It’s one of the most widely available chews on the market. It’s also one of the most hotly debated chews out there, due to safety concerns. So, what IS rawhide, and what’s the matter with it?
Rawhide is the inner hide or skin of a cow, or other animal used for leather products, which is treated and formed into a twist or bone-shaped chew for a dog. Many people believe that rawhides are good for cleaning dogs’ teeth. People also believe that they are good for teething puppies and that rawhides are great at keeping dogs occupied for hours. But other people think that the risks may outweigh the benefits.
During processing, the hide is typically bleached or treated with toxic chemicals and artificial preservatives. Artificial coloring and flavoring and glue are often used to make the “bone” look and taste more appealing.
The hard or brittle consistency of certain rawhides can cut dogs’ mouths or even break teeth. If the chew is the wrong size for the dog, it could be a choking hazard. As dogs chew the hide, it may become a gooey substance which your dog might swallow. Alternatively, they could swallow large chunks of the chew, which are indigestible, causing upset stomach, diarrhea, or even death. Rawhide bones may even contain toxic and poisonous substances such as formaldehyde, mercury, arsenic, and lead! Scary stuff.
Next time you’re shopping for chews, be sure to weigh the pros and cons and consider your pup’s chewing habits and health sensitivities. Remember that there are plenty of other treats and chews to help clean teeth and satisfy the chewing urge.