How I cringe when I hear of an owner giving their dog rawhide chews. Doesn’t matter the shape, color or kind. It's all the same material and can cause problems for your dog. Even death, unfortunately.
Aside from the Chinese debacle some years back, no rawhide has ever been great for a dog, in my book. I’ve even seen death-by-rawhide. I felt so bad for the family. They were devastated. They were gone but twenty minutes and came home to find their dog had already passed away.
WHY IS RAWHIDE BAD?
One thing that people tend to forget is that when wet, rawhide SWELLS, the wet part being your dog’s saliva. And if your dog chews a piece off and it gets caught in its throat, the rawhide will swell and block the passage to some degree, if not completely. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen often. But do I want to chance it with my dog? NO!
Another aspect of this is that some pretty nasty intestinal issues have been linked to rawhide, as well as allergy problems. But lastly, rawhide has no nutritional value.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT KINDS OF RAWHIDE? YES!
Aside from the plain stiff strips you see in many pet stores, there are . . .
Flavored - smoked, coated with “gravy”flavorings and variations of that theme
Brightly colored (Christmastime, etc.) which are made with some pretty toxic dyes
Form pressed - this is where the leftover rawhide pieces are pressed together into shapes, like a candy cane or a ball, for example.
And it’s possible that all those colors/flavors/chemicals are adding to the rising rates of cancers in our beloved pets.
WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?
Try a Kong, plenty of benefits there. (See THE KONG post.)
Bully sticks (Our Freya likes these.)
Chewable manmade bones (such as the Nyla Bone brand)
Raw marrow bones (Another Freya favorite)
Pig’s ears (I’ve found some dogs can get almost feral over these, so I have given up using them. And I often hear this from different students and clients.)
There are probably more products available out there, but whatever you decide to give to your dog, be sure it is SIZE APPROPRIATE. And as you would a child, supervise your dog using it.