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.


  1. My daughter just lost her 5 month old puppy from chewing on a rawhide bone, a piece slipped down his throat and it formed a blockage and he died. Please do not give your dog rawhide bones.

  2. To everyone suggesting that people feed their dogs meaty bones, you are at best, ill-informed about the safety of your decision. It’s the choking hazard that meaty bones posed that necessitated rawhide manufacturing, in the first place. Now, I don’t know what breed of dog you have, or why you’ve experienced nightmares in the past with rawhides. But you’re certainly not going to fix a problem caused by a rawhide with a bone.

  3. I am sad to say this article is irresponsible at best. Rawhide chews should never be given to an animal that you truly love. The chemical load is there whether it is imported or from the USA just in different amounts.
    Feeding raw and raw meaty bones is by far the best and natural way to feed your pet. It is kept quiet though because no big food company can make money off of you.

    • Do you know of any research that has actually been done to back up your comments about rawhide chews? I am trying to find the actual data so I can make a choice based on fact and not hearsay. I am not saying I agree or disagree with you but am wanting to make an informed decision. I am sure it is out there and am wondering if you know where.

  4. Thank you for this article. Rawhides are everywhere but not many people understand the risks. Thank you for hilighting the pros and cons so we can make an informed choice.

  5. now that obama and his cronies dismantled our borders and the Constitution with Trans Pacific “Partnership” we will no longer know what is in our food.

    • LOLOLOL….I see this kind of stupidity on Fox all the time but it is always hilarious to see it in real life. Ignorance is alive and strong in the land of the free (to be ignorant).

      • Yes, Liano I agree- it’s somehow more shocking to see it when you’re not on Breitbart or the Heritage Foundation’s facebook page. To harri: the FDA won’t stop doing it’s job just because of free trade agreements. I question whether they’ve ever really done a great job figuring out what’s safe to eat though- Dow, a major chemical manufacturer, is now one of the biggest seed companies in America; frozen processed foods are full of crap. I don’t see too many French and Thai people dying of obesity and heart disease in their early 60’s.

  6. Just lost my dog this weekend and suspecting it may have been the rawhide chews I got at Sam’s Club… Have bought them before but apparently it is now a different brand – one that is made in MEXICO. Didn’t think to look as we have always given her these types of chews and just figured it was a change in packaging – being the breed she was, chewing is a big thing. I feel awful for not checking and will be trying to find out how to have the remaining chews tested to verify this is what caused her demise :( It came on so quickly and only after using the new package of rawhide… SO thankful my remaining dog doesn’t care for them and did not chew any!!

  7. I blame our country for allowing this GARBAGE to be exported here. How dare those nasty ass countries sell us their crap goods for kids, adults, pets! I’m so fed up with garbage coming in from China and other filthy countries and our people and pets pay the price. Raw hides are disgusting to begin with but after reading that some are made with bits of skin from tortured dogs? That is so disgusting and cruel!
    I never gave my dogs rawhides because it’s a nasty piece of garbage that these companies make money from! They’re selling their GARBAGE and these people are buying it up so their dogs can chew on poison and choke. Do you ever wonder what’s in cat food? Dog food? It’s the worst of the worst and it’s even labled UNFIT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION. It’s beef, chicken and fish but it’s the worst parts that usually have tumors, cancer, open sores that get ground up and fed to your pets. There was a study done that found the drug vets use to put pets to sleep and it was found in dog food. How would it get there? Because some jack asses were selling dead dogs to dog food companies! I complained years ago to Kibbles and Bits because I found a lot of hard hairs poking out of every piece of food. They told me I must have gotten a bag that had too much cattle hair because they grind the entire leg, hair and all into the food. That was over 20 years ago but I’m sure they still make their garbage food the same way. What a disgusting shame. Our last dog ate Blue dog food and for many years she ate our food and lived to be 15. My cousin feeds her dog mostly chicken and she’s 17. My Aunt never took her dogs to the vets, they never got shots and never ate dog food and they both lived to be 15 and 18. Cheap dog food and treats are POISON!

  8. Horrified by some of the comments. NEVER, EVER give your dog any kind of chew if you are not going to be there to supervise!

    • Totally agree. I have a dog who chews too fast so I only buy AMERICAN rawhide and I cut hers in half and normally I watch them but since the male chews off pieces and now she has half pieces it’s been fine. No more diarrhea no more choking.

  9. I lost my Scooter to a rawhide. He was fine one minute, and the next, he was lying in his own excrement, struggling for his own breath. There was only minutes before he was gone. Please don’t buy these things, folks. Scooter will forever be missed.

    • Lost my 3 yr old boxer today from choking on a rawhide chew bone. Please don’t give these to your dogs.
      Gave her one as a birthday treat for her 3rd birthday (also today) and the end – which was as big as my fist broken off and slipped down her throat. Got it out eventually but too late to save her.

  10. I never recommend rawhide for dogs at least the ones made outside of the US. My Co worker almost lost her dog recently because of salmonella poisoning and had a piece of rawhide stuck in her dog’s stomach. She got the rawhide tested turns out the rawhide had salmonella all on the inside of it. Her vet recommended to just stay clear of them completely.

  11. Please, do NOT feed your dogs rawhide. I just put my year old Boxer, Dalton, through a $2,000 experience getting the end of one removed from his intestines!

  12. Rawhide chews generally is good for dog as it’ll give them healthy gum and strong jaws. But yes sometime it can cause some problem also. Good information given on this blog about the merits and demerits of rawhide chews.

  13. I have just given my dog, who eats everything, a rawhide and she ran away and hid. She must have smelt something dodgy in there, but i bought it from a reputable dog boutique. She is still avoiding me, hence I’m on this site. Confused.