Is rawhide OK for my dog

April 13, 2012

The decision to get a dog means fun filled days with the pet. Dogs are wonderful animals to have around. Camping and hiking in the woods, fishing and hunting are only some of the family activities that include the dog. Dogs though have the tendency to develop unwanted habits. Dogs bark, dig and chew – A LOT! It would be up to the owners to take measures so that the development of these annoying habits is prevented. Dogs are playful animals. They also form a strong bond with the human family. Thus a dog that is left alone without a toy to play with almost always becomes destructive. Unlike kids that can be left alone with a book to read or Lego blocks to build houses and ships with, a dog without a toy will amuse itself by chewing the carpet or the furniture. Dog owners have resolved this concern by providing the pet with chew toys. A dog can be provided with squeaky toys, with nylon bones or raw hides. Raw hide is the most popular chew toy for dogs. But is it Ok to give the dog rawhide? Is rawhide safe for dogs?

Rawhide chews come in varied shapes, sizes and colors. Rawhides are made from the inner layer of an animal’s skin. Rawhide is a slaughterhouse industry byproduct. These dog treats are usually made from horses’ and cows’ skin. Layers of hide are folded, pressed and formed into the dog’s chew toys. The rawhide can be grounded, compressed and formed. The rawhide that is formed from a single layer of skin is easier for dogs to chew. Before the hides are processed they are basted with liver, chicken or beef flavoring making it more palatable for the dog.

Dogs enjoy chewing rawhides. Modern day dog’s ancestors that live in the wild have hunted to survive. These wild dogs would attack and tear apart a prey to get to the meat. Providing the pet with rawhides is basically allowing the pet to develop its natural instinct. This chew toy can be a life saver especially when the dog is teething. Teething pains will drive the dog bonkers. Everything will be chewed by the pet to alleviate the soreness of the gums. Chewing rawhide is a good way of maintaining the dog’s dental health as it prevents the accumulation of periodontal disease-causing plaque. Chewing rawhide keeps the dog occupied thus it would not realize the fact that the family members are away from home.

This chew toy though can have some hidden dangers. Cattle or horses’ skin have to go through processing before it can be displayed in pet supply store shelves. Commercial lime and water solutions, bleach water and hydrogen peroxide solutions are used to process the skin. If not properly used, these chemicals would pose a danger to the health of the pet. The greatest danger with raw hide is that it can present a choking hazard. Dogs are mean chewers. A dog owner has to be careful in providing the pet with rawhides especially if no one can supervise the playing pet. The dog’s slobber will make the rawhide soft and gooey until the dog can tear off sections from the bone. Small bits can be ingested without creating blockage. However, this will not always be the case. Large chunks that are swallowed can result to choking. A dog that is left alone will be in serious danger as first aid will not be given. Surgery may be necessary to remove the blockage.

So, is rawhide good or bad for the dog? The answer is actually yes and no! More than the wallet, a dog owner’s priority will be the safety of the pet. The hazards of providing the pet with this chew toy can be minimized by getting expensive but good quality rawhides. It would also help if the dog is supervised while playing.

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