The danger of the treats goes beyond regular bones, because they differ from uncooked bones purchased from a butcher, according to the federal agency.

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More than 68 pet illnesses and 15 deaths related to bone treats have been reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has issued a warning against buying and using store-bought bone treats.

The danger of the treats goes beyond regular bones, because they differ from uncooked bones purchased from a butcher. Bones packaged as dog treats including ham bones, pork femur bones, rib bones and smokey knuckle bones were among those reported to cause illness and even death.

The treats may be baked, and contain other ingredients including preservatives, seasonings, and smoke flavorings. Illnesses reported included choking, gastrointestinal blockage, cuts and wounds in the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding from the rectum and death.

The FDA also cautions that, in the home, platters with various bones on them should be kept from pets’ reach, because chicken bones and other bones from the table can also cause injury. That also goes for any bones in the trash can, which must be secured so a pet cannot get at them.

The FDA advises keeping an eye on a pet using a chew toy, particularly if it is new one. Call a veterinarian if the animal is not acting right. To report a problem with a pet food or treat, visit the FDA’s web page, How to Report a Pet Food Complaint.