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

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

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…

  • 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…

Carrots (which we pick up for less than $3 at Costco) and, occasionally, Moozles by Merrick.

What about bully sticks?

Johan put the kybosh on bully sticks, because of the smell and they never lasted long enough, so multiple bully sticks were devoured (adding to Sydney’s waistline), and we’re excited that carrots are so popular with the dogs.  We tried raw bones, but by the time we reached the third bag, Rodrigo and Sydney gave them back to us on the hardwoods.  Thanks, guys.  And the third alternative to rawhide chews was too hard for our dogs teeth and we were worried about dental issues.  Arrggghhhhh!!!!!

The bonus of not feeding our dogs rawhide chews…

Since rawhide chews, bully sticks and raw bones are off the menu, I had to return to longer walks with the dogs.  The nap after their walks gave me the peace that I needed to work on Keep the Tail Wagging, the dogs lost weight, and BONUS, I lost some weight too.


For those of you who still buy rawhide chews…

Although we’ve made the choice not to feed our dogs rawhide chews, I spoke with a pet professional who shared that they’re safer, in his opinion, than bones (and he’s not alone in this opinion)…

“In general the vast majority of dogs will have no problems. They are good for teeth cleaning and dogs love them.

However, if a dog (or owner) has a compromised immune system any meat products that are raw could be a problem. As an example Certified Therapy dogs are not allowed in hospitals and can lose their certification if they eat raw food due to a potential threat (although there is no evidence that I know of to date that has proven this.)

The bones are the safest when raw on the first day and with fresh marrow. Bone marrow is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and should be removed after an hour or two. I normally would give my dogs frozen bones so that I would allow them the work at the marrow for a longer time.

The fresh raw bone itself is normally safe and should not splinter. It should be somewhat digestible in small amounts in the dog’s stomach. Older dry bones or cooked bones will splinter and are not digestible and should be avoided.” ~ Bob Molloy, co-founder and co-owner of Bark Place in Boston, a one-stop shop for premiere-quality products & services for pets, including 100% holistic nutritional food items.

So it looks like for some, the jury is still out.


How do you feel about rawhide chews?  If you’ve found an alternative that your dogs enjoy, please SHARE!


  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.
    Jen recently published..Happy Birthday Sherman. Here Is What I WishMy Profile

    • 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

    • 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.

  2. 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.
    Jackie Bouchard recently published..Just Chew ItMy Profile

  3. 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!

    • 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 :)


  4. 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.
    Audra recently published..This just in – The light is not a train!! News at 11.My Profile

  5. 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 :)
    Human Rescues Dog recently published..5 Dog Games To Make Your Pooch A GeniusMy Profile

    • 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 recently published..The Fur Mom is Switching to a Raw Food Diet for DogsMy Profile


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