Is Rawhide Safe? The crazy truth about rawhide that you NEED to know


dog with huge bone
dog eating rawhide

Whenever I speak to another dog I know I always seem to get the same question. Is rawhide safe? Well, I certainly know that when my dog (Bella) first got introduced to rawhide it wasn’t a great experience. I actually came in one day from work to find my dog choking on a large chunk of Rawhide. Let me explain…

Hi, my names Rachael and today Im going to be sharing my answer as to whether Rawhide is actually safe for your dog. I have personally tested rawhide with my dogs and the results were mixed as to how it went fo reach of them.

You may find that this works out the same way for you, but first, let’s go through a few reasons why you would want to feed your dog rawhide in the first place.

What is rawhide?

Rawhide is a hide or animal skin that’s very similar to parchment but much lighter in color than leather. Rawhide is a hide that hasn’t been exposed to tanning and can come from animals such as horse, elk, buffalo, deer & cattle. In most cases, you’ll find that rawhide will be prepared by removing the fur meat and fat before storing on shelves.

Is rawhide safe?

I never too long got introduced to it when I started giving it to my dog. My puppy absolutely loved the stuff.  She would sit with it for hours upon end and it would keep her content for a majority of the day.

Little did I know that it could break off into chunks and potentially cause a lot of harm. And my husband, well his head is up in the clouds a lot of the time as I don’t know how he didn’t see her choking whilst he was in his office all day. So after doing some research, I found out that rawhide is made out of the Inner layer of cow and horse Hides.

Pros
  • A Great treat which is good to use as a reward for good behavior
  • Keeps dog’s occupied for hours upon end
  • It can help with natural Instinct to chew as well as keeping your dog’s teeth in good order
  • Provides a great alternative to your dog chewing on furniture, shoes or anything else left around the house
  • Good for dogs gums and teeth (dental care)
Cons
  • Can be dangerous and break off causing your dog to choke
  • It can cause digestive blockage
  • It can cause gastrointestinal problems
  • Some rawhides contain deadly poisons
  • Some rawhides contain the skin from dogs

This is where the problems start to pop up. Rawhide is easy to break into chunks. So when you have a dog like mine who loves to simply tear things up. It can be quite difficult to feed them something along the lines of rawhide.

What happened with my dog was…. When I was out at work my pup (Bella) had managed to break up the rawhide into large chunks which can then be dangerous to dogs. She then attempted to swallow a whole chunk ni one go! big problems…This then caused it to get stuck in her throat causing her to start choking.

The story off rawhide with me

I simply think God must have been with me that day as I managed to come in just in time. A I saw her choking I quickly ran towards her and pulled the rawhide out with my bare fingers. When I got to the vet’s they explain that this was one of the most dangerous ways of removing a blockage in the throat. To be honest, I couldn’t have cared less, as in me as I saved my puppy’s life.

It doesn’t stop there, shortly after I noticed that she had a bit of irritation in the stomach which cause there to have skeptical for the next few days. When I spoke to the vets they simply told me that this was ok and her stomach could just be adjusting to the new food. after asking whether she would still be ok to eat rawhide, the vet told me it would be ok as long as she is supervised whilst eating it. So I decided to give it a second try!

save money

How much does rawhide cost?

As it was reasonably priced, and my dog seems to absolutely love it, I thought it was best to continue feeding it t her. But then I came across an article online, that said it’s also a risk to humans through contamination of bacteria on the chews.

So decided to look for a few ways to reduce the risk of any of this going wrong again.

How to reduce the risk with Rawhide?

But as you can imagine I decided to do a bit of homework on some tips that I can share with you on reducing the risk with rawhide. Here’s what I found:

  • You should supervise your dog whilst eating any type of foods that can cause potential blockages
  • Take the precaution of where you buy the rawhide from
  • Ensure that the rawhide size does never get small enough for your dog to swallow
  • If it gets too small, then take it away
  • Or just used alternative products to rawhide

Just make sure to do a bit of homework before you go out and buy it. As you may experience some of the potential problems.  but still to decide to continue to feed it to your dog. It sounds silly, but it keeps them so well occupied and they seem to absolutely love the stuff.

That’s why I made an informed decision to keep feeding it to my dog. But you may need to know if your rawhide is good for your specific dog. So in the next section, I give you a few tips on how to find that out.

dog with huge bone

How to know if rawhide is ok for your dog?

Well like with most common questions the answer to this is simply to try it out. But going off previous experiences with your dog, then you may be able to identify whether they will be good with foods they can choke on.

Think back to a time when you feed your dog something similar to rawhide and how they responded to eating it. Also, ask yourself the question of if your dog is the type to chew things and sit with it for hours on end.  

What type of dog do you have?

Or if they’re the type of dog just simply want to tear it apart and get straight into the middle. I should have put two and two together when I fed it to my dog. Although my husband should have been supervising whilst I was out at work.

But hey, we can all look at the past and regret things. Or we can take it on the chest as a learning lesson and use it as a way to avoid problems in the future. And that’s exactly what I decided to do.

What are some rawhide alternatives?

Lucky for you, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve done my due diligence in finding the best alternative treats to rawhide for you & your dog. The best part is that they’re all natural, so here’s a list:

  • Antlers ( Deer and Elk antlers are great)
  • Sweet potato chews
  • Frozen carrots
  • Large raw bones from animals such as (cows & bison) preferably femur bone
  • Pig Ears
  • Himalayan chews (if you can find them)

For sure I just want to say now that if you come across some Himalayan chews then make sure to give me a shout as I find it very difficult to get hold of these.

Conclusion

Just to wrap it Up,  rawhide is great for some dogs whilst others it can be a problem for. The best way to find out if it is a good fit for you and your pet is to simply try it out. Make sure that the rawhide never gets too small and always supervise a dog whilst it eating it. I hope that answers the question of “is rawhide safe” for your dog. 

Related Post: Best foods for selective eaters, Best dog food for large dogs

Rachael Summers

Rachael Summers is the Founder and Senior Editor at Retrievers R Us. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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