Fragmented Thoughts

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In May 2015, a class-action lawsuit was filed in California that was prompted by the death of a basset hound after it swallowed a splinter from Dynamic Pet Productions’ Real Ham Bone, which is a hickory-smoke pork femur. The toy, which was sold at Walmart stores, among others, was the subject of at least 46 complaints in the past 2 years. The lawsuit claims that the company was alerted to the dangers of its product in 2006.

Veterinary toxicologist Dr. Justine Lee of American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says that once or twice per week she treats a cat or a dog that has a life-threatening obstruction that’s caused by a pet toy.

“There may be pieces obstructed in their intestines, or the stuffing inside a toy could be blocking their intestines,” Lee says.

Veterinary toxicologists tell us that chewed-off fragments typically are to blame for most breathing obstructions in pets. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate pet products, but it warns against giving dogs a bone treat, because they can cause choking, gastrointestinal obstruction, diarrhea and death. Twelve experts tell us that consumers should monitor their pet if it has any type of chew toy. Another concern with food-based pet toys and treats is that a risk of about 17 percent exists that the products will be contaminated with E. coli, Listeria or salmonella, says Brian Ogle, who is a Beacon College instructor of anthrozoology.

Wal-Mart Stores removed the Real Ham Bone from its shelves in March 2016 after at least 60 consumers complained that their pets had severe injuries or died from choking on the bone.