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FDA Issues Warning About Bone Treats for Dogs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning regarding the purchase and use of store-bought “bone treats”. According to FDA, approximately 15 dogs have reportedly died after eating a bone treat and they have received about 68 reports of pet illnesses related to “bone treats”. Illnesses include gastrointestinal obstruction, choking, cuts and wounds in the mouth and more.

You may be asking yourself, what is a “bone treat?” Bone treats differ from regular uncooked butcher-type bones because they’re processed and packaged for sale as “dog treats”. The processed products may be dried through a smoking process or by baking. They may also contain other ingredients such as preservatives, seasonings and smoke flavorings.

While no specific brands were mentioned in the FDA bulletin, items listed in the report include products described as “ham bones,” “pork femur bones,” “rib bones,” and “smokey knuckle bones.”

What Can You Do?

As a pet owner, the most important thing you can do is to buy quality chew bones for your dog. At Three Dog Bakery, co-owner Leslie Kessinger is passionate about informing her customers on this topic.

“We sell half-baked and frozen raw chew bones in our store that are from top quality producers in the United States, making them a safe and excellent recreational chew for keeping dogs busy…..chews are something we like to be overly cautious and informative about.”

Kessinger gave us 5 things you should look for in a safe chew bone:

1) Top quality sourcing
We recommend selecting vendors that not only prepare treats in the US but also source their ingredients from the United States. Imported products can have questionable processes for food safety and you can’t guarantee they haven’t been tampered with. Recently, reports of salmonella outbreak on chews like imported pig’s ears and the dangers associated with chemical preservatives on imported rawhide demonstrate the lack of safety standards in imported pet products.

2) Excellent production standards
Bones that have been hollowed out or completely baked become brittle and will fracture into dangerous shards when chewed on. To maintain the flexibility of the bone, the marrow should remain inside the bone to keep it nicely hydrated. A frozen, raw bone or a half-baked marrow bone works perfectly as an alternative. Additionally, any artificial ingredients or added chemicals should be avoided. The artificial treatment of a bone can interfere with the flexibility of the bone and often added artificial flavoring can have chemical additives that are not safe.

3) Size
We always say that a chew can never be too big, but it can absolutely be too small. A dog should not be able to put an entire bone in its mouth, particularly a dog with powerful jaws. When they do that, their back molars can crack the bone and pieces can become a choking hazard. Always keep in mind the chewing habits and size of your dog when considering a chew.

4) Your dog’s sensitivities
Dogs with sensitive stomachs don’t always do well with bones, particularly those with a lot of bone marrow. Marrow is very rich and contains a lot of fat which can trigger upset stomach or diarrhea in dogs who are prone to digestive upset. There are also dogs with various protein allergies, and buffalo or beef bones can trigger allergic reactions for dogs who are sensitive to red meat. Elk antlers are a great alternative for these dogs.

5) A final warning: most bones are meant for recreational chewing, NOT to be fully consumed
Dogs can digest a small amount of edible bone and cartilage, but consuming an entire marrow bone is dangerous and can end up blocking the intestinal tract. Read the labels on your bones to make sure your dog doesn’t consume more than is recommended.

At Three Dog Bakery, you can find:

– Primal frozen raw beef and buffalo recreational marrow bones
– Buff Bites half-baked marrow bones, shin bones, and half knuckles
– Benebone – a bone alternative made from durable nylon and natural flavoring
– Elk antlers and splits

“Selecting the best chew for your dog can be challenging, and the staff at Three Dog Bakery would love to help. Talk to us about your dog’s chewing habits, sensitivities and lifestyle, and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction!” says Kessinger.

Three Dog Bakery is the original bakery for dogs, fresh baking all-natural treats for 26 years. Bring your dogs in to visit! Three Dog Bakery has two locations in Middle Tennessee – Franklin (1556 W McEwen Unit 112) and Mt Juliet (1982 Providence Pkwy #102). Visit them at and Like them on Facebook.

Clark Shelton
Clark Shelton
Cark Shelton lived in Franklin, Tn for over 20 years and has been with the company since its first year. Clark’s background in sales, web development and writing gives him the ability to wear many hats. Clark currently splits his time between Franklin and Cancun, Mexico.