Are rawhide chews really that bad for dogs? We’ve always given them to our dogs with no issues but I’ve been hearing that they’re the worst thing you can give your dog! Please help!
Rooting for Rawhides in Garden Oaks
Dear Rooting for Rawhides,
Rawhide chews have been the go-to chewy treat for dogs of all ages for quite some time but recently pet experts have started to speak out against them. It is also very common for vets to warn pet owners about the dangers of this treat. There are several factors that cause rawhides to be potentially dangerous for your pooch:
• Choking hazard: Once your dog swallows a tiny, broken piece of rawhide, that portion can get lodged in her throat, putting your dog in serious danger.
• Digestive blockage: Allowing your pooch to swallow a large piece of rawhide can also endanger her life. Rawhides can expand inside her stomach, putting her at risk of a fatal blockage. It can even wrap around her intestines, causing the same obstruction..
• Toxic chemicals: The process of making rawhide involves chemically separating the outer layer of skin (usually of a cow) from the hide. This process leaves deadly poisons in the chew, including arsenic and formaldehyde.
• Questionable ingredients: An investigation by Humane Society International stated in their report, “In a particularly grisly twist, the skins of brutally slaughtered dogs in Thailand are mixed with other bits of skin to produce rawhide chew toys for pet dogs. Manufacturers told investigators that these chew toys are regularly exported to and sold in U.S. stores.”
So, what are some healthy alternatives to rawhide chews? Experts have several to recommend: “Bully sticks,” (which are the dried achilles tendons of cows) offer hours of chewing and are highly digestible. While they can be expensive, consider cutting the long ones in thirds to extend the “cost-per-chew” ratio.
Carrots have also been a long-enjoyed treat for dogs. The crunchy carrot offers similar teeth-cleaning and dental health benefits as other chewy treats. If you have a teething puppy, put a carrot in the freezer to give your pup some relief from the pain of teething. Even better? Carrots are digestible, healthy and cheap!
Lastly, ask at your local specialty pet store about raw bones. Unlike cooked bones, which can break and splinter, raw bones are safe for your dog. Luckily, there are ample alternatives to rawhide chews on the market. You and your pooch should be able to find a chew that you both can feel good about sinking her teeth into.
Do you have a question for Tabby? If so, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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