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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.


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