Dog treat bones

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COLUMBIA - Dog owners should reconsider filling their pet's stockings with bone treats, or some animal bones, to avoid rushing to the vet.

Recently that happened to Leah Cohn, professor of small animal internal medicine at MU.

"My own dog, who accidently got bones out of the garbage last week, required a midnight trip back into the hospital," she said.

A week later, Cohn's dog Author is doing well.

"My dog is fine now," she said. 

Even though Cohn's case was an accident, and had a happy ending, the FDA is warning dog owners not to give bone treats or poultry bones.

Between 2010 and 2017, the FDA has received 68 reports of pet illnesses because of bone treats, some fatal. 

They included:

  • Gastrointestinal obstruction
  • Choking
  • Cuts and wounds in the mouth or on the tonsils
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bleeding from the rectum

FDA said 15 dogs died after eating a bone treat.

"If you are seeing signs that worry you, you need to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible," Cohn said.

The FDA said commercially-available bone treats differ from regular animal bones because they contain artificial ingredients such as preservatives, seasoning and flavorings.

Columbia resident Trevor Liptak has got his dog, Boxxy, as a puppy four-years ago, and was surprise by the number of dog deaths.

"With all that information, I don't plan on giving Boxxy any bones," he said. "I will just keep with the usual peanut butter and some bacon strips. 'Cause I definitely don't wanna lose her to bones of any sort."

Bone treats should not be confused with natural animal uncooked bones that can be bought at a butcher shop.

Despite the FDA's focus on bone treats, feeding dogs animal bones can also cause problems. 

"Poultry bones are probably the most dangerous bones. They fragment and can make very sharp chards," Cohn said. "You probably seen that if you ever broke a wishbone." 

Cohn said pork bones are not ideal either.

She said if someone choses to feed their pet animal bones, it should be cow bones. They should be bigger than the dogs head and be raw with no meat. 

"A femur bone would be the best options if you are going to feed bones," Cohn said.

She said dogs should not be left alone with a bone.

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