WASHINGTON, April 21 (UPI) -- Many people believe it's OK for dogs to chew on bones but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the practice can cause serious injury.
"Some people think it's safe to give dogs large bones, like those from a ham or a roast," said Dr. Carmela Stamper in the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine. "Bones are unsafe no matter what their size."
Here are 10 reasons why Stamper says it's a bad idea to give a dog a bone. Most of the reasons most require either a visit or an emergency trip to a veterinarian:
-- Broken teeth.
-- Mouth or tongue injuries.
-- Bone becomes looped around the dog's lower jaw. This can be frightening or painful for the dog.
-- Bone becomes stuck in the dog's esophagus.
-- Bone blocks dog's breathing.
-- Bone gets stuck in the dog's stomach and might be too big to pass into the intestines.
-- Bone becomes stuck in the intestines and causes a blockage. Such an event can require surgery.
-- Constipation due to bone fragments. The fragments can be very sharp and can scrape the intestine or rectum, causing the dog much pain.
-- Severe bleeding from the rectum. This is very messy and can be dangerous.
-- Peritonitis, a difficult-to-treat bacterial infection of the abdomen caused when bone fragments poke holes in a dog's stomach or intestines. Peritonitis can kill the animal.
"Talk with your veterinarian about alternatives to giving bones to your dog," Stamper said. "There are many bone-like products made with materials that are safe for dogs to chew on.
"Always supervise your dog with any chew product, especially one your dog hasn't had before," he added. "And always, if your dog 'just isn't acting right,' call your veterinarian right away!"