Smoked Ham Bones: Not Quite a Recall, But...

 |  Mar 15th 2010  |   11 Contributions


real-ham-boneIve been waiting for the FDA to chime in for a few days on this one. But as my fellow blogging buddy, David Greene, over at Pet Connection, reminded me this morning, the FDA can be very slow in the recall department.

So heres the deal: A big ol tasty bone, marketed as Real Ham Bone Treat for Dogs, may be responsible for injuring and even killing dogs, according to an article in the St. Louis Globe-Dispatch. It seems bone fragments can split off from the brittle treat and cause internal blockage and trauma.

The Better Business Bureau of St. Louis has been fielding complaints about the local product from across the US. There simply are too many of these cases to ignore, Michelle L. Corey, BBB president and CEO, told the newspaper. Consumers have a right to expect that items sold commercially for their pets will not end up causing them harm."

As a veterinarian who removed bone fragments from one of the dogs told the BBB: "Things like this shouldnt happen. If you cant say its safe, it probably isnt something you should have in stores.

Among the victims, according to the BBB:

A Texas bull terrier, whose owner says the dog died a violent and horrific death as a result of eating one of these treats

A Florida dog, who ended up with an intestinal blockage caused by small pieces of bone. The dog died, despite surgery.

Two Missouri dogs who vomited up splintered bone and were ill for days

Any bone can chip and cause problems, but vets say the more cooked a bone is, the greater the likelihood of damage. Real Ham Bone Treat for Dogs is a smoked product, which explains why dogs tend to be very invested in gnawing on them. But smoked apparently means more splinter-prone.

Dynamic Pet Products, which distributes the bones, does include a warning on the label:

Supervise your pet while consuming any natural bone productNot recommended for dogs with digestive problems or aggressive chewers. Remove bone immediately if splintering occurs or small fragments break offPet owner assumes liability associated with the use of this or any natural bone product.

The BBB says the consumers they have interviewed about injuries to their dogs did not read the label. But in reality, who would think of reading a label when giving a dog a bone?

Dynamic Pet Products denies wrongdoing, and says the company receives far more compliments than complaints, according to the Globe-Dispatch.

Again, this isnt a recall. At least not yet. But we wanted to get the word out now, because really whens the last time you read a label on your dogs treats? (And really who sits around watching their dog eat a bone even if they do read the label?)

(Dynamic Pet Products is certainly not the only distributor of this sort of smoked bone treat for dogs. I've given Jake several over the years, from places like Trader Joe's and local indy pet stores. He has survived just fine, but I'm going to scratch this goody off our list from now on, regardless of label.)

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