It’s nearly impossible to walk down a pet aisle without seeing at least one rawhide treat neatly stacked on the shelf. After all, they are a very popular treat for dogs. You might have even heard that rawhide is actually good for your dog – for their teeth, for example, or helping with the chewing instincts. But is that true? Is rawhide actually safe for your dog? We’ve got the answers.
What is Rawhide?
First, let’s look at what rawhide actually is. Rawhide comes from the inner layer of horse or cow hides. The hides are cleaned, then cut or ground during manufacturing and pressed into chewable treats for pups. To make them even more appealing, they may contain chicken, beef, or liver flavors.
Are There Benefits to Rawhide
Dogs absolutely need to chew – blame it on their instincts. Some dogs tend to chew more than others, but generally dogs chew to help relieve boredom or anxiety. Puppies can benefit from the longevity of rawhide as it’s a great alternative to your favorite pair of shoes.
Rawhide can also help keep your dogs’ teeth clean, jaws strong, and breath fresher. Pups that regularly chew on rawhide have less dental problems like plaque or tartar than those that don’t.
What Are the Risks?
Although there are some benefits to rawhide, there are also risks associated with this treat. If your dog doesn’t consume a lot of rawhide, the risk should be relatively small. But, even though the risks are small, they shouldn’t be ignored.
The most common risks associated with rawhide include contamination, digestion problems, and choking. Contamination can occur since rawhide may contain small amounts of toxic chemicals. Salmonella or E. coli contamination is also possible.
Dogs may be allergic to rawhide and can develop digestive issues such as diarrhea or vomiting. One of the main risks of rawhide, though, is choking. Not all dogs chew slowly and break off the treat into small pieces. Dogs can break off and swallow large pieces of rawhide where it can get stuck in their esophagus or other parts of the body. Surgery may even be necessary if the piece is lodged in the stomach or intestines. If left untreated, it could lead to death.
Signs of digestive irritation, bacterial contamination, or a blockage include gagging, constant swallowing, vomiting, regurgitation, diarrhea, fever, lethargy, pain, or a refusal to eat.
How to Protect Your Dog
If you choose to let your pup chew on rawhide, there are certain precautions you can take to ensure they stay safe. For starters, make sure to completely wash your hands after handling rawhide. And, have children and other family members with illnesses or immune system issues avoid it completely.
Check with your vet on how much rawhide is safe to give to your dog. Generally speaking, the smaller the dog, the smaller the chews. Also, be sure to separate your pup from other pets to avoid resource guarding encounters and an accidental swallow.
Above all, make sure your dog is completely supervised when they are chewing rawhide. If you notice them trying to take large bites or swallow it whole, take the treat away immediately.
Dogs who have a history of stomach issues or diarrhea should avoid rawhide completely as it could further the problems.
If your dog is chewing out of boredom, why not provide some daytime relief with a dog walker? For Your Spot provides daytime dog walking services to help your pup release some of that pent up energy – and help prevent them from ruining your favorite pair of shoes. Learn more about our services here.