Protect Your Furry Friend from the Dangers of Rawhide and Other Potentially Harmful Treats

Rawhide chews and bones—ubiquitous and seemingly harmless—are often a staple in every dog owner’s arsenal of treats. After all, they keep our canine companions busy and entertained, all while providing some dental benefits. However, beneath the surface, there’s a dark truth about these popular pet snacks that every dog owner should know.

Dog treat safety is crucial for your pet's well-being.

Photo: Pexels
Dog treat safety is crucial for your pet’s well-being.

Unveiling the Rawhide’s Dark Side

What is Rawhide, Anyway?

Before we delve into the dangers, let’s understand what rawhide really is. Rawhide is essentially the inner layer of cow or horse hides, stripped of hair and cleaned.

The process of transforming these hides into those familiar chew treats involves soaking them in chemicals, including toxic substances like sodium sulfide, Doglistener reports. The hides are then washed, whitened, and often flavored to make them more appealing to dogs. It’s essential to recognize that rawhide is neither classified as human food nor pet food, Furchild Pet Nutrition reports which means that it operates in a regulatory gray area, leaving the door open to potential hazards.

Rawhide chews can pose choking hazards for dogs.

Photo: Pexels
Rawhide chews can pose choking hazards for dogs.

The Hidden Risks

Choking Hazard

Rawhide’s soft and stringy nature makes it a choking hazard for dogs. As WebMD reports, pieces can break off as dogs chew on these treats, creating a potentially life-threatening situation. When ingested, these small pieces can become lodged in the throat or esophagus, blocking the airway and causing immense distress.

Contamination and Digestive Issues

Another significant concern is contamination. Rawhide is made from animal skins, making it susceptible to bacterial contamination, including salmonella, reports Ruff Start Rescue. Both pets and their human companions can contract this bacteria from rawhide, exposing everyone to potential health risks. Moreover, if a dog successfully swallows a piece of rawhide, it can cause gastrointestinal distress, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, and even pancreatitis, PetHelpful reports.

Intestinal Blockage

Rawhide’s indigestible nature can lead to a more severe issue—intestinal blockage. When swallowed, rawhide can swell up in the stomach or intestine, causing potentially life-threatening obstructions, Nature Gnaws reports. Surgical intervention may be required to remove the blockage.

Rawhide is often treated with toxic chemicals.

Photo: Pexels
Rawhide is often treated with toxic chemicals.

Choosing Safe Alternatives

Bully Sticks

Opting for safer alternatives is crucial in ensuring your dog’s safety and well-being. Bully sticks, made from dried bull pizzles, offer a satisfying chewing experience without the risks of choking or indigestion. However, they still pose a bacterial concern, are high in calories, and can be messy

Antlers

Natural antlers from elk or deer are a durable and odor-free choice. They not only keep your dog’s teeth clean but also minimize potential health risks.

Safe alternatives to rawhide include bully sticks and antlers.

Photo: Pexels
Safe alternatives to rawhide include bully sticks and antlers.

Kongs and Rubber Chews

Rubber chew toys like Kongs offer hours of entertainment and mental stimulation. These indestructible toys are a safe option for your pup to enjoy without concerns about choking or digestion.

Yak/Himalayan Chews

Considered one of the best chewing options, these chews are all-natural, free from bacteria, and provide a satisfying texture for your dog. Plus, they are always available from The Animal Rescue Site.

Yak/Himalayan chews are all-natural and safe.

Photo: Pexels
Yak/Himalayan chews are all-natural and safe.

Frozen Treats

DIY frozen treats, made from peanut butter or broth, keep your dog cool and occupied, especially during warmer months^7.

Dental Chews and Treats

Look for vet-recommended dental chews and treats, like those available from The Animal Rescue Site, to promote oral health.

Safe alternatives ensure joyful chewing without danger.

Photo: Pexels
Safe alternatives ensure joyful chewing without danger.

A Safer Path Forward

Every dog owner holds the power to choose safe and enjoyable treats for their furry companions. By understanding the hidden risks of rawhide and exploring alternatives, you’re taking a proactive step towards safeguarding your dog’s well-being. Take our pledge and make a commitment prioritizing your pet’s safety for a happier, healthier tomorrow.

Cherished Memories: Celebrate World Pet Memorial Day with Heartfelt Tributes: Click “Next” below!

Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, spending time with his daughters, and coffee.
Whizzco for FAP