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Study Reports on Adverse Effects from Greenies up to 2006

A couple of years ago, Greenie chew treats inspired a great deal of controversy. Reports emerged that Greenies were lodging in the throats of dogs,...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Apr 14th 2008


A couple of years ago, Greenie chew treats inspired a great deal of controversy. Reports emerged that Greenies were lodging in the throats of dogs, sometimes with fatal consequences.

A recent report in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) studied 31 cases in which Greenies became lodged in dogs’ esophagi. Some of the findings of the study are outlined below.

  • Incidences of throat obstruction were rare. The manufacturer of Greenies reported sales of over 300 million units in 2005 alone. The researchers were able to identify 31 instances of esophageal obstruction between 2000 and 2006.
  • Small dogs were at dramatically increased risk of having Greenies lodge in their throats. They comprised approximately 84% of the cases.
  • The overall fatality rate among affected dogs was approximately 26%.
  • The authors also noted that removal of the chew treats, when possible, was often difficult and complicated.

    So, what’s the good news? First, the problems occurred at a very low rate. And, in August of 2006 the manufacturers of Greenies changed the formula of the product. The new formula is more readily soluble (digestible), and therefore less likely to cause harm.

    The article cited in this entry is J Am Vet Med Assoc 2008;232:1021-1025.