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Should Your Dog Chew Popular Rawhide Products?

Our dogs love to chew!
Nothing relaxes them and indulges their natural need to chew than a bone! It’s also Nature’s way of cleaning their teeth.

But when it comes to giving your dog the right bone, there’s more than just what meets the eye!

We want our dogs to be happy and for most dogs, that means a yummy treat or bone to chew! But that chew product needs to be SAFE!

Despite their popularity, rawhide products are not safe for any dog! In fact, these rawhide products are TOXIC to your dog’s health and well-being!

  1. Rawhide is not “raw,” a bone or even from the meat industry!
  2. Rawhide is a by-product of the leather
  3. Rawhide is basically unusable, leftover waste that has very little commercial value (unlike the top grain layer).
  4. Most rawhide is produced outside the United States where there’s even less oversight and safety regulations.

 “A rawhide stick is not the by-product of the beef industry nor is it made of dehydrated meat. Rather, rawhide is the by-product of the “leather industry,” so theoretically it is a leather chew.”
Rodney Habib, Pet Nutrition Blogger

 Keep reading to learn why a simple rawhide treat may send your beloved canine to the ER and worse!

What REALLY Happens Behind Rawhide Products

Do you know what goes into creating “rawhide” treats for your dog? Rawhide is not as “natural” as it sounds. In fact, there are a lot of steps to make this so-called “perfect chew treat” as illustrated below by Rodney Habib.

  • Chemical preservation (so the hides don’t spoil before they reach the tannery) with sodium benzoate which may cause harmful health effects (and is a known anti-corrosive agent).
  • Chemical cleansing of ash-lye solution or sodium sulfide liming to strip all the hair and fat from the hide.
  • Washed and whitened using a solution of hydrogen peroxide and/or bleach; also helps removes the smell of rotten leather. Other chemicals may also be used if bleach isn’t strong enough.
  • Basted, smoked and painted with artificial dyes and flavors (including Red #40 a known carcinogen (cancer-causing agent)).

What They Don’t Tell You

According to the Dogs Naturally Magazine, when rawhides have been tested, the following dangerous agents have been detected:

  • Lead & Arsenic
  • Mercury
  • Chromium salts
  • Formaldehyde

But wait, that’s still not the whole story you need to know.

There’s More!

Whether a rawhide product label lists the potential dangers from rawhide chews or not, below is what you need to know.

Rawhide can:

  • Be contaminated with Salmonella or E. coli.
  • Pose choking hazards.
  • Break canine teeth and jaws.
  • Shatter into sharp fragments that may tear/rip the mouth, stomach and intestines.
  • Cause long-lasting gastrointestinal issues because rawhide can last for months in the stomach.
  • Swell and create life-threatening blockages (requiring emergency surgery) in the:
    • Esophagus;
    • Digestive tract (stomach and intestines); and even
    • Bowel!
  • Pose digestibility issues from dog to dog because rawhides are NOT easily digested.
  • Produce allergic reactions to the ingredients and chemicals used to make the product.

“The most common problem with rawhide occurs when large pieces are swallowed. Rawhide is not very digestible, so it can irritate or cause blockages within the digestive tract.”
Dr. Jennifer Coates, Vet Expert, Chewy

Be Safe Rather than Sorry!

Giving in to your dog’s love of chewing doesn’t have to be dangerous or a treat full of chemicals! There are safer products on the market including:

  • Beef Knuckle Bones and Kneecaps
  • Bully Sticks (traditional or braided to last longer)
  • Busy Buddy Twists
  • Cow Ears, Cheeks and Trachea
  • Deer and Elk Antlers
  • Himalayan Chews (made from yak’s milk)
  • Lamb Ears
  • Raw Bones or our slow-baked BarkNBig bones
  • Scapulas (shoulder blades)
  • Etta Says No-Hide Chews

Remember, your dog is depending on you to protect them!  Drop by and check out our rawhide alternatives!


REGARDLESS of which chew treat you offer your dog, always supervise them when they are chewing to protect them from accidental choking or injury!


Need help choosing the perfect chew treat for YOUR dog?

Come visit our Ken Caryl Pet Spa for an assortment of pet goodies, toys and SAFE CHEW TREATS for your precious canines!

Where WE Love on YOUR Pets!

Need grooming for your pet?
Call us today at (720) 981-7387 for an appointment!

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