.

Want to help your dog’s teeth, satisfy his need to chew and provide him with the nutrition he needs? Raw bones and pizzles (also known as bully sticks) are the ticket.

Kat4tx
Kat4tx
10 years ago
Reply to  Pam McInnes

This is exactly what the vet told me. No rawhide bones! 

Naturesmunchies
Naturesmunchies
10 years ago
Reply to  Pam McInnes

Yes that’s absolutely correct.  It is the cooking of the bone and has nothing to do with they type whether it is pork/veal/beef.  And STAY AWAY FROM RAWHIDE.  They are dangerous.  There are many safe, natural, uncooked choices for your dog  

Carla Fisher
10 years ago
Reply to  Pam McInnes

 I always gave rawhides to my dogs, but I noticed that one of them sometimes had something like a mild seizure and the only thing I could think that he’d had was a rawhide.  Wondered if maybe it was causing some kind of blockage.  I

LOIS MCGILLIGAN
10 years ago

I never give my dog cooked bones, raw only.

Frances Bell
10 years ago

i never give my dogs bones the couple of time i gave them bones when they had to go to the loo after the bones made them constipated plus they passed some blood in their motion so to me bones are a no no for my dogs

Marta, Rover and Rover Toronto
Marta, Rover and Rover Toronto
10 years ago

First of all, there is no such thing as “raw hide bone”.  The processed raw hide treats are made out of animal hide, that is skin, not bone.  Second of all, raw hide products are by a long shot not problem free.  They routinely get stuck in dog’s throats, cause blockages, and dogs can easily choke on them.  Any one who has seen a raw hide treat that has been chewed by a dog knows how extremely sticky it becomes and how easily pieces stick to the dog’s roof of the mouth or throat.  There is no nutritional value to them what so ever, and the process by which they are made does not make them a healthy treat.  Many vets and pet professionals strongly recommend against giving raw hides to dogs. 

..now for the bones… dogs should NEVER be given cooked bones.  The process of cooking makes bones (of any size) dry and brittle and this is when they become very dangerous to dogs.  Raw bones are very healthy, are a major part of diet for dogs fed raw, and can be an excellent way to keep a dog’s teeth sparkling white.  

You also don’t need to go to a pet store and buy extremely over priced bones packaged for dogs when you can get perfectly good ones for much less at a local butcher.  Turkey necks are an excellent snack and are 100% digestible, you can also serve them frozen to make them last longer.  Any large knuckle bones (beef) are great for dogs to gnaw on.  You can easily give the dog a bone inside their crate so that they don’t make a mess, or gate them off in the kitchen where you can easily wipe the floor after them. 

Vvachonditpomerleau
Vvachonditpomerleau
10 years ago

These so called rawhide bones have made my dog vomit so no more of that crap for my dog.

Nmajorrich
Nmajorrich
10 years ago

I give my big dog a bone with the marrow inside…but never unattanded.

Mary White
10 years ago

I never give my dogs real bones. I’m always afraid they’ll splinter. I just buy a bag of bacon bits for their treats. They love them! The only kind of bones I give them are Milk Bones.

petopia
petopia
10 years ago

When these bones first came out they were cow bones and very strong and lasted forever, then I bought what I thought was the same thing about 13 years ago and they were these things.  Horrible.  Took them away from my dogs back then and only buy them soup bones from the butcher section of the grocery.  You can cook them a bit and they love getting the marrow and then can chew on them forever afterwards. Fraction of the price of these nasty bones too.

Petopia
Petopia
10 years ago

*** I cook my soup bones just enough to keep the marrow from getting all over the floor.  It does not make the bone brittle.  They are the big beef soup bones 3 or more inches long depending on the size of the dog you are giving it to.  You can also put a spoon of peanut butter in after they get the marrow out.  No need to buy expensive rubber toys.  

Rusty Shakelford
Rusty Shakelford
10 years ago

Gosh…been giving my dog pork bones from when I butcher my own for the last 12 years.  He is fine……better stop I guess.

skg
skg
10 years ago

 I don’t think the problem is the bones you’re giving them, but the fact that the ones they’re talking about here have been cooked.  Raw is apparently just fine for them.

lc
lc
10 years ago

Pork is generally not tolerated well by most dogs.  If your dog is on a cheapo kibble diet you might not notice a change, but in a healthy dog they will tend to be gassy or have loose stool.  Every dog I’ve owned has had issues with pork (we’re on dogs #5 and 6) and all my fosters too.  My current female Aussie who is raw fed, has never had a food allergy or other intolerance.  We joke she could eat a brick and *hit it out justthe same no problem….but any amount of pork and she is in major stomache distress.  If you feed pork ears, switch to Beef ears or Lamb ears for smaller dogs or less aggressive chewers.  Raw bones other than pork are great and so are bully sticks and dehydrated tripe.

Brandiesbasura
Brandiesbasura
10 years ago

What about pork hooves? Any problems with those?
 

DjOhio
DjOhio
10 years ago

Femur Bones that can be purchased in pet shops are harder, tend not to splinter and last longer than other bones. But if the dog is an aggressive chewer an end can be chewed to a  sharp point. It then should be taken away. Almost any other bone purchased in pet shops will splinter and crack within minutes if the dog is an aggressive chewer.

Mindi BunnyPaws
10 years ago

I came within a dog’s whisker of buying my beloved labrador one of these.The phrase “smoked” kept screaming at me,which of course, is a method of cooking,so I just could not get past the fear of something happening to my Shadow.He already has epilepsy,I didnt/dont want him to have any more issues! I’m still scared to death to give him or my Chi raw bones as well.Rawhide and anything made in China are big no nos here as well.I feel bad cos I want to protect my babies,but let them have their chewing fun as well…but not at huge vet bill costs,or worse.Glad I saw this and was able to have my feeling confirmed that these are a bad idea!

2heelerz
2heelerz
10 years ago

” Most dogs chew on rawhide bones, which shred to harmless fiber when chewed.”

Where did you get this little gem from? Rawhide is the worst thing you could feed your dog.

Anne
Anne
9 years ago

I bought my dog a large bone from a locally owned pet supply store on halloween- our anniversary… I have always bought him one on occasion over the last 4yrs.. this time though.. just a few days ago.. so roughly 10days after first starting to chew on the bone.. he began to have a mild type of seizure.. which would jerk his entire body in spurts.. he didn’t seem bothered by it.. i made him stand.. then sit and no matter his position it kept happening.. lasted for about an hour off and on… So i have been very attentive of his urination and poop.. Yesterday I noticed a large white chunk in his poop.. didn’t think too much about it.. but saw another one in his poop today. I grabbed it.. it was BONE. Tear drop shaped. I wonder if this bone is what caused his “Tick” the other night? He also had one breathing episode of very raspy coughs. Is there anything I can give him to help dissolve any leftover bone in his system? Should I really fork over the money for an x-ray right now? I am single and super broke.. and am willing to find a way… but if there is an organic/home solution to clearing out anything left of the bone in his system… i would be greatly appreciative. Please help if you are truly qualified to suggest a safe and healthy option. Thank you.

Mike E.
Mike E.
9 years ago

I keep seeing people talking about giving their dogs raw bones but what about bacteria and parasites from raw items? Salmonella, E.coli, Trichinosis, tape worms, etc. Should I be concerned about any of those?

Brenda
Brenda
9 years ago

I bought one of these bones and when I took the plastic wrap of of it, it immediately broke in half and there were these tiny worms all in it! Needless to say, I threw it away!

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