Your Health

Dear Old Man: Don't Give That Dog A Bone

"This Old Man," the charming nursery rhyme that taught generations of us how to count, includes a bit of outdated advice. Despite what it says about giving the dog a bone, you shouldn't do it.

Cartoon of a man giving a dog a bone. i i

The FDA says bones can make dogs sick. iStockphoto.com hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto.com
Cartoon of a man giving a dog a bone.

The FDA says bones can make dogs sick.

iStockphoto.com

"Bones are unsafe no matter what their size. Giving your dog a bone may make your pet a candidate for a trip to your veterinarian's office later, possible emergency surgery, or even death," says Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian with the Food and Drug Administration.

That's the latest consumer guidance from the Food and Drug Administration. The agency warns that dogs can suffer a host of unpleasant problems if they ingest the shards or get bone bits stuck in their teeth or jaws.

It's a good thing dogs can't read.

FDA lists some rather gruesome worst-case scenarios of bone-chewing gone bad. Among those in it's Top Ten? Getting a bone stuck in your dog's esophagus, having a bone wrapped around his lower jaw, broken teeth, and intestinal blockage.

And health risks aside, a trip to the vet is pretty costly, even if you are one of the few with pet insurance.

Instead, the agency says, you should buy bone substitutes for your canine friends to gnaw on, and make sure you wrap up and throw out the remnants of your ham supper out of reach of your four-legged pal.

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