Food Guidelines

Rawhide: Delicious or Dangerous?

There are numerous types of dog bones and chew toys available in the market today, and rawhide is definitely one of the most popular and widespread. Because there have been apprehensions over the use of rawhide chews, dog owners should know about its various kinds and the pros and cons that each type of rawhide poses.

A Brief Overview

Rawhides are basically made from the innermost coating of a cow’s hide. After cleaning and drying it, the piece is cut, rolled, and then shaped into different forms. While the US-processed rawhides are not subjected to any type of chemical treatment that may harm the dogs, some reports reveal that rawhides produced in other countries have toxic substances in them such as chrome and arsenic.

Please, when feeding your dog any type of treat, check its country of origin. The US has much stricter regulations for manufacturers than many other countries that have no such regulations in place for pet products.

There are many types of rawhide chews which typically include granulated, rolled, and compressed varieties. Each kind differs in appearance, texture, size, and hardness. Some can even be flavored. The type of rawhide you buy will depend on the kind of chewing style your pooch has.

How to Make the Right Choice

The primary danger in letting a dog eat rawhide chew toys is when blockages occur; thereby, requiring surgery. This commonly happens when your dog rips huge chunks out if the rawhide, swallows them, and the pieces later get stuck in his digestive system.

It’s always best to monitor your dog’s chewing habits and don’t leave him unattended with rawhide. At the very least, monitor him until you are comfortable that he isn’t able to swallow pieces of it.

To help you decide which variety of rawhide best suits your pooch, consider the following:

1. Granulated Rawhides. Dog chews made out of granulated rawhides, also known as extruded rawhides, are considered to be the softest. This kind comes in small amounts and tends to crumble easily which make it especially suitable for puppies and other light chewers.

2. Rolled or Cut Rawhides. This type is normally rolled or made into strips and then shaped into bone forms, typically with a knot on both ends. The flat knotted chew bones are a little softer as compared to the rolled ones. Because the knots on each end can be chewed off easily, care should be taken so as to keep Fido from swallowing it whole. This rawhide is particularly great for average chewers.

3. Compressed Rawhides. This kind is commonly made from many layers of rawhides that are compressed into a specific shape, oftentimes, into a bone but minus the knots. This brings about an extremely dense and very hard rawhide dog chew that certainly lasts for a long time. This is the only variety of rawhide that fits the chewing needs of large breed dogs as well as aggressive chewers.

4. Other Types. The other kinds include the chew flips, strips, and chips. These are smaller, flat portions taken from rawhide sheets. These types soften easily and are usually the appropriate size when it comes to swallowing whole. These varieties are not good for large dogs and puppies, as well as aggressive and active chewers.

If you’re looking for a safer alternative to rawhide, but one that your dog will love just as much, many options are available. Many dogs love a pigs ear or hoof. Bully sticks are long-lasting and delicious. Antlers are flavorful and fun to chew (and indestructable!). And, special bones made of nylon that are flavored are also great for chewing.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Victor

    May 16, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Wow, I didn’t realize there was so much to rawhide bones. So there are good kinds and then there are bad kinds. Because I’m sure to have trouble discerning between the two while shopping locally at the pet supply store, I’m probably just going to refrain from buying them until I’ve acquired an eye for what’s what. After all, when it comes to my pup’s well being, better safe than sorry!

  2. Pam Covey

    Jul 3, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    My larger dogs have had very good luck with the large tightly wrapped retriever rolls. Not sure who makes them but says they are 100% Made in USA. I buy them in bulk at the feed & farm store near us.

  3. Patti Bramall

    Jul 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    There are many other alternatives now other than dangerous rawhide. Much of it is made out of the country and contains dangerous toxins plus the choking factor. It is less expensive than the bully sticks and antlers but you can’t place a value on your dog’s life. Do not let them have rawhide.

    • Paul

      Jul 4, 2014 at 11:40 am

      Exactly. Well put Patti.

  4. jennifer carreras

    Dec 27, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    look rawhide bones arent deadly all it needs is some supervision i give my dog rawhide bones and i supervise her i have been giving them to her since she was 9 months old.

    • Paul

      Jul 4, 2014 at 11:39 am

      Jennifer,
      Why even risk it? You cant possibly sit there and watch her chew every piece of it off. The risk is too great! It scares me to think that people are willing to take this risk. There are far better options out there. Try a bully stick. 100% digestible.

  5. Matt

    Jul 12, 2012 at 9:41 am

    I used to give both my Staffy and my Pit rawhide but after choking issues with my Pit and sickness issues with my Staffy, I don’t anymore. Nylabones are far better and safer.

  6. Renee

    Jul 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    I will never give my dogs rawhide! Many years ago my vet had informed me of the issue with blockages from rawhide. I love my “babies” way too much to give them anything that could pose a hazard to them. If you truly love your dog…. please do your homework before giving them anything! We give our dogs a hollow bone and add peanut butter, apples, bananas, carrots or whatever you like to add inside and they love it, healthy and no hazards!

  7. Amber

    Jul 5, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Rawhide is very dangerous. Instead, I use fresh beef knuckle bones from the meat department in most grocery stores. You can often have them cut up to suit your dog. Extras can be frozen for later.

  8. Debbie Bellows

    Jul 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Please do not use any form of rawhide. Most of it has been cured in formaldehyde and they have no nutritional value and the chocking and blockage dangers far outweigh the benefits. Get your pet on antlers. THey are totally natural and digestable. Super great for big to small dogs. Good for their teeth too. My pitt/rott mix is a super chewer. His antler chews last for a really long time!

    • Tammy Williams

      Jul 3, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      My 9 month old golden retriever gets organic compressed rawhide chews that are about 12″ long. I buy them online. Our vet recommended them, saying that these chews are digestible, safe under supervision and help clean teeth. My guy is a gentle chewer. One chew lasts several weeks. When 5-6″ remains, it gets tossed out. They may not be an appropriate choice for a dog that gobbles its chewies quickly or is a resource guarder.

  9. Vicki Combs

    Jul 5, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I have used rawhide chews before for my dogs and find that they can choke very easily. I will not use any kind of rawhide chews for my dogs

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