Why Should Dogs Not Eat Rawhide

The inner layer of cow or horse hides is where rawhide snacks are made. The hides are cleaned, chopped, or ground throughout production. Then they are formed into a variety of shaped and sized chewable dog treats. Some rawhide treats come flavored with beef, chicken, or liver to make them more enticing to dogs.

2. What advantages does rawhide offer?

All dogs require chewing. It is an innate instinct. Some people even chew for hours each day. Chewing can stimulate your dog and help them feel less anxious. Rawhide bones are a terrific alternative to your leather shoes and the dining room table legs, especially for puppies!

Chewing also helps dogs maintain healthy teeth, strong jaws, and somewhat fresher breath. Dogs who routinely chew on rawhide, other bones, or toys have teeth that are less likely to develop plaque and tartar.

3. Do rawhide dog treats come with any risks?

The dangers are minimal considering how much rawhide dogs consume annually. Risks can, however, be quite serious, so don’t overlook them. Based on the chewing requirements and habits of your dog, weigh the advantages and disadvantages of feeding rawhide.

The most typical rawhide dangers are as follows:

  • Contamination. Rawhide chews can contain traces of hazardous substances, much like pet toys do. Additionally, Salmonella or E. coli contamination is conceivable, just like with other pet (or human) meals. When exposed to these microorganisms on rawhide snacks, even people may be at risk.
  • intestinal irritability Some dogs simply react negatively or allergicly to rawhide or other ingredients used in its production. There may be issues, such as diarrhea, as a result.
  • obstructions or choking Other edible chews, like as rawhide bones, might cause choking and blockages. This poses a considerably greater risk than contamination or stomach discomfort. Large bits of rawhide can become lodged in the esophagus or other areas of the digestive tract if your dog ingests them. A veterinarian might be able to remove these fragments through the throat quite readily, depending on their size and location. However, there are situations when removing them from the stomach or intestines requires abdominal surgery. A blockage can cause death if it isn’t removed.

4. How can I make my dog’s rawhide chews safer?

You can take some measures to make your dog safer if you choose to feed them rawhide. After handling these goodies, make sure to fully wash your hands to reduce your chance of exposure to pollutants. Family members with immune system issues and young children should not interact with them at all.

To keep your dog safe:

  • Inquire with your vet about the appropriate dosage for your dog. The basic rule is that a smaller dog will chew less frequently. Give one at a time, especially at the beginning. After that, watch to observe how your dog’s digestive system reacts for a day.
  • Keep your dog far from other animals so that they can chew in peace. Your dog won’t be as likely to swallow big portions whole if you do it this way. If your dog is highly possessive of its food, doing this can be very crucial.
  • Offer your dog various kinds of rawhide, but only when you can watch and monitor how they are being handled by your dog. Are they taking substantial bites? Are they about to choke or gagging? If so, discard the treat and ask your veterinarian about different varieties of rawhide or chew toys or treats.
  • Once the rawhide chew is tiny enough for your dog to swallow whole, take it away from them. Try asking your dog to sit before rewarding them with a different treat if you are having trouble convincing them to give up their rawhide chew.

Keep an eye out for indications of bacterial contamination, stomach discomfort, or a blockage. If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms, call your veterinarian:

For dogs, are rawhides safe?

There are several reasons why rawhide is hazardous for dogs. The top four dangers related with rawhide include contamination, gastrointestinal distress, and choking danger. The Humane Society and ASPCA both advise against giving rawhide to pets because of these serious issues. Additionally, Petco recently declared that it would stop selling conventional rawhide in its stores.

Although a common dog chew, increasing knowledge about its risks has emerged in recent years. Of all the dog foods available, rawhide poses the greatest risk to health.

Let’s examine rawhide in more detail and see why dog owners ought to refrain from giving their animals this treat.

Does rawhide disintegrate in a dog’s stomach?

Take a look at how the prized outer grain, or leather, is taken to gain an understanding of why rawhide is so heavily treated. This is a step in the labor-intensive, multistep tanning process.

Here’s a quick summary:

  • Fresh from the carcass, the hide is given a chemical treatment for preservation. This will prevent the skin from deteriorating before processing. If you don’t do this, the hide will rot.
  • Hair and fat removal: At the tannery, fat and hair on the underbelly are removed using ash-lye or sodium sulfide lime.
  • More chemicals are used to puff the hide, making it simpler to separate into layers. Let’s only follow the “raw hide layer” to see what happens to this material next as it has already undergone a sizable number of chemical baths.
  • Whitening and bleaching: To get rid of the rotting leather smell and whiten the leather, the inner layer of the hide is washed in bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or chemicals.
  • Prettify: The “rawhide” must be tinted or flavored in some way to make it seem and smell appetizing on the pet store shelf. This frequently entails chemical coatings, such as those made of titanium oxide, sodium benzoate, and recognized carcinogens like FD&C Red 40.

It’s a long trek from a layer of gloppy, stringy fat to a chew that resembles a bone. But it’s no longer “raw hide,” is it?

Your dog’s favorite chewy treat has been soaked in bleach, chemical puffers, ash-lye, preservatives, colors, and flavors.

The risks of rawhide chews don’t stop there, even for those of you who are at ease with the aforementioned.

Because choking and clogged bowels are very real risks, the issues might arise more faster than with a slow, sustained exposure to toxins.

Is Rawhide Digestible?

Your pet will soften and macerate a rawhide chew when they chew on it. Small bits are pulled away once they have sufficiently weakened the main chew, and the dog always swallows them as a reward.

What’s this? That piece is indigestible, passes through the digestive tract without being broken down, and is then expelled in their feces.

Does Rawhide Dissolve in the Stomach?

In the dog’s stomach, rawhide does not dissolve. In actuality, the reverse is true—the rawhide swells.

The risk of intestinal obstruction exists because rawhide is not broken down but rather causes your dog to pass the bits they swallow. This leaves it up to chance whether the dog experiences a small stomach pain or a serious intestinal obstruction.

This is a serious issue. A foreign body in the digestive tract is an extremely serious, possibly fatal issue.

In addition to food being unable to pass through to be digested, a large enough rawhide chunk could harm the gut wall, leading to tissue death and severe sepsis.

The following are signs of this:

  • continual vomiting
  • Not enough energy
  • Weakness
  • Collapse
  • Death

The dog has a better chance of survival if the problem is discovered early, but the diagnostic process and subsequent surgical removal of the offending object are expensive. Serious side effects from the procedure, such as peritonitis, are possible.

How Long Does Rawhide Take to Digest in a Dog?

Unfortunately, rawhide has the ability to be digested, unlike shoe leather, which we both know cannot be.

Apply the same reasoning if you were concerned that the dog had ingested a piece of your shoe as rawhide chews aren’t recommended.

At What Age Can Puppies Have Rawhide?

Yes, chewing is a natural behavior, and yes, giving puppies chews is beneficial. However, rawhide isn’t the solution.

Young kidneys that are still developing are particularly susceptible, and early chemical exposure may harm them.

The Dangers of Rawhide Chews: Choking

A client of mine lost the irreplaceable puppy that served as the last remaining connection to her late daughter due to a rawhide chew.

This cute little bear-dog was discovered dead in the morning. She had choked on a rawhide bone that was left in her bed over night. She must have tried to swallow the knuckle end after chewing the reward in the middle of the night.

Sadly, the fragment was too large to pass through her esophagus and instead became caught in her throat, blocking her windpipe. The dog was unable to breathe and perished from asphyxiation.

Tips to Reduce the Dangers of Rawhide Chews

I’m not trying to be a downer for no reason. Decide for yourself what is best for your dog after doing your research. If you ultimately decide to keep offering your dog rawhide chews, at the very least, do so safely:

  • Purchase rawhide chews made in nations with dependable suppliers and strong processing standards.
  • After handling rawhide chews, wash your hands. You should do this for your own protection to lower your risk of getting the stomach flu or, worse, salmonella or E. coli. For those receiving chemotherapy or with weakened immune systems, this is crucial.
  • Give the dog a chew treat that is the proper size. For instance, avoid giving an adult dog a treat meant for a puppy because they might just try to swallow it whole.
  • When the dog is chewing, always keep an eye on them and take away the treat when you leave the room.
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  • Once the chew is tiny enough for the dog to consume, remove it and discard it.

Listen to this physician list the dangers associated with several dog treats, including rawhide chews:

Rawhide Alternative

Okay, so your dog enjoys chewing on rawhide. Their tail wags when they return from a long walk for a satisfying chew.

All right. You don’t want to deny them a satisfying chew (it is, after all, a natural thing to do). Instead of exposing children to the risks of rawhide chews, why not go with a safer and healthier option?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Vegetables: Vegetables with a crunch or chewy texture, such carrots, green beans, apples, or cabbage stalks, are a good source of nutrients.
  • Nylabones: These sturdy synthetic chew toys are delightful to chew. They break down into palatable rice-sized fragments over time. However, keep in mind that it can happen, and take away the chew before it gets small enough to swallow.
  • There are many different chewable rubber toys available today. Try spreading some peanut butter on the outside to make them even more alluring.
  • Yak chews: These novel chews are manufactured from yak milk, which makes them both delicious and safe. But the same guidelines apply: Take out any little fragments that might be ingested.
  • Puzzle feeders: The classic KONG is a terrific chew toy when covered in peanut butter or filled with wet food.
  • Rice chews: The majority of pet supply stores have a wide selection of chews that can be consumed.
  • Dental chews: Once more, as long as substantial chunks aren’t swallowed whole, these are safe.

The Hidden Dangers of Popular Alternatives

Giving or not to give bones is a very separate debate. In any case, bones are not on my “safe list.”

Deer antlers and hooves are two other preferred substitutes for rawhide. These, however, have a distinct set of issues. The dog’s teeth may suffer severe damage from them.

Due to shattered teeth, several veterinary dental professionals are observing a sharp increase in the number of dogs needing complicated dental extractions.

Happy and Healthy

Chewing comes naturally to everyone. In order to prevent them from ruining soft furnishings and shoes, your dog needs a secure place to express this tendency.

To ensure that your dog’s chewing urge is met in a way that keeps them both happy and healthy, take careful consideration.

Why is rawhide bad for dogs, and what is it?

The chemical processing mentioned above, as well as the possibility of choking or intestinal blockage, are the two main reasons why rawhide is bad for dogs.

Chemicals You can see that there isn’t anything that is “natural” about rawhide for your dog from the description of how it is created above. It is a scrap of useless animal skin that has been dyed, washed, and bathed in numerous hazardous chemicals.

Outside of the US, rawhide treats are typically produced (often in China). You might be possible to discover rawhide chews made in the US that haven’t been chemically treated if you shop carefully. However, rawhide is still harmful to dogs.

Blockage or Choking Rawhide is dangerous for dogs for more reasons than just chemical reasons. Rawhide chews are extremely difficult to digest and frequently cause choking or obstructions in the gastrointestinal tract.

Large pieces of rawhide can become lodged in the esophagus or lower digestive tract if your dog ingests them. Dogs frequently require urgent abdominal surgery to remove foreign objects from the stomach or intestines. These particles can remain in the stomach for months without dissolving or moving through the digestive system because they are so difficult to digest. This may result in digestive issues and eventually serious intestinal blockages or bowel obstructions, which, if left untreated, may be fatal.

Watch Your Dog While Chewing Whatever chew you offer your dog, make sure you’re always present to monitor his chewing. Some dogs are gulpers and may ingest large bits of chew, including bones, resulting in choking and obstruction.

Endoscopy can sometimes be used to remove this kind of obstruction, but surgery may be required if it is too low in the digestive tract. Therefore, visit your veterinarian right away if you believe your dog has ingested a piece of rawhide that may be lodged.

Are you looking for a safer rawhide alternative for your dog?

It’s customary for owners to offer their dogs rawhide treats to chew on, but if you’ve read our most recent blog, you already know that they aren’t always the best choice. Even while there are some dogs for whom rawhides are generally safe and the hazards are minor, the risks are still very real and should not be disregarded. The dangers of using rawhide simply aren’t worth it for some dog owners.

Your dog needs to chew, whether you give it rawhide or not. As a result, it is up to you to locate your dog a safe, wholesome treat to chew on. Here is a list of some rawhide substitutes for dogs from our Levittown veterinary clinic:

#1. Carrots

Large, full-sized carrots can be a terrific option when your dog needs to chew, while small carrots can make a great, healthy dog treat on the road. In addition to being nutrient-rich, carrots are also low in calories, making them a fantastic option for dogs that could stand to drop a few pounds.

#2. Pegetables

Peas, sweet potatoes, and carrots are some of the greatest vegetables for your dog, and Pegetables, which are dental dog chews, can be found in most pet stores. These snacks are simple to digest and devoid of corn, grains, and gluten. Additionally, they can assist with dental cleaning and breath freshening for your dog.

#3. Bully Sticks

The fact that bully sticks don’t include any additives or preservatives made of chemicals makes them a favorite among my dog owners. Bully sticks have a similar extended lifespan, but one drawback is that many of them have an unpleasant stench.

#4. Antlers

In contrast to many other dog chews, antlers from either deer or elk are healthy sources of zinc, calcium, potassium, and manganese. Antlers, however, do have a drawback. They are exceedingly tough, and if your dog chews on them too vigorously, they might break a tooth. No matter which antlers you choose, keep a watchful eye on your dog while they chew them. Elk antlers are a little safer than deer antlers.

#5. Salmon Skin Bones

Bones constructed of salmon skin are exactly what they sound like—salmon skin bones! These bones are excellent for dogs who are finicky about veggies, have allergies or sensitivities to other proteins, or both. Although these treats are great for your dog’s coat, never leave your dog unattended with one. Since they are jerky, your dog may choke if they swallow a piece instead of chewing it.

As you can see, there are a variety of rawhide substitutes for dogs, but it’s important to remember that no chew toy is completely risk-free. Make sure you are always keeping an eye on your dog whenever they are munching on a reward. An untreated obstruction can be fatal, as we highlighted in our last blog, and just because your dog is chewing a rawhide substitute doesn’t mean that there is no risk for choking. To find out more, get in touch with our Levittown animal hospital right away.