Rawhide: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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rawhideNoThere are countless types of dog chews, bones, and toys in the market today, and rawhide is one of the most popular. Because there have been lots of concerns regarding the safety of rawhide dog chews, it is a good idea to be familiar with the various kinds of rawhide available as well as the pros and cons accompanying these types of chew toys. With the necessary facts, you can make a sound decision about whether or not to allow your pooch to chow down on the popular knotted chew bone.

The Good:

· It promotes healthy gums and teeth in dogs. As the rawhide chews get moistened, it tends to wrap around your pooch’s teeth; rubbing off any plaque buildup which in turn reduce his risk of acquiring serious dental problems.

· It prevents dogs from chewing valuable items at home. Because rawhide chews can keep your pooch busy for several hours, you can keep your clothing, furniture, and other belongings from being chewed on.

· It relieves teething pain that most puppies struggle with. When puppies start gnawing on rawhide chews, they tend to feel less pain as their teeth push through. Besides, rawhides help them in developing strong jaws.

· Your dog will likely love them. A lot of pet owners ignore the downsides to rawhide treats when the see the pure joy of a dog with a fresh, new chew. While there are some Pros to rawhide treats, careful selection and proper use are still vitally important.

The Bad:

· It can be a choking a hazard. Once your dog swallows a tiny, broken piece of rawhide, that portion can get lodged in his throat; putting him in serious danger. To avoid this, immediately take the rawhide away as soon as it becomes small enough to be swallowed whole.

· It can cause digestive blockage. Allowing your pooch to swallow a large piece of rawhide can also endanger his life. Rawhides can expand inside Fido’s stomach, putting him at risk of a fatal blockage. It can even wrap around his intestines, causing the same obstruction.

· It can cause gastrointestinal problems. If your pooch ingests too many rawhides, he may develop gastrointestinal complications.

· Not all rawhides are safe to eat. Several reports have revealed that rawhides which have been produced outside USA were made from toxic chemicals. Try to be selective when it comes to buying rawhide. Look very closely where it was manufactured and only choose rawhides made in the USA.

The Ugly:

· Some rawhides contain deadly poisons. The process of making rawhide involves chemically separating the outer layer of skin (usually of a cow) from the hide. This process leaves deadly poisons in the chew, including arsenic and formaldehyde.

· Some rawhides contain the skin from dogs. An investigation by Humane Society International stated in their report, “In a particularly grisly twist, the skins of brutally slaughtered dogs in Thailand are mixed with other bits of skin to produce rawhide chew toys for pet dogs. Manufacturers told investigators that these chew toys are regularly exported to and sold in U.S. stores.”

Ultimately, the choice is yours. But, remember, you’re choosing for your dog. It’s likely that if he could educate himself on what he was eating, he’d choose a safer, healthier alternative.

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When I adopted my shepherd mix, Molly, from a local shelter 12 years ago, I had no idea the impact she would have on my life. Through Molly, I've learned to be more patient, experienced unconditional love, been alerted to the mailman and every squirrel within a block radius of the house, and ingested enough fur to build 3 or 4 more dogs! When I lost Molly to cancer just a few months ago, I adopted Olive, a 13 week old Golden Retriever. Together, we smile at least a hundred times a day!

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