Should You Hide the Rawhide?

With so many varying opinions available today over what is healthy and what is not for your pet, many pet owners are looking for answers. Knowledge is power and we hope that laying out the pros and cons regarding this popular chew treat for dogs as well as answering some basic questions will help you to make an informed choice about what is best for your pooch.

What is it?

A rawhide is made from the inner soft hide of an animal. It is most commonly made from the skin of cows but can also be from pig, sheep, or horse.

Pros:

· Can relieve teething pain in puppies. When a puppy chews it helps to counter the pain from teeth pushing through the gums as well as help to strengthen jaw muscles.

· Satisfies your dogs chewing desire. Dogs have an instinctual desire to chew. In the wild their meals consisted of plenty of animal bones to chew on.

· Promotes healthy gums and teeth. Chewing a rawhide causes friction on your pets teeth, rubbing off any plaque buildup which leaves teeth and gums clean and can reduce his risk of dental problems.

· An alternative to chewing valuable items. Fulfilling that instinct to chew and keeping your dogs jaws busy for hours can help to prevent him turning to your valuable household items as his chew toys.

Cons:

· Not all rawhides are safe to ingest. Rawhides  produced outside USA have been reported to be made from toxic chemicals including arsenic and formaldehyde. Check the packaging and only select rawhides that are made in the USA.

· A potential choking hazard. Ifyour dog swallows a small piece of rawhide, it can get lodged in his throat causing him to choke. Once the rawhide becomes small enough to be swallowed whole toss it in the trash.

· Can cause digestive blockage. If your dog does swallow a large piece of rawhide, the outcome could be fatal. The rawhide can expand inside of the stomach, or even wrap around his intestines, causing an obstruction.

· Some rawhides contain skin from other dogs. The Humane Society International stated in an investigative 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.”

There you have it, the good, the bad, and the ugly truth about rawhide chew treats. For many, the risks outweigh the benefits and pet owners will seek out alternative chewables for their pets. For those who would continue to use these timeless treats, knowing where and how they are manufactured is key for your pets safety.

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