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You’ve probably heard us say that we don’t recommend giving bones to dogs, but did you know the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) feels the same way? This is what the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the FDA has to say about it:

     Ten reasons why it’s a bad idea to give your dog a bone — 

  1. Broken teeth.  This may call for expensive veterinary dentistry.
  2. Mouth or tongue injuries.  These can be very bloody or messy and may require a trip to see your veterinarian.
  3. Bone gets looped around your dog’s lower jaw This can be frightening or painful for your dog and potentially costly to you, as it usually means a trip to see your veterinarian.
  4. Bone gets stuck in the esophagus, the tube that food travels through to reach the stomach.  Your dog may gag, trying to bring the bone back up and will need to go to the emergency hospital.
  5. Bone gets stuck in a windpipe.  This may happen if your dog accidentally inhales a small enough piece of bone.  This is an emergency because your dog will have trouble breathing.  Get your pet to the emergency vet immediately!
  6. Bone gets stuck in the stomach It went down just fine, but the bone may be too big to pass out of the stomach and into the intestines.  Depending on the bone’s size, your dog may need surgery or upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, a procedure in which the veterinarian uses a long tube with a built-in camera and grabbing tools to try to remove the stuck bone from the stomach.
  7. Bone gets stuck in intestines and causes a blockage.  It may be time for surgery.
  8. Constipation due to bone fragments Your dog may have a hard time passing the bone fragments because they’re very sharp and they scrape the inside of the large intestine or rectum as they move along.  This causes severe pain and may require a visit to your veterinarian.
  9. Severe bleeding from the rectum.  This is very messy and can be dangerous.  It’s time for a trip to the doctor.
  10. Peritonitis This nasty, difficult-to-treat bacterial infection of the abdomen is caused when bone fragments poke holes in your dog’s stomach or intestines.  Your dog needs an emergency visit to the vet because peritonitis can kill your dog.

Est. 1973

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This article originally appeared on August 8, 2011.

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