Milk-Bone Simply Original Dog Treats Biscuits for Large Dogs

Milk-Bone is one of the most popular dog treat brands available, but there is a great deal of debate about whether its treats are safe for your dog. In general, Milk-Bones are safe for dogs, provided that they don’t become the biggest part of your dog’s diet.

The risk when it comes to feeding your dog Milk-Bones is the potential allergic reactions to the ingredients, especially if you give your dog too many in one sitting. Many dog owners express concern over the BHA used as a preservative, but the amount of BHA is minimal and unlikely to cause issues in small doses.

What Are Milk-Bones?

As one of the biggest dog treat brands available, Milk-Bone has been around since 1908. Its treats are recognizable by a smiling dog on red packaging. Available in different sizes for a range of dog breeds and ages, the treats are crunchy, bone-shaped snacks that don’t have any of the risks posed by real bones.

Are Milk-Bones Safe for Dogs?

When it comes to dog treats, moderation is what prevents many of them from causing health issues. There are recommended feeding instructions included on the packaging for Milk-Bones.

While Milk-Bones shouldn’t be given to your dog every time that they request a treat, they do contain vitamins and minerals that can give your dog a small health boost. These treats are also designed to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth, though they don’t replace a good toothbrush.

There are a few risks when it comes to Milk-Bones, though, especially when your dog eats too many in one sitting.

Milk-Bone Flavor Snacks Small Dog Treats
Image courtesy of Amazon

Allergic Reactions

Milk-Bones contain beef, milk, and wheat, which can set off allergic reactions in some dogs. If your dog is sensitive to these ingredients, they’re more likely to suffer from adverse reactions after eating Milk-Bones.

Symptoms of allergic reactions include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Hyperactivity
  • Itchy skin
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

The severity of your dog’s allergic reaction depends on their sensitivity to the allergens in the recipe. Some dogs will never have a reaction, while others may be prone to an upset stomach after eating one or two Milk-Bones. If your dog is having issues, try cutting down on the number of Milk-Bones that your dog eats or find healthier alternatives.


One of the biggest issues that some dog owners have with Milk-Bones is the BHA content used as a preservative. A synthetic compound, BHA is used in tiny amounts to stabilize the fat content in human and dog food. It’s generally recognized as safe by the FDA, provided that the usage follows several strict guidelines, but it has also been linked to cancer in several animals, including rats.

Overall, the amount of BHA in Milk-Bones is minimal and well within the safe limits set by the FDA. Provided that Milk-Bones don’t become the only things that your dog eats, their BHA content shouldn’t cause problems.

Nutritional Imbalance

Treats can be part of your dog’s diet and offer additional health benefits to an existing balanced meal plan. However, they are most effective when they don’t exceed more than 5–10% of your dog’s main diet. While commercial dog food is formulated to support a balanced, healthy diet, treats — like Milk-Bones — don’t supply enough nutrition for your dog to live on.

Too many sweet treats can put your dog off their meals too. If the treats that they receive are more interesting than the kibble that they eat for dinner, they’re more likely to turn up their noses at their bowl in favor of hassling you for their favorite treats.

man giving a german shepherd a bone treat
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Healthy Alternatives

Milk-Bones are not the only treats that your dog can benefit from. Some of the best treats don’t even require a trip to the pet store. Small chunks of fruits and vegetables make for tasty and beneficial occasional snacks. The best options include:

  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Cooked sweet potato
  • Watermelon


In moderation, Milk-Bones can be safe and healthy treats for your dog. Milk-Bones can help clean your dog’s teeth and supply a few vitamins and minerals to support an already balanced diet.

The most common risks posed by Milk-Bones are allergens in the recipe. Some dogs can suffer from allergic reactions due to the beef, wheat, and milk content, especially if they eat too many Milk-Bones at once.