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Dangerous Real Ham Bone Dog Treats Warning Label Promise Never Kept; Dogs Continue to Die

I have a bone to pick with Dynamic Pet Product’s Real Ham Bones: where’s the new and improved warning label you promised to put on your dangerous dog bones?

Hmmmm?

I’m waiting…

*tick* *tick* *tick*

COMPANY PROMISES NEW WARNING LABEL BUT NEVER DELIVERS

 

Three years after promising the FDA the company would update its labels to include a warning about the dangers of Dynamic’s Real Ham Bones, not a single change has been made. In a 2012 inspection report, a FDA investigator reported that David S. Frick, company president, said that

“due to complaints, he has looked into updating a label with more warnings and bolder statements.”

Earlier this year, following an avalanche of complaints, the BBB issued a warning about the products and Dynamic responded by telling the BBB they planned to update their packaging to include a warning:

“…the company said it was adding the word “WARNING” in a yellow box on the product label. The new label is expected to be in stores this summer.”

Sure.

CONSUMERS DESERVE TO KNOW

How can consumers know that the product they are about to feed to their dog might kill them? Usually a great big WARNING in red bold face type does the trick. Had consumers seen such a warning it’s doubtful many would have even bought the bones. But, therein lies the reason there is no bold warning on the dangerous dog bones: consumers wouldn’t buy them.

Instead, consumers find out the hard way – after their dog gets sick and/or dies following chewing the bone.

BONES & LEGOS

David Frick has been quoted saying that pet parents just need to realize that his dangerous, deadly dog bones are the same as skateboards, Legos, and other toys. What he has said is that consumers need to understand that there are inherent risks in all toys. For example, if consumers allow their children to misuse Legos and their child dies – well – tough. They should have known better.

Frick’s comparison to children’s toys is an absurd and completely irrelevant. The laws that protect children, are nothing compared to the complete lack of legal protection pets have.

Unlike toys and treats for pets, strict laws govern every single aspect of manufacturing and marketing of toys for children. Everything is regulated: from choking size limitations, toy labeling requirements, third-party testing, and warning labels.

For example, look at this typical cautionary statement required for a child’s toy or game (including Legos):

Unsafe-Toy-Warning

Pretty hard to miss a warning like that on a child’s toy, isn’t it?

TOYS FOR KIDS v. TOYS FOR FUR KIDS

Cautionary statements are required by law on children’s toys and they must be displayed in its entirety on the principal display panel of the product’s package, and on any descriptive material which accompanies the product and be displayed in conspicuous and legible type in contrast by typography, layout, or color.

If a manufacturer fails to adequately warn of potential dangers of its products’ use, it may be liable for any resulting injuries. A manufacturer, distributor or retailer can be held liable for a failure to provide adequate warnings on a product, if a consumer suffers an injury as a result.

But, not so with pet products.

THE LEGAL VALUE OF PETS

You won’t have any luck in court, as pets have the legal status of a piece of property.

The court only cares about how much you paid for your dog, not how much you loved it. If you got it at the pound or it was a stray you rescued – well, tough.

PROMISES, PROMISES

So, Frick, how about putting that warning label on your bones you promised consumers?

On Dynamic’s website they claim to provide this label warning consumers about the safe use of their product:

Real Ham Bone

Trouble is – the only place you’ll see this label is on Dynamic’s website – not on the products for sale.

Apparently, the label (above) was the result of a negotiation between Walmart and Dynamic Pet Products who worked with the company to make the Real Ham Bone’s guidelines more prominent on its packaging. The language hasn’t changed, but per Walmart’s request, the guidelines are now boxed in yellow and include the word “WARNING.”

However, a quick visit to Walmart’s website shows the product is still selling without the new and improved warning label.

THE DISCREET DISCLAIMER

Did you catch the little itty-bitty disclaimer tucked at the bottom of a paragraph on the label?

Pet owner assumes liability associated with the use of this or any other bone product.

Now, I’m not an attorney, but that sounds to me like the owner of the dog treat company, David Frick, doesn’t want to be held liable if – God forbid – a wee splinter breaks off and lodges in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract – and perforates it – causing your dog to die a horrible death by bleeding to death internally.

Do you think Frick really gives a frack what happens to dogs when they eat his bones? Probably not. Otherwise, why would Frick continue to sell his dangerous dog bones with this nondescript label with this innocuous warning:

real ham bone in shrink wrap

You tell me – do you see a warning anywhere on this label?

THE UPSHOT?

I didn’t mean to pick on Frick, because truthfully, all bones carry an element of risk associated with them. And certainly more so with cooked bones. In particular, chicken and pork bones tend to splinter more than beef ones do. Despite guidelines which suggests that consumers should supervise their dogs while “enjoying” bones, it takes just seconds to send a pork bone splintering into shards.

Though bones for dogs are FDA-regulated, it does fall under a general notice the agency first issued in 2010, which warns that bones  – like the Real Ham Bone  – are unsafe and that giving them to a dog can cause gastrointestinal obstruction, vomiting, diarrhea and death, among other complications.

The bottom line?

Cooked, steamed or smoked bones  – of any type or brand  – are dangerous for pets.

So, don’t take chances with your dog’s life, because what may appear to be an innocent treat could end up killing him.

What to do if your dog has a problem with bones

donate poisoned pets

Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and advisor to AAFCO. Help support her work by making a donation today.

Comments (14) Write a comment

  1. If I understand the product correctly, these bones are cooked, or smoked which I would consider the same. In my studies the first rule of bones is never ever give a dog, cat or any animal cooked bones. They splinter, are not digestible and offer no nutrition. Raw meaty bones, fresh are the only kind and in that you still need to learn something about it before giving just any bones. From my perspective no one should ever buy such products or support the companies that make the. There are so many products in the market that should never be. Same goes for human foods, but then as they say, build it and some one will buy it. Of course the real warning is that it is made in China. CCFC.

    Reply

  2. Hi Mollie,
    I was part owner of Fred the basset from the face book page Fight for Fred. I have seen the “new” yellow label at the store. I think they are trying to get rid of the old stock first. Law suit is still pending. I wanted to thank you for all of the stories dedicated to this issue. Since March we have seen 12 different news stories broadcasted across the country. More people than ever know the dangers of this product The Fight for Fred moves on. #FightforFred

    Reply

  3. Why wont the FDA do something about ALL pet food and treats? We as pet parents have to stand together and fight for our fur kids.

    Reply

    • Why indeed. First of all, the FDA can only do so much with their resources and second, they take action when there are violations – such as contaminates, etc. The bones are not illegal, just risky.

      As far as pet parents standing together – we do to an extent. That’s what people like me are for, I represent consumers at industry events.

      That is why it is so important to support us – we can’t do it without your help. I always need money to run this website, to travel and pay to go to AAFCO – it all adds up real fast. I do not make money any other way except for donations.

      Reply

      • Mollie, thank you SO much for the work you do! For watching over products like these dangerous dog bones and everything else. I had no clue the FDA didn’t have enough money! :-0 I’m stunned. You can count on us to support you guys in what I consider to be the most important job of our times. Perhaps it shows that I put precious animal family members first. :-) (I remember when you three were working to get to the last meeting, I had huge ongoing vet bills, which is not usually the case.) I fully support you and appreciate you so much!

        Reply

        • Not only that, but the FDA didn’t get the funding they need to implement FSMA, so lord only knows what will happen with it. All our hopes were pinned on it.

          They have to look at everything in terms of priorities – human food and human medicines come first, then animal feed, pet food and medication for animals comes in second, with problems causing illness and death taking priority over – say – labeling and such. It’s very sad – I know they want to do more, but are hampered by the reality of a small budget.

          Thanks for your support! It means a lot!

          Reply

    • I agree! But it’s not only our beloved pets. I saw on the news last night yet another comment that the FDA is not doing their job. That was regarding human lives at serious risk from faulty arterial stents. The company knew and still sold something like 35,000 over the three years after they knew. One woman had a piece break off and almost died because it stuck in her heart. And still people ask, why isn’t the FDA doing their job?! We all have to bring them to their knees, and stories like this help! The company (Bard) that did this is under investigation, and who wants to take bets on whether or not they’ll buy their way out of it? I also understand that one has to pay the FDA an exorbitant amount just to have them consider a product for approval, leaving small companies with good products doing business without FDA approval, which we all know means nothing. Yet our tax dollars pay them to do a job they are not doing for anyone! Money seems to buy their approval.

      Reply

  4. This one is easy, relatively speaking. Why not just buy ham bones from an ethical grocery store, like Whole Foods? It would be safe, cruelty free, and I believe as long as it’s raw, unlikely to splinter. If I remember, I’ve never seen a ham bone splinter, and I always bought them from grocery stores. And it’s certainly not MORE likely to splinter, especially being fresh. So this is a lucky one in the sense that we can buy human food/bones to replace whatever the pet company makes, and dogs are just as happy. Ignoring is the best – maybe puts them out of business, and there’s SO much to be angry about with these companies/FDA/AAFCO, these guys can be dismissed. They don’t deserve your energy. My 2 cents.

    Reply

    • I couldn’t agree more. Raw bones are much safer and healthier, but they too have an element of risk. Not of splintering into sharp shards per se, but of dental damage, etc. The safest bones would be ones that are bigger than your dogs head – if you get my drift. Smaller bones, like chicken necks are soft enough to consume raw and even chicken wings. But there is a difference between bones meant for consumption v. bones meant for chewing on for recreation. If your dog is an aggressive chewer, bones could be something they can damage their teeth on, for example.

      The reason I focused on cooked bones is that so many people assume because it’s for sale means it must be safe. Nothing could be further than the reality. Many consumers do not even read the caution until it’s too late and some bones splinter within seconds – so it is my job to warn consumers of these dangers even if the manufacturers won’t.

      Reply

      • Ahhh! I never thought of that, aggressive chewers and bones bigger than their heads. The dogs I’ve had have been non-aggressive chewers. I got them ham bones and also racks of ribs that I cut into individual ribs and fed raw. I still kept an eye out – once in a while I’d see a splinter and take it away. Thank you so much for all that you do! I know we can’t trust most manufacturers, and I love having you to trust!! :-)

        Reply

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