FDA “bone treat” warning: Cornell veterinarian explains how you can protect your dog

In response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announcement yesterday warning dog owners to avoid “bone treats,” Dr. Brian Collins, head of the Community Service Practice at Cornell University’s Hospital for Animals, explains the risks and offers some healthy alternatives.

Collins says:

“Chewing is a natural activity that dogs love to engage in. The challenge is to find items that do not pose a risk to their health. Many objects can cause teeth to break or become worn down. Additionally, many items can also become choking hazards, or cause serious damage to the gastrointestinal tract. 

“I discourage pet owners from giving bones, antlers or hooves of any kind or any other hard or abrasive objects. General guidelines for suitable toys for chewing include that the object should be bendable and be able to be indented with a fingernail. 

“Ideally dogs should be supervised with toys as it can be difficult to predict how any individual dog will handle a given object.”