Are Rawhide Chews Safe For Your Dog?

Many dogs love rawhide chews and rawhide bones. But are these popular treats safe for your dog?

The answer is…

it depends.

There are several factors to take into consideration. The first thing to consider is your dog’s chewing style. Rawhides are meant to be a long lasting treat which will gradually break down into small soft pieces over time.

But, if you have a dog that is considered a “strong” or heavy chewer, he is likely to bite off big chunks of the rawhide and swallow them. This is where the danger is.

These chunks can quickly turn into a choking hazard and they can also obstruct the dog’s intestinal tract. Both of these unpleasant scenarios are life threatening.

On the other hand, if you have a dog that is known as a “soft” chewer, such as some senior dogs, young puppies or some small breeds like Chihuahuas, they will simply chew on the rawhide without breaking off pieces to swallow.

The other concern is ingredients in the actual rawhide itself. Most of these products are made in China. The hides are taken from the slaughterhouse floor and thrown into a salty brine solution to preserve them until they can be shipped to a tannery. Once there, they are lime and other chemicals to preserve the hide.

Rawhides are not easily digested and chunks your dog manages to break off and swallow can last for a long time in a dog’s stomach and can contribute to a variety of digestive issues.

In the end, it’s up to you of course, to determine if you want to accept the risks of giving your dog a rawhide chew. If you do, at least look for the more expensive, American made products that haven’t been treated with highly toxic and possibly illegal substances.

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By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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