The Food and Drug Administration, which protects the public against faulty and contaminated drugs, fake medical products and a host of other medically oriented products, has a new target in its sights -- bones for dogs.
"Some people think it's safe to give dogs large bones like those from a ham or a roast," said Dr. Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian in the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine. "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."
Potential problems with bones, the FDA says, include:
-- Broken teeth, which may require veterinary dentistry.
-- Mouth or tongue injuries, which can be very bloody and messy.
-- The bone gets looped around the dog's lower jaw, which can be painful and frightening to the animal.
-- Bone can get stuck in the esophagus, necessitating surgery.
-- Bone can get stuck in the windpipe, necessitating surgery
-- Bone may be too big to pass out of the stomach, necessitating surgery
-- Bone may get stuck in the intestines, necessitating surgery.
-- Bone fragments may cause constipation.
-- Bone fragments can cause bleeding from the rectum, which is very messy.
-- Bone fragments can poke a hole in the stomach or intestines, causing peritonitis.
The bottom line, Stamper said, is stick with chew toys and artificial bones. "And if your dog 'just isn't acting right," call your veterinarian right away."
-- Thomas H. Maugh II