Rawhide bones are popular options for pet parents who want to give their dogs something to gnaw on that may also help clean teeth. After all, dogs have a natural instinct to chew, and they can gladly spend hours gnawing at a treat or toy. The chewing action itself is a favorite pastime for any dog, as it helps relieve anxiety and boredom while strengthening the jaw. But despite the many benefits that rawhide bones can provide, there are things you should know about these products before you head out to purchase one for your dog.
Continue reading to learn more about rawhide, its potential risks and dangers, and alternatives you can purchase instead.
Risk #1: Blockages and Choking
Both rawhide bones and rawhide chews can potentially cause choking or blockages. Dogs that tend to chew on rawhide and swallow large pieces of it are at a greater risk of getting it lodged in the digestive tract or even in the esophagus.
When a piece of rawhide is swallowed, your dog’s body will not be able to properly digest it and break it down. Also, the rawhide swells, increasing in size while in the stomach and becoming even more difficult to pass. The bigger the piece of rawhide that is swallowed, the more problems it is likely to cause.
A vet may be able to remove lodged pieces of rawhide through a dog’s throat, depending upon where in the body the pieces are located and how large they are. But if the pieces make their way down to the intestines or the stomach, abdominal surgery may be required to remove them successfully. Unresolved blockages can be fatal, so prompt action should be taken if you realize your dog has swallowed a piece of rawhide or he is showing symptoms that he is suffering with an intestinal obstruction.
Pet parents who choose to continue giving their dogs rawhide treats can supervise their pets to ensure large pieces aren’t swallowed. Closely observing a dog also means you can be there to help him in the event he starts choking.
Risk #2: Digestive Issues
Although there are many canines that use rawhide bones and chews daily, there are some who may be allergic or sensitive to the rawhide itself or to any substances that are used during the manufacture of the products. Digestive upset, such as diarrhea, may occur as a result of this sensitivity.
Keep an eye on your dog’s overall digestive health after he chews on rawhide. If you notice any symptoms of digestive issues, stop using the rawhide and see if his system returns back to normal. If the rawhide chews were to blame, there are many alternatives on the market you can try instead that will allow your dog to chew for hours and clean his teeth without upsetting or irritating his digestive tract.
Risk #3: Contaminants
Rawhide bones may have toxic chemicals or bacteria on them. It can be very difficult to know what preservatives, processing chemicals, and binding agents were used in the products you purchase. Flavored rawhide, in particular, may contain artificial colors and flavors. Some undesirable preservatives that may be in your dog’s rawhide include BHA, BHT, formaldehyde, arsenic, and ethoxyquin. Even the actual process of producing rawhide uses chemicals that can leave residues behind. (Continued…)