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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

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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.

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