3 Reasons NOT to Give Your Dog Rawhide

3 Reasons NOT to Give Your Dog Rawhide

By Alisson Goldberg, Certified Dog Trainer and Owner of the Rochester Canine Academy

Rawhide and is very often found in holiday gifts for your dog.  It’s an inexpensive yet seemingly desirable treat.  The truth however, is that rawhide can be potentially dangerous for your best friend.  Here are 3 things I share with my clients about this common dog treat.

1. Since rawhide is just dehydrated skin, as your dog chews on it, it become re-hydrated.  Once it becomes good and gummy, it is possible for it to get caught in the back of their throat causing a choking hazard.  In addition, if a large piece is swallowed, it continues to expand in the intestinal track.  If it swells to the point of causing a blockage, you could be looking at a very expensive surgery for a very inexpensive chew toy.

2.  Rawhide, especially those that are produced outside of the United States, are full of toxic chemicals. The chews are made from the leather industry’s leftovers.  Chemical baths are used to remove any remaining flesh and hair as well as to preserve the skins. Bleaching solutions remove any fetid smells and ensures it’s pretty white color.  Additional coloring and flavoring is sometimes added which can also be toxic.

“…the Material Safety Data Sheet reveals a toxic confection containing the carcinogen FD&C Red 40, along with preservatives like sodium benzoate. But tracking the effects of chemical exposure is nearly impossible when it’s a matter of slow, low-dose poisoning.”– thebark.com

3.  Rawhide, and any other chews that once walked around of thier own volition (think real bones, hooves, tendons, ears, pressed bones ect.) are generally not seen as toys by your dog.  They are seen as food, and high value food at that.  Even dogs who have previously never shown any aggressive tendencies will potentially guard a rawhide.   I can’t even begin to tell you how many owners call me each year in total shock that their dog growled or bit a family member over these kinds of chews.  There are so many great non-food based chew toys as well as edibles that are meant to be consumed relatively quickly, on the market.  I personally can’t see any good reason to take that gamble when other options are available.

So what SHOULD I give my dog instead?

  • Nylabones
  • Kongs
  • Durable Rubber Toys (chew level dependent)
  • Whole Carrots (frozen or room temperature)
  • Dehydrated fish skin
  • Homemade or American Made Turkey, Chicken, Beef or Venison Jerky (Be mindful that many of these store bought products are imported from China where safety mandates are not as strictly regulated)
  • Dehydrated Fruit and Vegetable such as Sweet Potato, Apple, Yams, (Homemade or American Made)
  • Himalayan Dog Chews for short term, supervised play
  • American Produced Chicken, Turkey or Duck Feet and Necks (I know it sounds gross, but they are consumed rather quickly and when given raw, are a good way to help clean teeth!)



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