Throw your dog a bone or throw the bone away - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Throw your dog a bone or throw the bone away

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – It is marketed as a dog bone, hanging right alongside dog treats in grocery store aisles. If you're not careful, it could cost you more than your grocery store bill.

Chewing on bones can have many benefits for dogs, but the action also comes with risks.

“Chewing is natural to them, it helps keep teeth clean, helps to keep gums healthy, it also can be a soothing activity,” explained Laurel Berger-Bishop, the Medical Director with VCA Animal Hospital in Myrtle Beach.

Berger-Bishop explained each type of bone poses a risk to your pet. Synthetic bones can be broken down quickly and end up in your dog's stomach. Certain bones can splinter off and get stuck in the GI tract causing issues.

She said every vet may have a different recommendation, but she gives rawhide to her pets.

“It's a little bit softer so it interacts with the gum tissue, does clean the teeth and if the dog chews it into pieces, it will get soft enough that most of the time it will pass all the way through,” explained Berger-Bishop.

Other bones do not pass as easily.

“If you end up with a really serious obstruction that's fitting tightly in the G.I. tract, it could stop blood supply to that tissue,” said the Medical Director.

Recently, WMBF News Reporter Stephanie Robusto bought a ham bone produced by Dynamic Pet Products on a whim for her dog, Roxy. The very next day, the shepherd-mix was severely ill. Through researching the company, she found dozens of complaints against the company, including an alert from the Better Business Bureau.

“There have been complaints from ten different states on this very one product,” said Kathy Graham, the President of BBB Coastal Carolina.

Graham said the FDA started to look into Dynamic Pet Products back in 2010, but that the agency told the BBB it does not advise pet owners to give bones to dogs, period.

“There could be a lot more cases out there we don't know about because people aren't connecting it to that bone,” said Graham.

X-rays show chunks of the bone lodged in Roxy's digestive tract. She is under strict orders to not eat anything for 24 hours and is armed with an arsenal of medicine. Treatment can include painkillers, antibiotics, and laxatives.

If dogs like Roxy are not able to push the bones out of their bodies naturally, they may have to undergo risky and painful surgery.

Signs to look out for include your dog throwing up undigested food, which indicates a blockage, along with bloody diarrhea.

WMBF News did contact the company but has not heard back yet. The BBB was told the company will add the word “WARNING” in a yellow box on the product label. It is expected to be in stores this summer.

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