little dog playing winter covered in snow

Real Ham Bones: A really, really bad dog treat

A Christmas nightmare only Ebenezer Scrooge could have imagined became a reality after a popular dog treat nearly killed a beloved dog on Christmas day.

A Missouri woman is the latest in a long string of pet parents to warn about a product she says nearly killed one of her Italian Greyhounds.

Gina McFarland says she gave her dogs a product called the Real Ham Bone for a Christmas treat.  But, instead of spending Christmas by the fire while her dogs enjoyed their bones, she ended up rushing one of them to an animal emergency clinic.

Splintered bones blamed

A veterinarian at the clinic says the product splintered inside the dog causing digestion problems that resulted in repeated vomiting and dehydration that nearly led to one of her dogs dying.

“Dogs have ingested this bone, chewed the bone and it’s gotten lodged in their stomach,” said Bill Smith, an investigator with the Better Business Bureau.  He said in some cases dogs have died. Consumer complaints have been lodged from across the country over the products potential harm.

Dangerous despite vigilant supervision

Despite the warning label on the product telling pet parents to supervise dogs while chewing on the bone, Ms. McFarland says she was supervising her dogs, but that they started vomiting before she could help.

“I want them taken off the shelves and I don’t want anybody else to go through what I’ve gone through,” said Ms. McFarland.

A dark history, dating back years

When hearing of this tragic Christmas tale, I did some investigating. I found numerous complaints about this product, some dating back years. As with Ms. McFarland’s dogs,  many dogs have suffered and some have died as a direct result of these bones.

Company under investigation

Last year, Dynamic Pet Products, the maker of the dog bones, was under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amid reports that scores of dogs have become seriously ill or died after eating the manufacturers treats.

Pet owners say the hickory smoked pork femur bones have splintered and caused their dogs to become violently ill or even die. Unfortunately, the FDA has yet to take action of any kind.

Splinters, broken bones

Typically, a dogs health problems surface within minutes of chewing on the treat. Pet parents notice the treat has broken apart, or the bone has been entirely ingested, they take it away and a short time later the dogs are gravely ill, trying, but unable to vomit or vomiting profusely without any stomach contents emerging from the continued effort.

Internal bleeding, blockages

The fragments of the bone can perforate the lining of the stomach or the intestines causing internal hemorrhaging or the bone fragments can lodge in the intestines and create a blockage in the colon.

If the dogs are ably to pass the bone fragments in their feces, it can cause terrible pan for the dogs trying to pass a stool.  The sharp pieces can damage the lining of the colon causing rectal bleeding, bloody diarrhea or stools.

Blame the consumer

When owners have approached the company for restitution, they are referred to Dynamic’s insurance company and are later denied financial compensation.

Cruelly, all claims are denied citing it was the owners responsibility to monitor their dogs while “enjoying their product”.

Refusal to accept responsibility

A pet parent whose dog Trace died as a result of the treat was told by Dynamic’s insurance company who denied her claim with the following statement:

“As you are aware, a pet owner is responsible for properly feeding and monitoring their pets. They are also responsible for maintaining an education related to the appropriate diet for their pets.”

Sad, but not contrite

Company president Dave Frick said in a statement released yesterday that, although “we are saddened to learn of the illness of any of our customers’ pets”, he reminded pet parents that the fault lay entirely at their feet because,

“…that is why every package contains a label that provides detailed instructions to owners on how they can help their pets best enjoy our products. We strongly encourage owners to supervise their pets with any treats or snacks. We will continue to provide quality, safe products to our customers.”

How to protect your dog from dangerous treats?

What should you do? Don’t buy them. Period. Pet parents should also be aware of another treat still on the market causing serious problems, chicken jerky treats of any kind.  Should any pet parents have the misfortune to have a run in with these treats or have a problem with any pet food or medication they can and should report any health problems their dogs experience to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their region.

SOURCES:

Dog Owner Claims ‘Real Ham Bone’ Nearly Killed Her Dogs
Dynamic Pet Products Consumer Complaints

Feds Probe Reports of Dog Deaths, Illnesses From Pork Bone Treats

Dynamic Pet Products Real Ham Bone

In Memory of Trace

dog cat poisoned pets safe food warnings news recalls alerts

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Mollie Morrissette

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

Comments (35) Write a comment

  1. I bought the ham bone dog treat for my dogs and they got very sick .. Vomiting in the house all over the carpets. Went back to walmart where the product was purched and the manager found that they were molded and rotten. The rest of the product was removed from the shelf and i was given contact info to manufacture. Called and sent email but no response back.. Have pictures of the product removed from shelf at walmart.

    Reply

  2. Pingback: FDA Issues Deadly Dog Treat Warning; Reports of Illness and Death in Dogs | Poisoned Pets | A look inside the pet food industry

  3. Pingback: how to stop dog chewing plaster | DOG TRAINING | PUPPY TRAINING | COMPLETE GUIDE

  4. Your Better Business Bureau is working to protect your pets. If you or someone you know has had a dog become ill or die after being given a Real Ham Bone distributed by Dynamic Pet Products, BBB would like to speak with you. Email us at complaints@stlouisbbb.org or call us at 314-584-6723.

    Reply

    • I gave my dog the real hambone yesterday and this morning she has thrown up and bleed badly when she had second bowel movement this morning,her first bowel movement was normal then she threw up and bled rectally on the second I’m so worried that she won’t get over this what should o do ? Is there anything I can do at this point ?

      Reply

  5. See: Reed v. Dynamic Pet Products et al: Case No. 3:15-cv-00987, CA S.D. Ct.
    Torts, personal injury, product liability; 332 Diversity-Product Liability: seeking certification as class action.

    Reply

  6. On the Ham bone wrappers they do say do not give to dogs that are aggressive chewers or with digestive problems and say that if you notice splintering or pieces broken off to throw it away. Any good dog owner should know that any cooked/smoked bone should not be given to a dog because of splintering especially without supervision to make sure the dog isn’t eating pieces off of the bone. So many people say “these killed my pet.” Don’t give your dog cooked bones of any kind! It’s as simple as that…

    Reply

  7. Oh My, I am trashing the 2.5 Dynamic Ham Bones we have left. Today the wife went to restock and the store had discontinued carrying this item. My entent was to locate another distributor via internet instead Thank God my Panda 5 year old 120lb Husky has survived eating this treat which unfortunately could have taken her out.
    So sorry for those of you that have suffered loss of your cherished pet(s). Your accounts have touched our hearts but you have saved our 4 legged family member.

    Reply

  8. You can join the campaign against the marketing of THE REAL HAM BONE on Facebook. Search for #FightForFred. Fred is the Bassett hound that died on March 2, 2015, after being given that bone. There are over 6,800 pet advocates who have joined and are working to have this horrible product removed from the store shelves. After receiving 1-star reviews for 2 days, Amazon discontinued selling it. If you have had a negative experience with this product, go to Yelp and Consumer Affairs and be heard.

    Reply

  9. My bassett hound Fred died from chewing and ingesting some of this horrible product. This happened on March 2, 2015. We are devastated. We are trying to get these Real Ham Bones made by Dynamic Pet Products in Missouri off the shelves. We need x-rays of any dogs who have gone through this heart break. Please see our Fight for Fred…ban products that are unsafe for dogs to consume. page on Facebook. You can contact me there. Hannah Mullins of 10 News San Diego interviewed us yesterday. Our poor Fred was too far gone and we didn’t have him x-rayed. If anyone has x-rays of their dog that has gotten deathly ill or died. PLEASE CONTACT ME ASAP.
    Thank you.
    Khristie

    Reply

    • All dog owners should know not to give their dog cooked bones of any kind ever due to splintering.

      Reply

  10. Hey guys,

    Im an Englishman living in Australia. Yesterday my girlfriend and I went to the local markets and stocked up on ingredients to try and replicate my fathers Lentil Soup. Obviously one of the ingredients was a ham joint.

    Their dog ‘Rocky’ (is a staffy cross with not too sure) but he’s a lovely little vibrant sole. I gave him the ham bone with extra meat. I know never to give chicken bones but never considered a ham bone would be an issue as it’s a big bone for an equally medium to large sized dog. He’s had all different bones in the past and not a worry.

    After eating Dinner, my girlfriends Mum went to feed the dog to find him in his kennel lying there lifeless. I knew he was gone just looking at him.

    I feel terrible. the family were great but their beloved pet has now passed and looking on the net, it’s a common rule never to give dogs cooked bones. What makes it worse, I went out to the garage several minutes earlier to fetch some drinks and he was in his kennel wagging his tail, i gave him a warming rub on his back legs and all seemed to be good.

    Why would he drop so instantly? could it be more than he choked? Heart attack maybe??

    Thanks for listening.

    James

    Reply

    • Wow. That’s scary. I’m not a vet but it’s possible that it was blocking his airway and that caused a lapse in consciousness then somehow the bone dislodged itself and he revived. Never ever assume a dog is dead. You can perform CPR on an animal and if the animal had something lodged in it’s airway you can perform the Heimlich maneuver on it. Just a thought.

      Reply

  11. Our healthy, 5-year-old Australian Cattle Dog is at the animal hospital as I am writing this — as a result of chewing on the “Real Ham Bone.” He has been given an enema and is now on a fluid IV, hoping to move the product successfully through his system. X-rays will be done today, and we’ll find out if surgery is necessary. It has been a terrible 24 hours. We are hoping for the best. He is the best dog. We love him so much.

    I had (obviously naively) thought that a product in the pet department of my local grocery store would, naturally, be safe for my dog to enjoy. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

    As a person who grew up with dogs, I knew that feeding cooked bones to dogs was a “no-no.” When I bought this product, I actually thought, “Oh, that looks like something he will love. It’s a super-meaty-looking dog treat.”

    Whether it should or shouldn’t have, it NEVER occurred to me that this treat was a “Real – COOKED – Ham Bone” — the very kind I had been taught NOT to give to dogs. I simply thought (being that I found it in the pet aisle) that it was a special treat. A “real” ham bone… yep. Just look at all that “meaty goodness.”

    Only AFTER our dog had chewed on the bone did we notice the tiny fine print on the package which (in different words) basically says that dogs shouldn’t chew on these bones. Considering that’s what dogs DO with bones (and that’s why we as owners buy them), I think it is terribly irresponsible of this company to continue to sell a product that is MOST LIKELY going to be used CONTRARY to their pathetically-small “disclaimer” on the label.

    Thank you, Mollie, for posting this information here. If Gina M. or others do get in touch with an attorney to pursue shutting down this business, my husband and I would certainly be interested in sharing our story.

    Reply

    • Oh my lord, you poor soul and your poor pup. I am so sorry. I don’t know how these BLEEPS stay in business and look at themselves in the mirror.

      You want to read about tragedy – head on over to the http://www.consumeraffairs.com link in the article – there are hundreds of reports of these BLEEPing treats that have killed or harmed their dogs. BLEEPers!

      How absurd it is for them to assume your dog won’t and shouldn’t chew on the bone – ummm…Hello?

      What the BLEEP do they think a dog is going to do with it? Is doggie supposed to suck on it like a popcicle (sp) – puleeze.

      File a complaint. Don’t forget.

      My prayers are with you and you poor baby…

      Reply

  12. Hi Mollie, yes, please contact anyone you can. I definately want to try to get a class action suit against this company for the sake of all dogs injured and that have lost their lives because of this company. I will email you more tonight. This is Dynamic Pet Products other site, they actually sell ham for humans and as seen on other comments from the company, they decided to start selling the left over bones as a “dog treat” rather than throwing them in the garbage where they should be! http://www.frickmeats.com/

    Reply

    • No problem. Like I said on FB, it will take some digging and I will ask Susan too. We REALLY should have a database of attorneys who have done this work before and would perhaps take on a pet food manufacturers again. I’ll do a post on it and put it on my resources page – which is in need of some serious makeover work! I have learned soooo much over the last year, I cannot believe it. I thought I knew it all – HA! It goes so deep – the food issues.

      Reply

  13. Thank you so much for telling my story. I have the USDA investigating them now. I got a call from their infamous insurance company today! I am a general liability insurance agent myself, so they are going to have a tough time explaining how they are going to deny this claim! I would love to get together a class action suit! I could careless about any money for myself, I want Dynamic Pets to be punished for all of the injuries and death they have caused. Believe me…that was my first and LAST time EVER giving my babies bones.

    Reply

    • It was my pleasure! I’m so glad I could help in my small way. When I read of your story it just broke my heart. Then when I did the research and found that these blankety-blanks have had problems with this product for years – I was P.O.’d. I think it is worth getting a class action lawsuit going. People like them need to be run out of town. Personally, I would like to hang them from the nearest tree, but luckily for them – I ain’t the judge! I will find out about getting you in touch with an attorney. You know, I have NEVER gotten one person saying they want the money. It’s always about justice. None of them want money, they just want them to stop killing and injuring more pets. I am so sorry for your poor babies, but thank God yours survived, because so many haven’t. Blessings, Mollie

      Reply

  14. I suppose that I am not too surprised that a company would knowingly sell a cooked bone to pet parent, aware of how dangerous it could be. This goes along with all the other recalls and dirty tricks. I witnessed a dog that was at a bar-b-q who got a bone stuck in his throat when people were mindlessly tossing chicken bones to the dogs milling around. Fortunately there was a doctor there who removed the bone, or he would have died.

    So when I had a dog, a large breed, I found a butcher who could occasionally supply me with a very large raw bone. It was almost impossible to find a real butcher; that was in the early 1990s. I was advised to only buy a bone of a size that you could drive a car over without damage. It was such a source of pleasure for him, gnawing and licking with his eyes glazed over, but now I realize the potential for serious harm. I suppose it depends on the size and breed of the dog, and other factors, and finding just the correct bone, having just heard tales of T-bones, pork chop bones, chicken bones and now ham bones! People!!

    Then there are the folks who claim that dogs are just a step away in evolution from wolves… Well, think again. That’s a whole different story.

    You DO have to monitor the whole affair, because if he goes outside with it, he may bury it for a later occasion. The trick is to get it away from him before he buries it, or to watch where he buries it, then dig it up and throw it away. I used to feel guilty about doing this, but it was to prevent him from chewing it down to splinters, which in my case wasn’t very plausible.

    My advice: don’t give your dog any bones, either raw or cooked.

    Reply

    • Thanks Mom for the great tips! I didn’t know that about burying bones!

      Did you know, my Mom just told me, that in the hierarchy of canine wolf/dog packs – it was the lowest ranking dogs that were left with the bones? So the alfa dogs only ate flesh. They were the most important in the group, so imagine what the fate would have been for the survival of the group should the alfa dog choke on a bone and die from internal bleeding from a bone splinter. Think about it. Survival of the fittest.

      I do not believe all dogs were meant to eat RAW meaty bones, unless, like Mom said, it’s so dang big a truck driving over it wouldn’t break it. But even then , I would never assume it would stay that way indefinitely – things do decay. So do not leave it out for your dog for days or let them knaw on it unsupervised.

      Good luck finding a butcher. There are places that will ship fresh raw bones to you, but it costs a bit with shipping big heavy bones. I don’t know how much, but I do know of some great sources for Grade A, First Class butchers for meat & bones, for you or your dog, on the East coast. So write me and I’ll tell you who they are.

      Actually, I wrote about them already – the article was titled something about butchers in NY. You’ll find it. If not, let me know.

      Reply

  15. Reblogged this on Another Boomer Blog and commented:
    Can one nominate a site for Freshly Pressed? I wonder. If so, I think this blog deserves to be front and center one of these days.

    I ramble about many things from Deaf Dogs to watching college students caught in a downpour doing a rain dance in Boston.

    This writer has a mission and a passion to help pet owners and their “kids” – dogs, cats, birds, etc.

    If you’ve got a pet and are concerned for their health, this is a blog to follow. I did.

    Reply

  16. I just happened across your site doing a wordpress site search. My roommate has a little dog and I think he is the best thing since sliced bread. Are these supposed to be real “ham” bones? If so, I can’t imagine giving a pork bone to a dog. At the same time, I can see how someone could think that a “ham bone” would be a name for a flavor and let their guard down. Egads.

    I don’t practice animal law or tort law, but it would seem to me that if there were enough folks whose dogs suffered severe injury that there might be a tort firm out there who would take the case as a class action. Because dogs are not valued as anything other than property (which seems strange to those of us who love them, but which makes sense in a legal system) the damaged owners would probably never recover in terms of dollars and cents, but they might be able to band together to put the company out of business. In the alternative, they might find the Jan Schlichtmann of animal law willing to take something like this on.

    Reply

    • My dog has just died a horrible painful death just days ago Fri Feb 17th as a result of a ham bone i bought at my local pet shop. It is packaged to make you want to eat it let alone your dog and when you open it and when the smells hit my dogs nose his tail went round like a helicopters. I watched him play with it then chew the little bits of meat off it and when he separated the knuckles i took them off him and threw them out leaving only the stem so to speak. He suffered so much, blood coming in his urine and diarrhea also his vomit was pure blood. His body shook and the doctors did what they could but he arrested and took my heart with him. I’m ready to battle this and any other company that sell such products, it’s like giving a child a bar of chocolate laced with poison. No animal should have to die in such agony and no pet owner/family member should have to live with the guilt and grief thinking you have killed your loved one. My heart aches and my home is silent now without him

      Reply

      • Vanessa, my heart breaks with you. The best thing you can do to avenge the death of your baby is to file a complaint with the FDA and take them to small claims court. If you need any help with that I would be more than happy to help. Please read my guide to making a pet food complaint (sticky post). For legal advice/resources go to http://www.consumeraffairs.com, you can make a complaint there too. Go to the company’s Facebook page and post what you wrote to me.

        Reply

        • Mollie I thank you for your advice and encouragement, I guarantee this is just the beginning of my mission to get the word out that this company and some others should be held responsible for cruelty to animals and selling a product they believe is safe for our pets to consume when really they are selling a slow painful killing product in the shape of a bone. I want to stand with a representative of this company that believes in there product and tell me on public television or you tube it’s safe for dogs to eat and then I’ll tell them every second of what my beautiful, loving, energetic, happy dog had to go through in his last 24 hours of life even though he had the best treatment from a great emergency hospital. God help that person/company that dare tell me to my face they are not responsible for his agony. I loved McDuff so so very much and I want to put all of my pain, grief and anger into getting this product off the shelves so I can maybe get a little comfort knowing my soldier didn’t die for nothing and can prevent this from happening to another dog and his/her family.

          Reply

          • Vanessa, I was in a similar crossroads years ago, one in which, like you, I vowed to honor my beloved baby by making it my mission in life to help animals.

            It is the courage and inspiration of brave and wounded pet parents like yourself, despite their agonizing pain and grief, wants to help others. That is what makes this job bearable is knowing there are caring, loving and compassionate people out there willing to fight the good fight.

            McDuff had a wonderful Mommie in you and I’m sure he’s cheering you on with all the other victims from the Rainbow Bridge right now.

            Have faith and consider joining the Animal Parents Against Pet Treats Made in China on Facebook, an amazing group of people like yourself and pet food safety activists, like myself, who have joined together to affect change.

            Hope to see you there!

          • Thank you again Mollie, your words are such a comfort to me at this time as my grief, pain is like no other I’ve felt. It’s only 3 days he’s gone now and I haven’t had the strength yet to move his toys or food bowls. I’ve taken a week off work to try and pull myself together. I’m so glad to have connected with you, your dog is still watching over you and guiding you to help others. I’ll see if I can find that facebook group but you’ll have to tell me how I go about that, I have a facebook account in fact McDuff is my profile picture.

          • I wanted to send you the link, but I’ve been busted by the Facebook police for posting a picture of dog jerky from China (of dogs, not for dogs) on Nestle-Purina’s Waggin Train Facebook page. I guess they thought it was too horrible, well duh, yah it is. I was making a point to WT – who keep insisting their stuff is just fine even though it’s from China. Sorry, but I have a problem with that argument. Anyway, I guess I’m not the first in the group this has happened to. You’re only “locked-out” for 72 hours. Absurd. It won’t stop me from being an activist though.

            I wouldn’t be able to function either Vanessa…it’s OK to feel grief…I was so distraught after one of my babies died I couldn’t bear to put her in the ground. I wanted her with me just a bit longer, I wasn’t ready to let go. So, she stayed with me until I could let go. Creepy, huh? I buried her in a thick cashmere sweater with favorite toys, planted flowers over her, took her paw prints in plaster and have them with me on my wall to honor her life.

            For others the pain is so terrible they cannot bear to go back and look or be reminded of the one they lost. My poor Mom, to this day, you mention her beloved dog Thunder (her Akita that died 15+ years ago) and she gets all choked up and has to leave the room. Photographs of him – forget it. She can’t even look at a picture of any Akita without losing it. When he died I have never, in my life, seen my Mom so utterly shattered by grief. Never. I am certain she loved Thunder more than her own Mom and Dad. Or for that matter my sister and I. It doesn’t hurt me, because I know the special bond that one can only have with an animal – that complete and utter trust and unconditional love they give us is so effortlessly returned to them.

            It is that kind of love, that makes us better at being humans.

            My thoughts are with Vanessa, Love & Hugs, Mollie

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