Is Rawhide Bad for Dogs?
28 February 2022 — Dogs
Chewing is a natural and essential need for dogs, particularly for young dogs. While chewing helps puppies with teething, it also helps to relieve anxiety, burn energy, and maintain healthy teeth and gums. Rawhide treats have long been considered the most efficient way to care for your dog’s oral health, but is it really?
This article will help you better understand what rawhide treats are made of and the damages they can cause to your furriend. You will also learn about healthy alternatives to rawhide!
What Are Rawhide Treats for Dogs Made of?
First, it’s important to mention that rawhide treats are not by-products of the beef industry, nor are they made of dehydrated meat. They are actually by-products of the leather industry. That’s right, you read that well! The outer layer of animal skin is used in the leather industry to make car seats, shoes and handbags, while the outer layer is used to make dog treats and other products such as glue and gelatin.
Animal skin used to make rawhide treats go through several processing stages, including tanning, sanitization, embellishment, and preservation. During these different stages, the animal skin comes in contact with a lot of toxic products such as a highly toxic ash solution of sodium sulfide to melt the hair and fat that are still stuck to the skin. The white rawhide treats may also be soaked in a solution of titanium oxide to make their white color even brighter. Furthermore, tests done on rawhide revealed the presence of many other chemical products like lead, arsenic, mercury, chromium salt and formaldehyde.
As though that was not enough, it is crucial to know that rawhide is not considered food and thus it is not regulated by any labeling, processing, or product composition laws.
What Are the Dangers Associated with Rawhide?
Now that you know what rawhide treats are made of, you may be wondering what happens once your dog ingests them. It’s important to know that regardless of its size, once ingested, rawhide is not easily digestible. Also, if your dog swallows big pieces, these can get stuck in their esophagus or another part of their digestive tract. Sometimes, abdominal surgery may be necessary to remove the pieces from the stomach or the intestines. If a blockage is not addressed quickly, it can lead to death.
Here’s renowned veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker’s take on the matter: “Rawhide chews start out hard, but as your dog works the chew it becomes softer, and eventually, he can unknot the knots on each end and the chew takes on the consistency of a slimy piece of taffy or bubble gum. And by that time your dog cannot stop working it — it becomes almost addictive. At this point, there’s no longer any dental benefit to the chew because it has turned soft and gooey, and, in fact, it has become a choking and intestinal obstruction hazard.”
A Healthy Alternative to Rawhide Treats for Dogs
Fortunately, there is a wide array of alternatives to rawhide available on the market. Opt for natural treats that are processed as little as possible such as deer antlers, dried meat, bully sticks, or cheese sticks for dogs. How long these products will last varies and depends on many factors, like your dog’s personality and breed.
As for us, we offer Better Than Rawhide Zoë treats for dogs, which are made from real chicken and tapioca. In addition to being more digestible than rawhide because they are soft and flexible, Better Than Rawhide Zoë bones and twists do not pose a choking hazard.
In conclusion, there is a multitude of dog treats available on the market. Make sure to always read the ingredient list carefully. However, no treat is completely safe, which means you should always supervise your furry friend when they chew a treat. Also, make sure to never leave a treat in your dog’s cage without supervision.
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