Christmas and pets may make a perfect combo for Instagram photos, but one viral social media post is making the claim that it may be a bad combo, especially when it comes to certain rawhide treats and chew toys.
Are the claims in the post accurate? Do many holiday themed dog treats send pets to the vet because of dangerous chemicals and intestinal issues?
Veterinarians and experts in pet safety and health agree that the intestinal issues listed in the post are accurate - but rare. The AVMA told VERIFY that rawhide and chew toys are typically safe, but have been known to lead to intestinal issues if an animal eats them too quickly or if sharp, jagged pieces end up in their digestive tract.
The AVMA also told VERIFY that it's difficult to prove the claims earlier in the post about dangerous chemical processes
no official regulatory agencies exist for dogs.
WHAT WE FOUND:
There are a number of different sources with a variety of different takes on this topic. Perhaps the most important note here is that unlike humans, dogs don't have any regulatory agency monitoring the safety or quality of their treats or toys.
Agencies like the FDA record re-calls of certain dog foods and products, and dog-related issues that are reported to them, but they don't have any apparatus or departments actively gathering that information on their own.
That makes it difficult, if not impossible, to verify the original claims in the post. Here's what different sources have to say.
- Between 2010 and 2017, the FDA received 68 reports of illnesses related to bone treats.
- "Giving your dog a bone treat might lead to an unexpected trip to your veterinarian, a possible emergency surgery, or even death for your pet," said Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian in the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the FDA.
- Illnesses reported include a variety of intestinal problems.
- The FDA maintains a recall list of animal products.
- According to a spokesperson, the AVMA hasn't seen any stories about dogs getting sick due to dangerous chemicals in holiday themed treats.
- "We recognize that pet owners
are concerned about making sure they purchase and receive healthy holiday treats and toys for their pets and would recommend pet owners talk with their veterinarian for information regarding the appropriateness of different types of treats and toys for their particular pet," An AVMA spokesperson said.
The AVMA also maintains a recall list.
- In an article about whether rawhide chews are dangerous for your dogs, the AKC wrote about how rawhide chews are made.
- "Rawhide chews are made from the leather industry’s leftovers. Most hides are taken directly from the kill floors at slaughterhouses and placed into high-salt brines, which helps slow their decay. Most rawhide chews are manufactured in China, and it can take weeks to months before these brined hides actually make it to the tanneries for their final manufacture. Once the hide arrives at a tannery, it is soaked and treated with lime to help separate the fat from the skin, the hair is removed by chemical and physical efforts, and the hide is rinsed again. Unfortunately, the salt brines cannot prevent decay, no matter how long they delay it. It is best to fully rinse a rawhide in water prior to giving it to your dog."
- According to their article, the AKC recommends buying rawhides made in the United States.
- In a 2007 article, Consumer Reports tested multiple pet toys found in big-box stores for dangerous chemicals. Their testing was independent and not linked to any oversight agencies, but it found elevated levels of lead, chromium and cadmium.
- Their own article also cited two veterinarians who said, "the levels of toxic metals found in the toys do not pose a health risk to dogs or cats."
- Healthy Stuff, a section of the "Ecology Center" tests everyday products. They have lists of their tests online. Including an archive of tests on pet products.
Multiple sources back up the posts claim that rawhide and chew toys can cause obstructions and intestinal problems if they are eaten too quickly or not of good quality. None of the sources were able to prove or show more evidence for the claims of dangerous chemicals used in the manufacturing process that could prove toxic to your dogs. That part of the claim is Unverified.
VERIFY researchers reached out to the posts author to request their sources for the claims.