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Rawhide Chews | Are We Taking Our Dog’s Health for Granted?

Rawhide Chews, Are We Taking Our Dogs' Health for Granted?

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We’re rawhide chew converts.  I’ve written about our switch from rawhide chews to carrots in the past, but was just at the pet store watching a woman weigh her rawhide chew options.  I wanted to say something, but my insecurity piped up with “it’s none of your business.”  That’s when the Universe stepped in and the woman turned to me to ask which ones I purchase.

“We don’t give our dogs rawhide chews anymore.  I write a blog about dogs and have to do a lot of research and found horror stories of the damage they can do to dogs.  We were lucky and I didn’t want to press our luck so we give our dogs carrots.  The carrots are healthy and our dogs love them.”

She purchased her rawhide chews, but I’m excited that I at least shared that information.  Maybe this will be the last purchase that she makes.

Why I fed our dogs rawhide chews…

  • For 30 minutes of peace.
  • Rawhide cleans their teeth.
  • Rawhide satisfies their urge to chew.
  • They liked them.

Why I stopped feeding our dogs rawhide chews…

  • Rodrigo had an incident with a rawhide that scared me
  • Research for Keep the Tail Wagging
  • Fear that we would be one of the horror stories you hear about
  • Desire to avoid high veterinarian bills should we become that horror story
  • When I looked at a lot of the packages, I found that most weren’t made in the US
  • When I took a close look at the rawhide chews, I found that they were put together with glue; what other chemicals are used?
“Rawhide chews, especially those manufactured outside the U.S., which are often advertised as ‘all natural,’ are usually anything but. And they can pose a number of health problems for dogs, including choking, vomiting, diarrhea, exposure to chemical residues, salmonella poisoning and stomach torsion.” ~ Dr. Becker, Healthy Pets, Top 20 Causes of Pet Poisoning in 2011

What we feed them now…

  • Recreational bones (under supervision) – beef knee caps, beef knuckle bones
  • Raw meaty bones (under supervision) – duck necks, turkey necks
  • Bully sticks (when J isn’t home) – shop PawStruck.com for the best deals
  • The Honest Kitchen Beams – catfish skin chews
  • Smoked duck feet (or raw duck feet) – a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin for joints
  • Himalayan dog chews – these last FOREVER and they’re all natural

For those of you who still buy rawhide chews…

I’m certain that the majority of dogs who are given rawhide chews have no issues; not because they’re still on the market (we know that doesn’t mean anything given the chicken jerky drama), but because I’m convinced that ignorance is bliss.  Rodrigo and Sydney had rawhide chews for the first 2 years of their life with no issues.

Until there was an issue.

I don’t write these posts to shame a dog owner into changing or to tell them that they’re wrong.  Instead, I share what I’m learning so that when a dog owner is curious about giving their dog something different, something better, they have some ideas.

13 Comments

  1. I’ve seen my fair share of rawhides removed from a dog’s intestines which is why I choose not to give them to my dogs. I do think some are safer than others but I also believe a dog should always be supervised when chewing on them.

    Reply
    • I loved rawhide chews, because they provide us with hours of peace, but so does a long walk and with the walk, I burn some calories too.

      I’ve lost 7 pounds since September 5th – LOL

      Reply
      • 7 pounds! That is fantastic! Congratulations!

        Reply
  2. Yeah, not a fan of rawhides. Unfortunately, a carrot will last JD about 5 secs, a bully stick maybe 2 mins LOL Thinking about trying the antlers.

    Reply
    • Wouldn’t it be nice if carrots lasted longer. Bully sticks last Blue forever, Rodrigo demolishes them in minutes. Sydney likes to hoard hers a little.

      We were giving our dogs antlers, because they’re so strong, but they were able to chew through them. Antlers are great for Sydney, because she’s not such an aggressive chewer. Rodrigo and Blue can’t have them anymore.

      Reply
  3. Rita won’t eat a carrot! Darn her… I tried getting her these sweet potato “rawhides” instead, but she wasn’t keen on those either.

    I just did a post on something similar the other day – the link’s below

    My post was based on an article in Whole Dog Journal – there’s a link to the article in my post – about the best rawhides for your dog. I figured if WDJ said they were ok (also my vet said they were – although I don’t always trust him for nutrition/eating related stuff….) then it was OK to give them to her. But only a very specific kind, and I do always supervise her with them. I take them away when they get small. The one she has now is SO huge (pics in my post) that it will be a long time before it’s small enough to take away.

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing, Jackie!

      I’m always looking for something to keep our dogs occupied :)

      Reply
  4. I never give my doggies rawhide! Thanks for this post! I will definitely share it!

    I do, however, give them the Greenies. Have you run into any bad information on those??

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Erin
      I’ve only heard good things about Greenies. We give them to our dogs every now and then. They enjoy them and I love that they’re cleaning teeth and freshening breath :)

      Kimberly

      Reply
  5. Heidi is a HUGELY aggressive chewer and she loves her rawhides. I’m careful about the kind I buy, and she’s never had a problem with them. As a bonus, every vet she’s ever seen has commented that she has fantastic teeth. But if she was prone to choking, or had stomach or immune system issues, I’d go out of my way to find something different for her.

    Reply
    • Jackie received the go ahead on a type of rawhide chew from her veterinarian (http://poochsmooches.blogspot.com/2012/11/just-chew-it.html) and I would love to check these out to see what I can learn. If I can find something safe that satisfies their need to chew, then I’ll go for it!

      Kimberly

      Reply
  6. Oh my goodness – this is so timely. We give our dogs rawhides all the time, for the ‘peace factor’. My husband was just about to go out to buy some more and then I clicked open this post! :) Unfortunately, I don’t have any good alternatives at the moment. They get walked every day during the day, but I can’t walk them in the evenings again, and that is the time they’re at their busiest. Carrots work for Charlie but Hannah turns her nose up at them. We used to have some good luck with ‘hooves’ – literally, the shell of a hoof (I don’t know if I’m explaining this properly). Our pet stores stock these hooves, they are zero calorie for the dogs and they spend ages chewing them. We might go back to giving them those. Deer antlers are great but I found my dogs got bored of chewing them. Hmm, I have some thinking to do :)

    Reply
    • We still give our dogs rawhide chews from time to time and watch them. When they chew them down to nearly nothing (probably 3″ left), we dispose of them. Our vet okayed them under supervision only. Our dogs bite through antlers so it makes me nervous that they’ll break a tooth. Compressed rawhide is great too; they go through it faster, but it gives me at least 5 minutes.

      My concern over rawhide are the smaller ones that our dogs can choke on – so we buy HUGE ones and, like I said, they can only have them if a human is in the room.

      Kimberly

      Reply

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