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.


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.