Chew, chew, chew, crunch goes the soundtrack of rawhide for dogs! But are dog rawhide treats a great idea or really just a choking hazard in disguise? Vets tend to be divided when it comes to recommending rawhide chews, so let’s look at the facts.
What is Rawhide for Dogs?
Traditional rawhide dog treats are simply chews made of the soft, inner layer of cowhides. To make rawhide chews for dogs, the cowhide is spun, dried and twisted together. Sounds natural enough, right?
Hides, Artificial Flavours, and Chemicals! What Rawhide for Dogs is Made of
Unfortunately, not all rawhide for dogs is made with care. Besides the adhesive that holds the chews together, rawhide itself (which could be a cow, horse, sheep….) is often treated with a mix of different chemicals, from sodium tripolyphosphate (for cleaning off fats and hairs) to hydrogen peroxide to make the rawhide sticks pearly white.
Check out this video for a rundown on how some of the worst rawhide dog bones are made (there’s a happy ending, don’t worry; cats aren’t so bad!)
Perhaps you’ll think again before buying some rawhide chews for your best pal this Valentine’s day!
Understanding Why Are Rawhide Chews Bad for Dogs?
Luckily, USA rawhide is monitored more closely and adding dangerous chemicals to preserve it (formaldehyde and arsenic, for example) is strictly banned.
But there are still problems with rawhide chew materials, regardless of how they are made and the chemicals that are used.
From chipped teeth to major surgery, there are many serious and real problems with rawhide chews.
The Deadly Treat! Rawhide for Dogs
While major suppliers are still manufacturing bulk rawhide bones and new rawhide chewing treats in different package sizes every day, more people are waking up to the dangers of the treat.
Is Rawhide Bad for Dogs?
Natural rawhide chewing may be good for dogs, especially their dental health.
Castor Pollux, a huge supplier of dog chewing products in America, states that their rawhide chews are made from 100% US beef… but you should also “wash hands with warm water and soap after handling” which sounds a bit suspicious.
There are benefits that you need to weigh against the dangers when deciding if rawhide is bad for your doggies.
Is Rawhide Good for Dogs?
The benefits of rawhide for dogs:
- Rawhide chews are great for dental health, removing plaque and strengthening jaws.
- Even healthy hide contains very little nutritional value, so your doggie isn’t going to get fat from munching a tonne of rawhide chews.
- Chew toys, including rawhide, mean your best pal spends more time slobbering on their own toys rather than your new shoes!
Already you can tell that healthy alternatives to rawhide will have exactly the same benefits without all the negatives that we’ll cover next.
Is Rawhide Safe for Dogs?
Just last year, United Pet Group put out a recall on their rawhide products that were processed abroad using cleaning chemicals banned in the USA!
Any product, including rawhide chews, that’s unclear with their ingredients list and manufacturing procedure should be regarded with extreme precaution. For what to look for on the package, see Rawhide Treats? below.
A Choking Hazard! Rawhide Bones for Dogs
Small pieces of rawhide can be swallowed and digested with little problem (although uncomfortable digestion is a common side effect) but large pieces that pass through your dog’s tummy can lodge in the digestive tract and cause SERIOUS problems. Even death.
If your dog is a swallower, AVOID RAWHIDE!
Rawhide Vs Rawhide Bones The Difference?
Rawhide bones are, surprise surprise, still made of rawhide. In fact, they may be even more dangerous than just rawhide by itself.
A large, continuous piece of rawhide can be chewed on for hours without a single piece dropping off. With larger mouthed dogs that prefer to chew rather than swallow, this is great!
The odd, boned shaped rawhide pieces are often made up of smaller rawhide chips stuck together – any piece could be chewed off and swallowed.
Are rawhide bones bad for dogs?
There are risks associated with ANY kind of rawhide. Small pieces are a major choking hazard while larger pieces can chip teeth and get lodged in the digestive tract.
Possible Benefits? Are Rawhide Bones Bad for Dogs
The cylindrical, smooth and large pieces of rawhide are arguably the safest. They are least likely to break into smaller pieces and will clean your dog’s teeth while keeping them occupied for hours.
No matter what chew toy you give for your dog (we’ll cover alternatives to rawhide below) make sure to keep an eye on them. No unsupervised chewing allowed!
Choose The Safest Options! Best Rawhide for Dogs
The best rawhide for your dog depends on your specific pooch. Dogs that just love to swallow and eat had best avoid rawhide in all forms. Dogs more content to chew and chew will be fairly safe as long as you keep an eye on them and carefully pick a safe rawhide treat.
Healthy Rawhide for Dogs
Natural rawhide has next to no nutritional value. Any brand claiming to sell “healthy” or “nutritious” rawhide may mean that additives, chemicals, and flavorings have been added.
The more appetizing the rawhide, the more likely your dog is going to want to swallow the treat.
When it comes to buying suitable rawhide treats for your dog, always check the package label! Look for:
- Expiration dates,
- Place of origin,
- Ingredients and chemicals used as an adhesive on large pieces,
- And lot codes that you can quote to the manufacturers when checking the origins of the product.
3 Reasons Why is Rawhide Bad For Dogs
Just in case you’re still tempted to give rawhide dog chews to your dogs on a whim this Valentine’s day, let’s go over the reasons it’s so bad again:
- Dangerous chemicals used as adhesive, flavoring or bleach.
- Small pieces of rawhide are a major choking hazard and can chip their teeth.
- Large pieces of rawhide lodging in your doggy’s digestive tract will need to be removed surgically and can result in death.
Healthy, Nutritious Alternatives! Rawhide Alternative for Dogs
When it’s your birthday, you want those good treats, and these treats are so much better than compressed rawhide!
Bully sticks: read this without giggling, we dare you. Bully sticks are made of bull’s penis. Unlike rawhide, these dog chews super easy for your dogs to digest if they swallow it… dogs love chewing bully sticks!
Raw bones: nutrients in raw bones and bone marrow can be very beneficial for dogs, however, you must throw away the bone if it starts to break or chip, as just like rawhide treats they may choke.
Your local butcher might give you a great deal on raw bones – a cute doggy begging for a bone treat is sure to sway your butcher’s heart. Hopefully.
The Verdict! Say NO to Rawhide If You Can!
Even rawhide chews made with the safest, natural chemicals have the risk of breaking off and choking your dog.
With healthy, safe alternative chew toys to rawhide treats that dogs love, why take the risk?
Chew, Chew, Gulp!
Rawhide for dogs isn’t suitable for any pet to eat. Not even cats. Pick safe chew toys for many happy doggy years to come!