The FDA warns that giving your dog a bone to chew can cause broken teeth; mouth or tongue injuries; blockage in the esophagus, windpipe, intestines or stomach; constipation due to bone fragments; bleeding from the rectum as the dog tries to pass fragments; and peritonitis. Peritonitis is a sometimes fatal and difficult-to-treat bacterial infection of the abdomen which is caused when bone fragments spike holes in the stomach or intestine.
"Some people think it’s safe to give dogs large bones, like those from a ham or a roast," says Carmela Stamper, D.V.M., a veterinarian in the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration. "Bones are unsafe no matter what their size. Giving your dog a bone may make your pet a candidate for a trip to your veterinarian’s office later, possible emergency surgery, or even death. Make sure you throw out bones from your own meals in a way that your dog can’t get to them. And pay attention to where your dog’s nose is when you walk him around the neighborhood – steer him away from any objects lying in the grass."
Stamper recommends that you chat to your veterinarian about alternatives to giving bones to your dog. "There are many bone-like products made with materials that are safe for dogs to chew on. Always supervise your dog with any chew product, especially one your dog hasn’t had before."