Can customers convince Dynamic Pet Products that their bones are killing dogs?
Not all dog owners know that bones can be dangerous treats for their best friends. Real bones can splinter while being chewed, causing potentially life-threatening injuries.
Consumers who have purchased Dynamic Pet Products’ Real Ham Bones have been complaining in droves, saying that the smoked ham bone products have shattered and gotten lodged in their dogs’ gastrointestinal tracts.
Since 2008, the St. Louis Better Business Bureau has received numerous complaints from consumers who say that Real Ham Bones have badly injured or even killed their dogs. Of those complaints, six allege that the bones caused dogs to die; the rest claim that the bones seriously injured the dogs involved. You can read BBB’s full Bad Bones Report here.
When asked to respond to these complaints, Dynamic Pet Products insists that the bones are safe, and that the owners assume responsibility for supervising their pets while they chew the bones.
Despite the many complaints, the bones are still carried in Walmart. But dog owners are trying to change that.
Rodney Canutt & Teddy
On March 28, 2015, Rodney Canutt had one of the worst days of his life.
Canutt gave Teddy, his beloved dog, a Real Ham Bone treat that he had picked up from Walmart. After Teddy had chewed on it for a short time, Canutt noticed that the bone had splintered and that Teddy was unusually restless. Growing worried, Canutt rushed Teddy to the emergency vet.
The vet took an x-ray and found 3 clumps of bone in Teddy’s stomach. Opting not to put Teddy through a surgery, the vet gave Teddy an IV to keep him hydrated and sent him home.
But Teddy’s condition rapidly deteriorated the next day. Canutt writes,
Very early in the afternoon “Teddy” was trying to go off by himself to hide. It was as though he was looking for a place to die. When I wouldn’t let him out of our sight he dug a hole and tried to hide in it. I had him come into the house so I could watch him better. He couldn’t get comfortable in any of his normal relaxation areas. He went into the kitchen out of my sight for a few minutes and when I went to check on him, found him lying on the kitchen floor in a pool of reddish clear fluid from his anus. The move to the kitchen was the last movement my best buddy ever made on his own.
Canutt rushed Teddy back to the vet, but they couldn’t do anything to save him. Teddy passed away on the 29th.
Canutt is using his grief to spread awareness of the problems caused by the Real Ham Bone. He went on TV to tell others about his loss, saying that “Just hearing [Teddy’s] agonizing cries for help just tore me apart.”
While he at first considered taking a settlement from Dynamic Pet Products — he and his wife Karen had to draw from Karen’s 401k in order to pay for Teddy’s vet bills and burial costs — Canutt now says that all he wants is for “all future dogs and owners [to be] saved from Teddy’s terrible fate.”
Khristie Reed and Fred
Just like Teddy, Khristie Reed’s basset hound Fred deteriorated quickly after chewing a Real Ham Bone. Within a day of chewing the bone, Fred’s vet told the Reed family that he had suffered irreparable damage to his digestive system and would have to be put to sleep. Reed confesses that “I am never going to forgive myself for buying him that deadly treat.”
Today, Reed is the plaintiff on a class-action lawsuit against Dynamic Pet Products that alleges that the company continued to sell the Real Ham Bone despite knowledge that the bones are unfit for consumption.
While they wait to see what will happen with Khristie’s suit, Reed’s friends run a Facebook group called Fight for Fred. The group has nearly 13,000 members and dozens of postings about health problems suffered by dogs who chewed Dynamic Pet Products’ Real Ham Bone.
Group members across the country have begged their respective Walmart stores to stop carrying the bones. Some report that while their local store managers were concerned that the bones were hurting dogs, they were unable to override corporate and get the bones off shelves long-term.
One woman writes,
I just texted [this page] to a Walmart employee to share with the manager that these Dynamic bones are killing dogs. He is supposed to tell the manager and have her research the site. I will check when I go back in. They had 10 or 12 bones on the shelf. I pray they remove them in Carthage, TX.
Another woman agrees,
I did the same thing here, in Natchez, MS. The employee I spoke with was horrified and said he would tell management. The next week there was an entire end cap full of the bones.
But none of them are sure that their hard work will stick long-term. One of the page administrators says that the group needs to put pressure on both the corporate and local Walmart offices in order to effect change:
The managers of the stores are the same as the people in corporate. You will find some sympathetic to our plight and they will pull them and others who don’t care or don’t feel they have the authority to pull them so they don’t. We have called corporate and gotten the same responses from them…some are sympathetic and say wow…let me help you, I’ll fast track this complaint to the correct department and others who say that until there is a recall from the manufacturer they are not required to act.
Our hope is that the risk is not worth the reward in this case and they do the right thing. I have talked to the manager in my area and explained our case…he actually pulled the bones. A week later they were back on the shelf, when I followed up with him, he told me he had a “visit” from a regional manger who asked why the bones were pulled. He explained why and the regional manager told him, unless there is a recall he was to NEVER pull something off the shelf. Was I upset at this??? Of Course but I don’t expect this poor manager to lose his job over this. He has a family to take care of. We HAVE to continue to work both ends, managers and corporate…our voice will be heard…these things required time and patience, they do not happen overnight.
With all of the group’s horror stories, they’re sure that with some persistence, they’ll be able to win over Walmart — eventually. Now they’re just worried about the dogs that could die in the meantime.
Ron and Gloria Witt, Panda, and Schweenie
Like the Reeds, many more pet owners have taken to grassroots activism to convince Dynamic Pet Products to remove their product from stores. The Witts’ dogs Panda and Schweenie have recovered from their health scares after chewing Real Ham Bones, but the Witts have vowed not to move on until they’ve made a real change.
The Witts, in fact, are professional photographers, and have been using their photos and videos to inform others about their dogs’ illness.
Gloria Witt told BBB, “We had shared our story on Facebook and we were overwhelmed in the hundreds and hundreds of shares we received! We realized we could potentially save even MORE dog lives and keep them from injury if we took it a step further! Doing the news story we really got wonderful response and thanks for fighting for what is right and that is increasing knowledge on this and working towards getting it off the market! We really want to help in anyway possible to get these horrible bones be banned forever!”
Their hard work helped them to get a story with Fox 6 Now in Milwaukee, in which they were able to tell other pet owners that they need to be careful when buying treats for their dogs.
“You buy a dog treat and you feel like you’re doing something nice and it’s a time bomb,” Gloria said.
Dynamic Pet Products: “We don’t think we have a problem.”
While Ron, Gloria, and others have spread the word about Dynamic Pet Products on the internet and TV, they are still facing an uphill battle trying to convince the company itself that anything is wrong.
David Frick, the owner of Dynamic Pet Products, told BBB that his customers are aware of the potential problems with the bones and “they’re fine with it.” Regarding the numerous negative statements on the internet about the bones, Frick noted that the complainants want to end sale of the product, saying “these people get lathered up and they say stuff.”
Frick likened sale of the bone to sales of toys for children like “bicycles, skateboards and Legos” that are potentially hazardous unless used correctly. “It’s just like toys,” he said.
In statements to BBB in 2010 and in 2015, the company said that there is a low ratio of people who complain to people who buy the product. Company spokeswoman Sarah Mades told BBB that “the compliments outweigh the concerns.”
So far, Frick is right — Dynamic Pet Products doesn’t have a problem; their products are still sold in Walmart.
A future for Panda, Schweenie, and others
These pet owners need your help to remove the Real Ham Bone from stores so that other dogs stay healthy.
Here’s how you can continue the activism started by Ron, Gloria, and other pet parents:
- Educate others about the risks of bones. The Fight for Fred group is helping to protect dogs by sharing what they know; you can do the same. Tell fellow pet owners that bones are dangerous for dogs.
- File a BBB complaint. If you or someone you know has had a dog become ill or die after being given a Real Ham Bone distributed by Dynamic Pet Products, BBB would like to hear about it. Email BBB at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 314–584–6723.
- Write your congressional representatives. Let’s get Congress to be proactive about dog bones. Write your representatives and encourage them to stop the sale and distribution of harmful bone products purchased for pets.
Tweet the Senators on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and ask them why the FDA hasn’t banned the sale of dangerous bones:
Tammy Baldwin — @SenatorBaldwin
Michael Bennet — @SenBennetCO
Richard Burr — @SenatorBurr
Bill Cassidy — @BillCassidy
Susan Collins — @SenatorCollins
Michael Enzi — @SenatorEnzi
Al Franken — @AlFranken
Orrin Hatch — @OrrinHatch
Johnny Isakson — @SenatorIsakson
Mark Kirk — @SenatorKirk
Lamar Alexander — @SenAlexander
Barbara Mikulski — @SenatorBarb
Lisa Murkowski — @LisaMurkowski
Christopher Murphy — @ChrisMurphyCT
Patty Murray — @PattyMurray
Rand Paul — @RandPaul
Pat Roberts — @SenPatRoberts
Bernie Sanders — @SenSanders
Tim Scott — @SenatorTimScott
Elizabeth Warren — @SenWarren
Sheldon Whitehouse — @SenWhitehouse
4. Talk to Walmart. Walmart’s corporate complaint department takes consumer info about its products. Sending Walmart this information about the Real Ham Bones should hopefully encourage them to no longer carry the product.
5. Talk to Dynamic Pet Products. Dynamic Pet Products, the producers of the Real Ham Bone, can be reached online here or by calling 636–266–9814. Tell them to quit selling products that injure and kill dogs!
6. Recommend this story. Click that green button and let’s see how many dogs we can save! And make sure to share with all the pet owners you know on social media.