Are Dog Bone Treats Dangerous? Here’s What You Should Know
By Danny Prater
Are dog bone treats dangerous? A statement issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has rippled across the internet, sparking discussions about the potential dangers of giving dogs processed bones to chew on and ingest as treats. According to reports, dozens of dogs are known to have fallen ill or been injured by bone treats, and at least 15 have died, but the actual number of unreported cases is likely much higher.
However, this warning is nothing new. In fact, the FDA only re-released an already-existing statement detailing the dangers of giving bone treats to dogs as a cautionary measure in advance of the holidays, as people are more likely to give the special dogs in their lives bone treats as gifts. According to the FDA, bone treats pose the following threats to dogs: oral wounds, choking, vomiting, intestinal blockage, diarrhea and even death. A dog experiencing symptoms may require an emergency visit to the vet and possibly even surgery.
What Can You Do to Keep Your Animal Companion Safe?
Don't give dogs unsafe treats like cooked bones, pig ears, cow hooves or jerky treats.
Dogs may think these items are special, but they can cause a lot of harm. Processed animal bones are often brittle with jagged edges and can result in a very sick dog. Dogs who ingest these types of products can develop conditions like gastroenteritis and pancreatitis, both of which can result in vomiting and may even require hospitalization for IV fluid support. Since 2007, at least 4,800 dogs and cats have fallen ill, and more than 1,000 dogs have died of kidney failure, gastrointestinal bleeding and Fanconi syndrome, a rare kidney disorder, after eating jerky-style treats. These are only the cases that were documented, and countless other dogs may have also been adversely affected.
Choose treats that are size-appropriate.
Offering a treat that is too small may cause dogs to swallow an object whole, while feeding them one that is too large could cause a fragment to get stuck in their throat. Treats should break into small pieces as the dog chews.
Try these bone-free treats and foods instead!
There is a wide variety of safe, fun dog treats to add to your holiday shopping list for the dogs and dog lovers in your life. Bone-free treats are available from vegan retailers like V-dog. And check out this Holiday Dog Treat Wreath, which is decorated with vegan treats from Threepaws Gourmet. All the brands and products listed in our Vegan Dog Food Guide are also worth checking out.
Keep an eye on your dog.
Recreational chewing can be a healthy way to keep your dogs' teeth clean, but remember that it's always important to keep a close eye on them. They can't always communicate their pain or discomfort clearly to their human guardians, so it's important to recognize what "normal" looks like—and to realize when they may be in trouble.
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By Kristen Fischer
It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
Should Kids Go Back?<p>While these guidelines may help get some schools to reopen, many people don't think children should go back to school over fears they could contract the disease and spread it to other vulnerable family members like grandparents, infant siblings, or their parents.</p><p>In a <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a> commentary, <a href="https://www.md.com/doctor/william-raszka-md" target="_blank">Dr. William V. Raszka, Jr.</a>, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Vermont Medical Center, argued that schools should open because school-aged children are far less important drivers of COVID-19 than adults.</p><p>But he says the risk and benefit is not equal among all students ages 5 to 18.</p><p>"Elementary schools are arguably higher priority for face-to-face schooling, since younger children are at lower risk for infection and transmission, and since parental supervision of younger children's distance learning may be particularly challenging," added Sorensen, who penned a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767411" target="_blank">June article in JAMA</a> with reopening tips. "That means middle and high schools are more likely to emphasize distance learning."</p><p>Specific student populations, such as special education students and students with disabilities, would also benefit greatly from more time spent in face-to-face environments, Sorensen said.</p>
What Parents Can Do<p>Parents should ask for and receive frequent updates from schools about plans for the fall. They should also be informed about plans if and when COVID infections are identified, Sharfstein said.</p><p>"I'd like to see parents investing now, during the summer, in doing things that can slow and stop the spread of the virus in their communities," Widome said.</p><p>"Now is a good time for kids to practice wearing masks and get used to them as they may be wearing them for longer stretches if school starts up in person," Widome suggested.</p><p>She recommends parents try different mask designs and materials to see what children are more comfortable wearing.</p><p>"If you are using cloth face coverings, it's good to have extras on hand," Widome added.</p><p>Parents should model healthy behavior at home and while out in public — another thing that could affect how well children adapt to reopening practices, Sorensen said.</p><p>"Children may want to know more about face coverings," added <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/leescott/" target="_blank">Lee Scott</a>, chairwoman of the Educational Advisory Board at <a href="https://www.goddardschool.com/" target="_blank">The Goddard School</a>. "Dramatic play, such as creating or wearing a face covering, may help some children adjust to this concept." Schools can also show children photos of what faculty members look like in their masks so the students are familiar with that appearance.</p><p>Johns Hopkins University recently released its eSchool+ Initiative, a slew of resources surrounding education during the pandemic. These include a <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-checklist/" target="_blank">checklist for administrators</a>, report on <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/ethics-of-reopening/" target="_blank">ethical considerations</a>, and a tracker of <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-policy-tracker/" target="_blank">state and local reopening plans</a>.</p>
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