Rawhide Chews: Dangerous Treats That Can Kill Your Dog

The Truth About Rawhide

Dogs love to chew. It is good for their dental hygiene as it can help to remove tartar from teeth and keep gums healthy. Chewing on appropriate dog chews can also keep dogs occupied and can take their mind off of destructive chewing on furniture, shoes or other household items. But some dog chews such as rawhide chews that are sold in pet stores aren’t always safe for dogs, and owners should become informed as to which  dogchews are safe and which can result in an emergency vet visit or even death.

 

A rawhide chew begins with the splitting of an animal hide, typically from cattle. The top grain is tanned and made into leather products, and the inner portion can be made into rawhide chews for dogs. Rawhide chews, however, and not “raw” or natural by any means. Toxic sodium sulphide liming is generally used to remove the hair from the hide. There are other toxic chemicals that are used in the tannery process such as arsenic and formaldehyde. As your dog chews on the rawhide treats, he ingests these toxic chemicals. Many dogs can become ill from these chemicals alone.

 

Rawhide from Dogs?

 

At times, rawhide chews from China and other Asian countries have been made out of actual dog hides. In these areas, dog meat is a delicacy among much of the population. Thousands of dogs are killed and suffer inhumane and painful deaths.  The Humane Society International reported: “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.”

 

Intestinal Blockage Dangers

Many dogs break off bits of the rawhide strip as they chew. These hard pieces of rawhide take a long time to digest and can block intestines. Emergency surgery is often required to remove the blockage, and death can result if surgery is not performed in time. Because of this danger, many vets recommend that rawhide chews not be given as a dog treat, even if they are advertised as “natural” or “made in the US.” Safer dog chews can be found such as beef “knuckle” bones that you can find in pet stores or from the butcher. These round knuckle bones are a much safer choice as they are hard and don’t splinter. Whatever choice you make regarding dog chews, you should always monitor your dog to make sure the chew hasn’t become too small to swallow and that it is the correct size and hardness for your size dog.

 

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