Rawhide is one of the most popular chew treats on the market, but does that mean it is safe for your dog? Too often, owners believe this treat is harmless, not realizing there are dangers of rawhide for dogs. And while you may have heard horror stories from fellow doggie parents who bought their pup the wrong type of rawhide or experienced problems due to inadequate quality control and manufacturing practices, it is crucial to understand the potential risks associated with this chewy treat. So to ensure you are making the best choice for your pup, read on to learn the potential dangers of this common ingredient.
What Are Rawhide Dog Treats Made From?
If you’ve ever given your pup a rawhide dog treat, you may have wondered exactly what it is that they’re chewing on. Rawhide is made from the inner layer of cow or horse hides, which are cleaned and cut into strips before being pressed and shaped into various dog chew shapes.
The process of making rawhide treats involves removing the hair and fat from the hides, then treating them with chemicals to make them easier to work with.
Oftentimes, these rawhide chews are also treated with flavorings, like chicken or beef, to help make them more appealing to your pup. Unfortunately, some added flavorings can be dangerous when ingested in large amounts.
Potential Dangers Of Rawhide For Dogs
Across pet stores and online shops, shoppers see rawhide chews as a natural treat that helps keep teeth clean. But while they may help with dental health, rawhide also has some potential risks associated with it. Here are a few that you should be aware of:
Rawhide chews can present a serious choking hazard for dogs, especially if the dog is an aggressive chewer or likes to swallow large pieces without properly breaking them down. When dogs chew on rawhide, small pieces can break off and become lodged in their throats, cutting off their air supply and causing choking.
If a dog is choking on a piece of rawhide, it’s important to act quickly. Signs of choking in dogs include coughing, gagging, pawing at the mouth, and difficulty breathing. Dog owners should try to remove the obstruction by gently pulling on the dog’s tongue or performing the Heimlich maneuver. In severe cases, it may be necessary to take the dog to an emergency veterinarian for treatment.
Rawhide chews can also cause intestinal blockages in dogs, which can be a severe and potentially life-threatening condition. This is because rawhide can be difficult for dogs to digest, especially if they swallow large pieces that get stuck in their intestines. When this happens, the blockage can prevent food and other waste from passing through the digestive system, leading to severe pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
If a dog is showing signs of intestinal blockage, such as vomiting or a lack of bowel movements, it’s essential to seek veterinary care immediately. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the blockage and prevent further damage to the dog’s digestive system. To prevent intestinal blockages, dog owners should monitor their pets while they chew on rawhide and discard any pieces that are small enough to be swallowed whole.
Another potential danger of rawhide for dogs is the risk of chemical contamination from the manufacturing process. While most pet stores and online retailers only sell rawhide chews made with safe, non-toxic chemicals, some companies use potentially dangerous additives in their products. These can include formaldehyde, used to make the chews stronger and more durable, and various colorings that can be toxic when ingested.
To ensure that your pup is only chewing on safe rawhide treats, it’s important to read labels carefully and opt for products made with all-natural ingredients. Additionally, it’s a good idea to check out the company behind the product and read reviews from other pet owners to ensure their rawhide chews are safe for consumption.
Similarly to chemical contamination, rawhide chews can also be contaminated with various kinds of bacteria that can make dogs sick. This is especially true if the product was not treated properly during the manufacturing process or stored in favorable conditions for bacterial growth. Bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella, and staphylococcus can lead to gastrointestinal issues in dogs, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
To reduce the risk of bacterial contamination, it’s essential to buy rawhide chews from reputable pet stores and online retailers that only sell products made in approved facilities. Additionally, dog owners should discard any chews that look contaminated or discolored and avoid giving their pups too many treats per day.
While often labeled as a dental chew, rawhide can actually damage a dog’s teeth. This is because the chews are hard and can cause abrasions on the surface of the enamel if chewed too aggressively or for too long. Additionally, large pieces of rawhide can become stuck between the canine teeth, leading to further damage and discomfort.
To protect a dog’s teeth from rawhide chews, it’s important to choose the right size and shape for their breed and monitor them while they chew. If a chew seems too large or hard for your pup, it may be a good idea to discard it in favor of something softer that won’t cause any damage.
Alternative Chew Options
With all those potential dangers, it may be best to avoid rawhide chews altogether. Fortunately, there are plenty of safer alternatives that can provide your pup with the same benefits as rawhide without any of the risks. Some good options include:
• Natural bones from grass-fed animals, such as beef knuckle bones or lamb femurs
• Edible chews made from all-natural ingredients, such as sweet potato or pumpkin
• Rubber chew toys designed to be safe and durable
• Chew sticks made from wood or hemp
By opting for one of these alternatives, you can reduce the risk of contamination and keep your pup’s teeth healthy while they enjoy their favorite treats.
Be Aware Of The Dangers Of Rawhide For Dogs!
Rawhide chews can be a great way to keep your pup entertained, but they can also pose some serious health risks if not handled properly. To ensure that your pup stays safe while enjoying their favorite snacks, it’s important to opt for products made with all-natural ingredients and check labels carefully for any potential contaminants. Additionally, it’s a good idea to look for alternative chew options that can provide the same benefits without any of the risks. With a bit of research and caution, you can guard your pup against the dangers of rawhide and ensure that they stay healthy and happy.