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A beagle chewing on a rawhide bone chew

Is rawhide safe for dogs? What is rawhide, how is it made and more...

We ask the questions what is rawhide, how is it made, is rawhide safe for dogs and what are the alternatives.

In this blog we will cover the following questions:

A beagle chews on a rawhide bone, adijoshi11​​

What is rawhide? 

Rawhide is a widely available dog chew that can be found in numerous dog shops and grocery stores. It is a chewable material made from the inner layer of animal skin, primarily derived from cows and horses. However, it is important to note that rawhide is considered a by-product of the leather industry rather than the meat industry. As a result, rawhide is not subject to the same level of health regulations and oversight as food products.

How is rawhide made?

Rawhide is derived from the inner layer of cow or horse hides. To process rawhide, the hides undergo a series of steps. They are cleaned and stripped of hair and fat, then treated with chemicals like sodium sulphide or lime to remove remaining flesh and hair while preventing spoilage. The hides are washed, sometimes bleached, and pressed into flat sheets or shaped into various forms.

To make rawhide more appealing to dogs, it is often chemically treated and flavoured. However, it's important to note that many of these treatments primarily serve to preserve the chew's shelf life and make it visually appealing to humans, rather than improving the product for dogs. Chemical additives, such as artificial flavours and preservatives, are applied to the rawhide's surface to enhance taste and smell, making it enticing to pets.

It is natural that owners like you and I to question - is rawhide safe for dogs?

Is rawhide safe for dogs?

Rawhides can have some additional risks for our furry friends. Apart from the processing and chemicals, it's important to know that common bacteria like Campylobacter and Salmonella can be found on rawhide chews. If a dog accidentally swallows a piece of rawhide, it can expand in their stomach and cause digestion problems, leading to blockages. In some cases, larger pieces can get stuck in their throat or digestive tract, which may require emergency surgery to remove.

It's essential to be aware of these risks when giving rawhides to our dogs. Bacterial contamination can happen because rawhides are made from animal hides and are exposed to various environmental factors. The moisture content and porous nature of rawhide create a suitable environment for bacteria to grow.

To keep our furry friends safe, it's a good idea to consider alternative options that are less risky. Natural edible chews, like bully sticks or dehydrated meat treats, are a healthier choice and easier for dogs to digest. Durable rubber or nylon chews are also great options that provide long-lasting entertainment without the dangers associated with rawhide.

What are the alternatives? 

We advise keeping treats and chews as natural as possible and to avoid processed rawhide. We want your dog to live a long, healthy and happy life. 

Natural Long Chews

Edible natural dog chews like pizzles and olive wood chews have some wonderful advantages compared to traditional rawhide. Firstly, they are gentle on your furry friend's tummy, making digestion easier and reducing the chances of any tummy troubles or blockages. These chews are also a healthier option as they are minimally processed and don't contain any artificial additives. Not only do they promote better overall health, but they also provide a delightful chewing experience, keeping your dog mentally stimulated and their teeth in good shape.

Nylon Chew Toys

When it comes to dog chews, nylon options like Nylabone's Power Chew Wishbone offer significant advantages over traditional rawhide. Firstly, they are incredibly durable and long-lasting, designed to withstand even the most enthusiastic chewers. For example, the Wishbone Power Chew is built to endure powerful jaws and maintain its shape, ensuring your pup can enjoy it for an extended period. Additionally, nylon chews are a safer alternative as they don't pose the same risks of digestive issues or blockages that rawhide sometimes does. They provide a satisfying chewing experience while promoting dental health and helping to redirect your dog's chewing habits away from furniture or shoes. With nylon chews like the Wishbone Power Chewer, you can have peace of mind knowing your furry friend has a durable and safe chew that keeps them happily occupied.

Rubber Chew Toys

Rubber chews, such as SodaPup's Large Honey Pot Enrichment Toy, along with options from Maxbone' Decagon Chew and most Zee.Dog's Toys, present a fantastic alternative to rawhide. These durable chews, like the Large Honey Pot, are designed to withstand the toughest chewers, ensuring long-lasting enjoyment for your furry friend. Unlike rawhide, rubber chews are non-toxic and pose no risk of digestive issues or blockages. They often feature textured surfaces that can help promote dental health by massaging gums and cleaning teeth. Moreover, these chews can be filled with treats or peanut butter, providing both mental stimulation and an engaging challenge for your dog. With rubber chews from brands like SodaPup, Maxbone, and Zee Dog, including the Large Honey Pot Enrichment Toy, you can confidently offer a safe and entertaining chewing experience while avoiding the potential hazards associated with rawhide.

So are you still choosing Rawhide?

Rawhide might be a cheaper option and your dog might like it since it is chemically treated to taste and smell good. However I hope we answered the question: Is rawhide safe for dogs - and the answer is no

For your pup's safety and to prevent unnecessary (and costly) surgery in the future it is best to avoid rawhide in your dog's diet. Especially with so many natural and safe alternatives on the market.

As responsible pet owners, we should always keep an eye on our dogs while they chew on any type of chew toy. By monitoring their chewing habits, we can ensure they don't accidentally swallow large pieces. Choosing safer alternatives to rawhide is a proactive step towards protecting our dogs from potential harm.

Remember, our dogs rely on us to provide them with safe and enjoyable chewing experiences. By making informed choices and considering their well-being, we can keep them happy and healthy while satisfying their natural chewing instincts.

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