The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning dog owners that store-bought bone treats can kill their four-legged companions.
The FDA released a consumer update after receiving nearly 70 reports of dogs falling ill and 15 reports of deaths as a result of bone treats such as “Ham Bones,” “Rib Bones,” “Pork Femur Bones,” and “Smokey Knuckle Bones.”
The store-bought bone treats differ from uncooked bones that can be purchased from a butcher in that they are processed, packaged, and full of preservatives. They are marketed as dog treats instead of food, USA Today reports.
Seven of those reports stated that the treats looked “moldy” and splintered into sharp pieces when dogs chewed on them, according to the FDA.
“Giving your dog a bone treat might lead to an unexpected trip to your veterinarian, a possible emergency surgery, or even death for your pet,” said Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.
Dog owners reported that their furry companions experienced symptoms such as choking, bleeding, vomiting, and wounds to the mouth and tonsils.
The agency also warned that chicken and other bones found in meats could cause injuries to pets.
“We recommend supervising your dog with any chew toy or treat, especially one she hasn’t had before,” Stamper said. “And if she ‘just isn’t acting right,’ call your veterinarian right away!”
Other mass-produced dog treats have been linked to illnesses in pets before. Manufacturers pulled jerky treats produced in China from their store shelves in 2015 after thousands of animals and a few people who handled the treats fell ill.