If you're a dog owner, there's no doubt you've seen the amount of rawhide dog treats available to buy. They're featured in every pet shop, and you'll often find them as treats in Christmas dog stockings.
Rawhide treats have long been promoted as a great way to entertain your dog as they chew happily for hours.
And while there are some benefits of rawhide dog treats, many pet owners don't know they aren't everything they're made out to be.
In this guide, you'll discover the benefits of rawhide treats, along with the hidden dangers, so you can make an informed decision on whether a rawhide chew toy is suitable for your dog.
How is a dog rawhide treat made?
Rawhide is made from leftovers from the leather industry (from cow hides or other animals that have been used). Here's what happens:
The hide is placed in brine to help slow its decay (it still rots, but this process makes it slower).
The brined hide is shipped to tanneries to strip off the fat and hair using highly toxic chemicals.
More chemicals are used to puff up the hide to split the layers (the outer layer being used to make leather goods like shoes & the inner layer being used for rawhide treats, gelatin and glue).
A solution of hydrogen and peroxide (and other chemicals) is used to remove the smell from the hide (as it's rotting leather).
The rawhide is coloured and basted with flavours to make them look attractive.
When completed, the rawhide chew is preserved with chemicals and made into shapes like rolls and bones (often using glue to hold this shape).
The hidden dangers in rawhide treats for your dog
As you've just discovered, a dog rawhide chew undergoes a heavily chemical laden process to become an attractive chew toy for your dog. Even if the rawhide treat is promoted as 'natural', it's best to check the ingredient label carefully.
Besides your dog ingesting harmful chemicals, here's a couple more reasons why rawhide is bad for your dog:
If your dog swallows a broken piece of rawhide, it may become stuck in their throat, acting as a choking hazard
Rawhide is indigestible, so when swallowed, it can stay for long periods in your dog's stomach, causing gastrointestinal issues and potential blockages
To ensure your dog doesn't choke, it's best always to supervise your dog when they're chewing on a rawhide treat.
The benefits of dog rawhide toys and treats
If your dog loves rawhide treats and you're willing to supervise them while they're chewing, you will see there are some benefits. But please, buy good quality ones (not cheap imports) and read the label very carefully.
Rawhide treats continue to be a popular choice as a dog chew toy as they do offer some benefits, including:
Improving the dental health of your dog – as the rawhide is chewed and becomes wet, it wraps on your dog's teeth and rubs off plaque buildup
Saves your household items – when your dog has a toy to chew on, they tend to leave your shoes, furniture and other items alone
Relieves puppy teething pain – gnawing on a rawhide treat helps your puppy's teeth come through, eases pain and strengthens their jaw
What are the alternatives to dog rawhide chews?
There are many fantastic alternatives to rawhide chews that your dog will love just as much.
The best alternatives to dog rawhide chews include:
A raw meaty bone gives your dog essential protein, calcium and minerals as well as being great for their dental health
Hard toy bones that are specifically designed not to break down but give your dog hours of chewing entertainment while strengthening its jaw, neck and shoulder muscles
Dried meat products that are natural, dehydrated meat your dog can chew on
Manufactured dental chews for dogs that are made from non-toxic ingredients (read the label on the product)
Be cautious with dog treat gifts when giving or receiving them
Christmas is quickly approaching, and it's during this time manufacturers will tie pretty bows around rawhide treats or include them in Christmas pet stockings.
Before you decide it's the perfect gift for your dog (or a friend's dog), please explore the other options to keep your dog safe. The last thing anyone wants at Christmas is a trip to the vet.
As a quick reminder of my services, I can help you transport your dog to the vet, help you care for your dog over the Christmas period, pop in to visit your dog and take them on a walk.
Here's a list of all my services.
You can book a pet minding service online, including dog walking and pet sitting, using my online booking form.
Until next time, pat your fur babies for me!