All dogs chew — some for fun, others to deal with stress and anxiety. So, whether you have a puppy or an adult, you must give it something to chew. It’s an excellent way to prevent boredom and keep your dog’s teeth healthy.
You must pick dog chews wisely because they differ in materials, and some may not be suitable for your pet. If you consider giving rawhide as a snack, you need to know a few things beforehand. For instance, do you know how it’s made? And is rawhide bad for dogs? Let’s find out. Here’s what we’ll discuss:
- What Is Rawhide?
- Rawhide Ingredients
- Manufacturing Process
- Is Rawhide Dangerous for Dogs?
- Can You Give Rawhide to Puppies?
- What to Look Out for When Buying Rawhide
- Healthy Alternatives
What Is Rawhide?
Although many companies describe it as a natural chew, rawhide is a piece of manufactured animal hide. Traditionally, animal hides are split. Rawhide for dogs is made from their inner layer. The skin can be from any animal used in the leather industry.
Rawhide is the hide on the untanned animal, shaped, flavored, and ready for your dog’s teeth.
Depending on the manufacturing location, rawhide comes from beef, pork, or cow skin. Most of these chews are mixed with adhesives and chemicals during the manufacturing process, making them questionable for your dog’s safety.
Some rawhides are treated with pet-safe enzymes to make them more digestible and reduce plaque buildup on the teeth. It’s specifically beneficial with breeds like the beagle. Enzymes make the rawhide safer for dogs, but it’s only one good ingredient among all the toxins.
So, if you’re giving rawhide treats to your dog, at least try to choose products with healthier components.
Before turning into the final product, the hide undergoes several procedures.
First, the hides are placed into a brine. That helps to slow their decay, but it doesn’t stop them from rotting. After the animals’ fat and hair are removed, the hide is divided into layers. The outer layer is used for leather goods, and the inner makes rawhide for dogs.
Looks can be deceiving. For instance, rawhide chews can be full of flavors and dyed in vibrant colors. So next time, think twice before buying the crispy-looking snack for your dog.
Next, the rawhide is turned into many shapes and colors, which is why it’s so appealing to your dog. After that, it’s all preserved with many chemicals.
The final product goes straight into your dog’s mouth. So is rawhide bad for dogs? Before answering that question, think about all that’s underneath the sweet-looking bone or donut chew.
Is Rawhide Dangerous for Dogs?
The common problem with rawhide chews is that toxic chemicals may provoke choking and digestion issues. Also, the harmful chemicals in these products can be dangerous for the owner.
Generally, rawhides aren’t easy to digest, so your dog may suffer gastrointestinal problems and an upset stomach.
Depending on your dog’s health, digestion can take 2–5 days or last for months in your dog’s stomach. The approximate time for your pet’s body to process an average meal is six hours, and that’s 50% more with a rawhide chew.
The material’s digestibility may vary depending on your dog’s dental health, the chewing duration, the rawhide’s size, and the ingredients. Some dogs may be sensitive or allergic to rawhide components, so keep an eye on your pet with them. Also, rawhide can cause diarrhea in dogs.
Some hides manufacturers make rawhide from easily digestible ingredients, while others make it hard to digest.
Chemicals in Rawhide
The problem with rawhide is that the product itself is of natural origin, but the chemicals for its processing aren’t. Some of them include:
They can all lead to contamination.
Rawhide chews can put your dog at a higher risk of catching Salmonella or the bacteria Escherichia coli. Besides, you’re also at risk of coming into contact with such bacteria through the treats.
So, what is rawhide made of? Well, there’s not much “natural” in these dog treats. The most common symptoms of rawhide toxicity in dogs include:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Lack of energy
- Pain and gagging
- Weight Loss
- Repeated Swallowing
- Dog panting after eating rawhide
If you notice one of these symptoms, stop giving rawhide to your dog and call your vet immediately.
This deceptive dog treat can cause choking. If your dog consumes large rawhide pieces, they can get stuck in the lower digestive tract and cause blockage.
Rawhide blockage is a common problem with this snack. Veterinarians can remove it without surgery in most cases, but some may need an endoscopy. The treat is a choking hazard. If a vet doesn’t remove it immediately, it can be life-threatening.
Even if your dog is a good chewer, always try to supervise it with rawhide and intervene if needed.
Is Rawhide Safe for Puppies?
Puppies have fragile health, and they can easily break them by chewing hard objects like rawhides. While an adult dog’s permanent teeth should be stronger, hard rawhide chews could potentially fracture its teeth, too.
You shouldn’t give rawhide chews to your puppy if it has a medical issue that requires a special diet. They can be high in protein, salt, and phosphorus, which can worsen the problem. But if your baby dog is healthy, you can use rawhide toys occasionally to help the teething process.
So, is rawhide bad for puppies? Despite its potential hazards, rawhide can be a safe chew for adult dogs and puppies under strict supervision.
Why Puppies Need to Chew
The instinct to chew is normal puppy behavior. It helps strengthen the jaws and relieves anxiety. Boredom is another reason why puppies need to chew. Plus, chewing is excellent mental stimulation. So if you don’t exercise your pup enough, don’t be surprised if you find a hole in your shoe or sofa.
You can also relieve the teething discomfort with different kinds of dental chews for dogs and even small rawhide for puppies.
Age Restrictions on Rawhide
It usually depends on the breed and size, but it’s safe to conclude that eight weeks old puppies can have rawhide as a snack. Once a puppy begins to ween off its mothers’ milk, it can have these treats as teething help.
What to Look Out for When Buying Rawhide
Choosing the right chews for dogs can be tricky for every pet owner. Before buying, always check the product’s ingredients. You can consult a vet to learn which ones make safe rawhide for dogs.
You should also pay attention to the product’s digestibility. Rawhides are challenging to digest, so be careful when choosing the right chews. It usually depends on the dog’s age and size, but try not to give too big or too easy-to-swallow rawhides.
If you want to avoid low-quality and dangerous dog chews, you can opt for monthly subscriptions with dog goods, which will provide safe toys and treats.
You don’t need to deprive your dog of chewing benefits. Just replace rawhide with better alternatives. If you don’t know where to start, it’s always a good idea to research the healthiest puppy essentials for toys, accessories, and treats.
Other than rawhide chews, some pet owners opt for a natural approach and give their dogs treats like carrots and pumpkin.
If your choice is manufactured rawhide treats, pick a company that makes natural alternatives. Such products are easily digestible and contain simple, real ingredients, like No-Hide Dog Chews on Amazon. Another option is Amazon`s All Natural Bully Sticks. They’re more digestible than rawhide, and dogs love the meaty flavor.
If you want to reduce the choking hazards to a minimum, consider replacing the rawhide with indestructible chew toys like the NewHide Dog Chew Toy on Amazon. You can even make the chewing experience more fun for your dog by getting the Barkbox super chewer toys. They’ll keep your dog busy and happy for a long time.
With so many options, you cannot always choose the best for your dog. Still, it’s good to be informed about common treats and their ingredients.
So, is rawhide bad for dogs? It is. But can you give it to your dog again? Absolutely! Consider rawhide as chocolate — you know it’s not healthy for your tummy, but it’s yummy!
Luckily, you can find many healthy varieties like DIY treats and chew-proof toys, so your dog won’t have to miss out. To sum up, rawhide snacks can be beneficial only if you choose them carefully and give them under supervision.