Why Rawhide (Bones, Treats, Chews) is Bad and Potentially Unsafe for Dogs

Rawhide is a common material that’s used in many forms of dog products including rawhide chews and rawhide treats. Here are a few reasons why dog owners may decide against giving rawhide to their pets. Dog owners will need to decide between the probable risks and the enjoyment rawhide products may provide to dogs.

1. Rawhide poses a choking and blockage risk

Rawhide bones, treats, and chews can pose a major blockage risk if the dog was to accidentally swallow them, even if it was a small piece. Dogs have a difficult time digesting rawhide. It’s a by-product of leather, which we know is really tough. Pieces of rawhide will expand in size once it enters the dog’s stomach. It does this by absorbing fluid in the dog’s digestive tract. Intestinal blockage becomes a life-threatening condition if it isn’t treated promptly.

2. Rawhide poses a dental risk

Rawhide has the potential to fracture or break a dog’s teeth due to its hard composition. This risk is greater among dogs that are known for being hard chewers. It’s not as big of a threat for soft-chewing dogs because they are unlikely to chew and break the rawhide into swallowable chunks.

3. Rawhide and harmful chemicals

Low-quality rawhide products may have been treated with chemicals that are harmful to a dog’s health. It may go through treatment of chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide and sodium sulfide, both of which are harmful if a dog was to ingest them regularly.

What to give a dog to chew instead of rawhide

There are plenty of safer alternatives to rawhide when it comes to dog chews. For extreme chewers, you may want to try chew toys that are known for their durability, such as the KONG extreme. For soft chewers, consider alternatives like no hide chews. No hide is safer than rawhide because it isn’t treated with harsh chemicals. It is also easier for dogs to digest.

How long does it take for rawhide to digest in dogs?

It will depend on a number of factors like the quality, size, and thickness of the rawhide chew. As a general rule of thumb, it may take a few days before a dog is able to digest pieces of rawhide. Don’t wait on this to happen though. Call the vet if you suspect the dog swallowed a piece of rawhide.

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.


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