Those who purchase bones for pets during the holiday season may want to consider other options this year.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, between Nov. 1, 2010 and Sept. 12, 2017, the FDA received 68 reports of pet illnesses related to "bone treats," processed and packaged bones.

The FDA also said there have been 15 reports of dogs dying after eating certain treats.

"A variety of commercially-available bone treats for dogs—including treats described as “ham bones,” “pork femur bones,” “rib bones,” and “smokey knucklebones” were listed in the reports," the FDA said. "The products may be dried through a smoking process or by baking, and may contain other ingredients such as preservatives, seasonings, and smoke flavorings."

Mason County Humane Society President Rebecca Cartmell said she always cautions against certain types of pet treats, especially those that are made outside the United States.

"I always say to look for the "Made in the USA" label," she said. "There are stricter laws regarding treats in the U.S., though there isn't always a guarantee, but I caution anyone buying dog treats made outside the U.S."

Cartmell said she also does not like the idea of giving bones to dogs, as they can cause a variety of issues.

"Bones can splinter, they can get stuck in a dog's esophagus and the bones can cause problems with a dog's teeth," she said.

According to the FDA, some of the illnesses reported included gastrointestinal obstruction, choking, cuts and wounds in the mouth and tonsils, vomiting, diarrhea, and bleeding from the rectum.

The FDA also said to keep dogs away from bones when cooking chicken or other meals, as those bones can also cause injury.

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Cartmell also had some advice for families who put up Christmas trees around the holidays, as some pets tend to climb trees or attempt to eat tinsel.

"You could try to put the tree in a room where the pet doesn't normally go in," she said. "I know some cats like to climb trees and it can be a hazard for the animals."

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a list of dangers and tips listed on its website.

Some of those tips include anchoring the Christmas tree to keep it from being knocked over; avoid using holly, tinsel, and mistletoe as pets could become sick from it; never leave lit candles unattended around animals; keep wires, batteries, and glass or plastic ornaments out of the animal's reach.

"Looking to stuff your pet's stockings? Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible," the ASPCA website said.


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