NATIONWIDE — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning against store-bought dog bone treats altogether.

In a consumer update, titled “Reasons Not to Give Your Dog Bones,” approximately 15 dogs reportedly died after eating a bone treat.

In addition, the FDA has received nearly 70 reports of pet illnesses related to "bone treats."

The illnesses reported by owners and veterinarians include:

  • Gastrointestinal obstruction (blockage in the digestive tract)
  • Choking
  • Cuts and wounds in the mouth or on the tonsils
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Death

"Bone treats" differ from actual butcher-type bones. They are processed and packaged for sale as dog treats, according to the warning. Theses treats may be dried through baking or smoking and may contain preservatives, seasoning and smoke flavor. Treats listed in illness reports included "Ham Bones,” “Pork Femur Bones,” “Rib Bones” and “Smokey Knuckle Bones."

“Giving your dog a bone treat might lead to an unexpected trip to your veterinarian, a possible emergency surgery, or even death for your pet," Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian in the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the FDA said in a statement.

The FDA also received reports that included a description of moldy and splintering "bone treats."

Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe

  • Chicken bones and other bones from the kitchen table can cause injury when chewed by pets, too. So be careful to keep platters out of reach when you’re cooking or the family is eating.
  • Be careful what you put in the trash can. Dogs are notorious for helping themselves to the turkey carcass or steak bones disposed of there.
  • Talk with your veterinarian about other toys or treats that are most appropriate for your dog. There are many available products made with different materials for dogs to chew on.

“We recommend supervising your dog with any chew toy or treat, especially one she hasn’t had before,” Stamper said. “And if he/she ‘just isn’t acting right,’ call your veterinarian right away!”