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The Dangers of Rawhide for Dogs


It is natural for all dogs and especially puppies to chew – that’s one of the ways they explore and learn. Rawhide is one of the most common items given to dogs to chew but beware as it is also the most dangerous.

What is Rawhide?

  • Rawhide is the tough inner layer of bull, cow, water buffalo and horsehides – a by-product of the meat industry
  • The flesh side is scraped clean of all remaining meat, membrane, fat, etc.
  • The hair is removed in either an Ash-Lye solution or a Lime solution. The Lime solution is the quickest and most often utilized by manufacturers. This process is highly caustic but the most efficient for mass production
  • To remove all traces of the lime solution and to sanitize the rawhide product, commercial makers then rinse the hides in a bleach solution

Why is Rawhide Dangerous?

  • Rawhide can swell up to four times its original size in your dog’s stomach, risking the formation of life threatening blockages
  • Dogs can and will chew off and swallow large pieces of rawhide which can get stuck in their esophagus, stomach or intestines. This often requires surgical removal
  • Rawhide is not considered a food item and is therefore not covered by any labeling, processing or content laws
  • Rawhide contains chemical preservatives and has been treated with other chemicals in processing
  • Arsenic, ethoxyquin, formaldehyde and other chemicals such as BHA and BHT are commonly used as preservatives
  • Other dangerous additives can include antibiotics, lead and insecticides
  • Rawhide chews can cause acute pancreatitis, which can vary from mild gastrointestinal upset to collapse and death

So What Should I Give My Dog to Chew?

The most common and much healthier alternative to rawhide is ‘beef chews’, because:

  • They have no preservatives – even natural preservatives such as salt or smoke that are not beneficial to the health of your dog
  • They are fat free – many other chews are high in fat and a low fat diet for your pet will contribute to the wellness of your dog
  • They don’t splinter like some bones may – which can damage your dog’s gums or teeth and may be fatal to puppies or older dogs
  • They also have high nutritional value and are completely digestible if swallowed
  • Other things your dog can chew safely are real bones, either smoked or raw, or nylon chews which come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, flavours and densities

A Pet Planet Ambassador can help you find exactly the chew treat your dog will love from the wide variety of options we carry. Here are just a few to consider:

Smoked Bones are on sale every Tuesday at your local Pet Planet. In addition to being a healthy, long lasting snack, they help keep your dog’s teeth clean.

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